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Slavery and the Southern Society’s Development Essay

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Updated: Jan 18th, 2021


The level of dependency of the antebellum South and North on slavery was quite steep as they almost fully relied on cotton as the key factor that made their economies evolve and develop. The fact that quite a huge number of white people moved to the “Deep South” where cotton planting was among the most lucrative forms of income-generating activities, just goes to show that the whites relied on the slaves that they moved along with to get their work done.

African slave trade

The majority of them viewed the Southern states as their frontier opportunities. They believed that the way forward in matters about economical elevation. Since they moved to the new regions with their slaves and also managed to keep their contacts with the traders, they exhibited the fact they relied quite heavily on the slaves to perform farm duties. Most of the whites, who migrated, did so between the periods of 1820 – 1860. They numbered around 200,000.

Another fact that depicts their heavy reliance on slaves was that they hardly considered investing in fertilizers, which would boost their production. This was because they took up new land, which they would not require fertilizer since the ground was fertile and all that they required was new slaves to till the land, as well as take care of their crops. The slaves were considered as a cheap way of working since they did not cost much to maintain. The outlook that is represented by this picture is that they relied on the business of farming to enhance their lives.

With the advent of the cotton gin, white people saw the advantages that were proffered since a gin was able to process the short-staple cotton which had proven to be quite a tedious and challenging task. The introduction of the gin by Eli Whitney saw a rapid increase in the demand for the crop in the industry. The gin was made to cut down n the cost of producing the cotton while it was still in the field to off the field.

There was more need for slaves who would work on farms for the crops to do better than others would. More farms were opened up in a bid to address the problem of supply. Without the slaves, there would be no production or rather very poor production of the crop in the field.

The dependence of the whites on slavery was so high that most of the activities virtually slowly stopped when the slave trade was questioned. The majority, if not all, of the farmhands, were slaves who were brought in to carry out free labor thus providing low costs to their masters. The whites greatly benefitted from the use of free human labor. The Southern, as well as Northern regions, had developed highly from the farming activities that they had carried out in the past.

Without the slaves working and toiling on the farms, the whites would have hardly enjoyed the developmental aspects that they encountered during that period. It was during this period that a lot of aspects such as industrialization took place. Globalization was believed to have emanated from the region since it was way or rather steps ahead of many other places in the world. Many of the features that are specialized in the issue of globalization started in the region. Hence, it can be stated that slavery played a major role in globalization although it was not as pronounced as other aspects that shaped globalization.

Without the issue of slavery, the regions would have taken a long time to develop. The role that slavery played in developing the region was quite crucial. It is evident when one views it differently from how they had in the past. Most of the industrialists and developers, as well as entrepreneurs, were almost all beneficiaries of the era. This could be either by proxy or through blood relations or rather kinship or ancestry.

Slavery has played a major role in the development of the regions since it is what made them thrive. Without the slaves, there would have been hardly any or rather minimal elements of developments within the regions. The facts that bound, concerning reliance on slavery, the issues of slaves, show that the regions relied heavily on slavery for them to thrive in activities that they carried out to make a living.

How did slavery shape the development of white Southern society?

The Southern society was quite evidently shaped by slavery, in that, there was plenty of economic growth there since the advent of the farming activities. The Northern side was less active in terms of farming activities as well as the use of slaves since they did not rely on farming as their main or rather core income-generating activity.

The development in the white Southern society was adversely affected since the white people in the region would diversify their lives and try to suit the circumstances that they had encountered. By this, it means that they had to adjust their lifestyle according to their farming activities.

The development of white people in southern society was also quite shaped by slavery because the reliance of the economy of the region was quite wholly upon the farming activities that took place there. The fact that most of the farming activities were done by white people but the physical activities, which revolved around the actual work, was quite entailing does not discount the fact that the developmental aspects of the region were based upon the slave’s activities.

The societal status of an individual was, at one point in time, pegged on the size of farmland that he or she owned. This would in most cases, also revert to the number of slaves that he or she owned. Owning a great number of slaves was considered a symbol of wealth.

Most of the proceeds from the farms that the slaves worked in went to enhancing the lives of the people who resided in the area. They built their homes and towns, and they required more supplies from the manufacturers of various items. This implied that the factories and suppliers in the region had to increase their output in a bid to keep up with the increasing number of people in the areas. This meant that the business aspects of society were enhanced.

The development of the white Southern society was also enhanced by the fact that the fear of an uprising caused them to come up with measures such as advanced weapons that they would use to counter any such uprising. Stronger weapons that would deter people from committing felonies made their industries more popular since they were creating them in mass.

When the slaves labored out in the fields to ensure that a good crop was harvested, the gains and proceeds from the transactions that followed went towards the development of the region. The cities grew and more people settled for farming. The farming business advanced to levels that brought the region at par with the Northern region, which was considered as the industrial hub of the United States of America.

Along with the slaves, came other sorts of merchandise from across the globe. The trade among the various continents was highly developed. This was mainly because most slave traders traveled across the oceans and seas in search of the various items that they deemed rare in other regions. In this case, they discovered that, in the course of their travels, they could gather some extra items and proffer them for trade-in regions where they were scarce. One example is the spices from the regions such as Arabia. There were quite a several items, which were there and were not in other regions such as the South and North of America. The traders would bring the items to the region and trade them with the people there together with the slave and thus brought about development since slavery was the core business.

The region also experienced an influx of skilled persons at the close of the use of slaves since the slaves turned to make themselves useful to society in quite a several ways. Many would seek specialized skills and others would start their businesses. They would play a major part in enhancing the regions by contributing to economic growth. The majority of the skilled workers who were sought after in Europe in the earlier years were slowly replaced by the slaves who started taking up jobs at more affordable costs hence, development in the region.

With the abolition of the slave trade and slavery at large, most people discovered other more lucrative methods of making a living. Most of them diversified to other businesses after the cotton boom died down. The exploration of other avenues opened a floodgate of business opportunities, which had not been in the past explored.

In terms of education, slavery played a major role since there emanated a need for schools to be opened to cater to people who were formerly slaves as well as their children. This created job opportunities for teachers as well as others who were employed. The increased number of schools saw the slaves put their skills to good use since they were able to tap into their talent and explore their abilities.


Overall, the fact that slavery shaped the development of the white Southern society in many ways remains quite evident. As much as it took quite some time to come through, the fact remains that the development that took place in the region would have been retarded in more than one way if the slaves had not come to the region.

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1. IvyPanda. "Slavery and the Southern Society's Development." January 18, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/slavery-and-the-southern-societys-development/.


IvyPanda. "Slavery and the Southern Society's Development." January 18, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/slavery-and-the-southern-societys-development/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Slavery and the Southern Society's Development." January 18, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/slavery-and-the-southern-societys-development/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Slavery and the Southern Society's Development'. 18 January.

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