South

Chandler Webb

  • Slave owners were the minority. They owned at least 50 slaves and over 800 acres of land.
  • Big plantations grew cotton, sugar, rice, and tobacco
  • "Plain folk" made up the majority, and if they had slaves, they worked next to them on the field. 2/3 of them didn't own slaved at all.
  • Poor Southern women would spin, weave, help supervise field hands, and do house labor.
  • Rich Southern women were solely around for show.


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  • Poorer farmers also received a very restricted education.
  • Hardly any women received an education. Some had basics, but many were illiterate. Wealthy women were sent to receive a higher education of training to be wives.
  • The birthrate was 20% higher than in other parts of the United States, but about half of the infants died before turning 5 years of age.
  • Not only would husbands have children with their wives, but they also sleep with their slaves and impregnate them. Half-black, half-white children were often produced and they would be added on to the masters slave population.
  • It didn't matter how angry women would become over it because they couldn't speak of it due to social codes. Because of this, some became abolitionists/wanted to reform.


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  • There was a sense of "planter aristocracy" and they influenced many political, economical, and social aspects of the southern life.
  • The rich men felt like they had to defend their honor and be especially chivalrous towards women. They would have duels and would be either a planter or part of the military. They would not find work in fade or commerce because they considered it below them.
  • Slaves were greatly looked down on, but they were not the bottom class. Even slaves looked down on the poor white trash, or "crackers". However, these poor white people felt superior to the slaves just because of skin color, even though they were worse off than most slaves were.
Plantation System In Southern Life (1950)