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Old South Development and the Role of Slavery

Words: 2556
Paper Type: Essay
Subject: US History

The United States transformed tremendously in the years after 1815. This was mainly led by the South region through agriculture and slavery reforms (Davidson 250). These changes were greatly observed after 1820 onwards. The cotton crop in the South and slave culture had a strong connection with the international market before the nineteenth century.

Although, cotton was not the only crop grown in the Old South, it swiftly became the crop that fed the southern market and provided opportunities to the slave population (Davidson 250). Due to this change in major staple crop which was cotton, white settlers also came to take advantage of these factors by taking over the “peculiar institution”, which happens to be the living place for slaves.

This situation forced slaves to get involved in illegal and irresponsible activities such as destroying or stealing property and eventually fleeing from the area (Davidson 253).

In short, this situation was created due to the unfair attitude of the white settlers towards slaves and distinct differences in the cultural values between white and black southerners, which included yeoman farm families, became the major developmental reason for the old south in the period between 1820 and 1860 (Davidson 253).

Different Cultures

Different cultures and traditions were developed by slaves to preserving a sense of family. They sang songs, which included both spiritual and secular type of songs, to express their joy and sorrow. Christianity was embraced by them as they believed in God who can release them from the pain of slavery very soon. Their culture also included folk tales with moral lessons for young slaves (Davidson 256).

Social Classes

Social classes included the slave owners who came at the top of the class structure. After them, the middle class of the South comprised of the yeoman farmers who were the owners of farms and worked on lands for cultivating crops along with their family members.

The last class consisted of the poor whites resented planters, who were totally disgraced by the southern whites as they were considered as the lowest class (Davidson 253).

Yeoman Farmer’s house

Yeoman Farmer’s house

Source: (Davidson)

Role of Slavery

Slavery after the whites’ influence in the South became terribly worse. Each slave had to work for long hours and was required to follow strict discipline which otherwise resulted in physical / mental torture. Other important things were their poor diet, crude housing, and scarce clothing with a very limited medical care (Davidson 254). As a result of which slaves had a shorter lifespan, and eventually the Free African Americans’ campaign was started.

Through this, slaves enjoyed few economic benefits where owners allowed their slaves to get hired and earn some income. This created a situation where blacks were neither slaves nor truly free. This unjust behaviour made slaves raise their voices that shaped up the south improving living conditions for slaves (Davidson 258).

African American in Civil War and Reconstruction failure and success

After the Civil War rebuilding of the United States of America took place and this time period is referred to as The Reconstruction period in the US history. When Civil War ended different laws got implemented that somewhat gave rights to the newly freed slaves. A law was formed by the southern legislators that kept the rights of blacks under the influence of whites in America.

These kinds of injustices surely made it clear to the black slaves that they have to continue their fight for freedom. This attitude clearly showed the discrimination of the African Americans in the society (Davidson 346). Rutherford B. Hayes (the 19th President of the United States) took a decision that came to realize as being a betrayal of the African Americans in the South. Hayes withdrew its support for unbiased governments in the South and let them fall in 1877.

This led to the end of reconstruction and finally, the dreams of equal rights by the majority of the African Americans got vanished. Prejudice in the society is the key in the failure of Reconstruction. However, even after so many years the African Americans’ position was viewed as slaves which eventually got some consideration due to some reform by President Abraham Lincoln and his union.

The history of African American greatly changed due to Lincoln’s unbiased steps taken in his political struggle. The happening of civil war and civil rights movement played a very positive role in the progress of the entire African American community (Davidson 350).

African American Senators and Representatives elected during Reconstruction

African American Senators and Representatives elected during Reconstruction

Source: (Davidson)

After the devastating Civil War ended slaves felt that they had became free but it was not like as they thought. The war did not change their status in America. They were still subjected to discrimination.

After the end of Reconstruction in the early 1900, the African Americans still faced a lot of discrimination and they were tired to work their way up on the social ladder, but the government somewhat not tried to help them. Due to this we can rightly say that the south remain unchanged after the civil war (Davidson 350).

In 1868, the members of Republicans party rejected the majority of experienced leaders, as a result of which Ulysses S. Grant was elected as president.

  1. The election that took place in 1876 was unable to produce a clear winner which also was a very important factor of the reconstruction.
  2. The continuation of violence activity in the South during elections sabotaged the northern commitment in Reconstruction.
  3. Lincoln’s assassination is also a major key in failure of the reconstruction.

In the concluding remarks, the addition of both southern white influence and northern white indifference mixes together to put an end to the Reconstruction (Davidson 351).

Importance of Trade – Its significance in development and dividing Americans

The exchange of goods or the transfer of ownership of goods from one person to another in exchange of something else is termed as Trade.

Why trade is beneficial and has so much importance in the great American history is just because of the following reasons: first of all trade provides good opportunities of employment and growth. It provides chances to explore certain fields and sectors. Trade can be used to attain things more professionally which eventually boosts the production.

Trade helps in cooperation between companies, different sectors, cultures and also between nations which is very much needed in this globalization era.

Moreover, areas where resources are very small in terms of productivity and crops using trade can be overcome very efficiently. It plays a very vital role in the development of the country’s economy. The list will go on and trade importance is never going to end. These advantages certainly make trade as a hot topic throughout the history and in the coming future as well (Davidson 342).

In the 19th century, cotton was the crop that made the southern economy very much highlighted and because of those cotton cultivations for which prices were getting very high resulted in invading by the white Americans to get into land.

This in turn made the yeomen farmer to switch to the new crop and they started cultivating especially wheat as these kinds of crops required less slave labour, also sweet potatoes cultivation did help in rising land economy widely. So we can make this conclusion that agriculture was an important trade/industry in the history of America that greatly assisted in their economic development (Davidson 252).

The other part of the picture is the cruel side that is the agriculture trade which becomes the main factor that made differences widely between black Americans and the white Americans. Let’s take the example of civil war in 19th century which made adverse circumstances for black slaves and the white Americas.

The whole situation was build up due to agriculture crop greediness by the white Americans which in return produces hatred in the heart of the African Americans and still this hatred continues its journey. In this 21st century, it is the responsibility of the government to make legislative reforms for providing equal rights and citizenship for the black African American also (Davidson 259).

The role of women in different time periods in America and its impact

The history of American women is filled with different roles and sacrifices for the nation and for their families also. Their struggle makes them stand above all in the society and as a result generations after them had to admit the role of women in society and the challenges that they faced from beginning till the end.

Women can be mother, wife, sister, grand parent, business women, teacher, doctor etc. Her dedication and courage can be seen when she as a mother grooms her child to be a useful citizen of the state.

In most professions, her dedication and working spirit is more than men. Women played a variety of roles from time to time, starting from the 16th century till now. Without their struggle and active part in different movements, America would never be the same as it is at present.

The review of American history, which describes the role been played by women as in the 19th century, shows that women were slaves, who worked as plantation mistresses and performed duties and responsibilities efficiently and lived a simple life without leisure.

At that time, they did not have any legal rights and awareness about their rights in the society; however, although they were unaware of their rights, they continued to do everything in an effective manner. In South, during the civil war (1861 to 1865), when men were busy fighting war, women used to run farms and do different jobs in mills and factories to keep production to a level so that societal needs were kept fulfilled (Davidson 344).

They started the nursing profession at that time and successfully took care of the patients coming from the battlefield. Women also joined the army at that time to help their husbands and nation. The dedication of women towards their nation and society can be understood by considering the fact that they decided to cut their hairs and dress up like men so as to present themselves as men during war.

Comparing today’s women with women in the past one can see that there have always been problems associated with the social rights given to them. Nowadays, women are working at leading positions in different organizations and that is how woman’s role and position in the society has transformed over the course of history.

This significant transformation has undoubtedly proved to be a major difference between women of that era to this era (Davidson 323).

Event/Changes in societies impact on women

Civil War

This war had a great effect on women. In the north region, women’s sacrifices and efforts resulted in the formation of a national organisation named as the United States Sanitary Commission, which provided food and medical for soldiers during the war period. Women doctors worked in the army also as a women soldier too.

There was a lady surgeon in the Union Army, who stood as first and only woman to get the Congressional Medal of Honour in response of her bravery for fighting in Gettysburg and in other battles fields too.

Agricultural Reforms

The agriculture proved to be a great profession for women who were able to create an effective impact over the society. Before the civil war, women were physically involved in cultivating crops, and in present times in most of parts of the country women do their business through farms land and harvesting the crop by their own hands (Davidson 251).

Politics

The politics had a deeper impact on women in the society. Nowadays, different senators, democrats and republicans are women who are taking an active part in the welfare of women and the society.

Slavery

In the 19th century, during the civil war the south region slavery had a significant impact on human lives as lots of men, women and children were slave and working according to their white American masters will. This motivated the African Americans to achieve freedom and fight for their rights and it also led women in politics and NGO’s for the welfare work (Davidson 344).

Early America value and social and economic factors peruse by Americans

Values are related to the practice of a culture, they may also be termed as norms, which provide rules for particular behaviour in certain situations. Values identify what should be claimed as right and wrong but norms are standards or guide lines of predictable behaviour. Values provide us line and concept about what to do and what not to.

In the mid eighteenth century, the cultural values were complex and less acceptable to citizens because of certain flaws in it. In the early nineteenth century, we see some of the common values between farmers and gentlemen, which generated combined class values, but racial differences were still there. The farmers kept their cultivation going and grew different crops with different types of labours.

Women also got some rights in this part of the north region, but the southern region still practiced old values and slavery. These local cultural differences within the same class resulted in an adverse effect on the American history that led to the civil war. These early values were not developed on the basis of religion for sure, but cultural differences and racism proved to be main factors that resulted in the civil war (Davidson 346).

In addition to this, the economic and social factors are very important in changing the history of America, as we see in the early nineteenth century where the economical and social values which cover agriculture, power, capitalism, injustice behaviour, slavery and racism continued to grow until the civil war took place which led to a big change in the American society and politics.

It placed the American society to a distinct place of honour and dignity (Davidson 310).

A very good example of value is democracy which America practices by peaceful transformation of power as compared to undemocratic countries where people are not given the freedom to practice their own thinking and social values. In a democratic country people from different races and religion are been represented by their representative in the parliament and councils.

They are allowed to enjoy the freedom of culture and religion. The American community always try to make reforms that are in favour of the common people and let them do what they want to do freely in a place where the real Democracy stands.

In this modern age, America has its values far different than they were in the early periods including democracy, capitalism, Independence, strength, God, freedom of religion, national interest, family, wealth, and faith. These values now form a basis of the entire American society. Americans pursue these values in their everyday life to make their social life and country a progressive state. Leadership is the value of society that has great significance.

Leader must be a dedicated person whose influence has to be very impactful over the people. He must know what people need and he must be from the grassroots level to know the basic needs of people living in the country. In a welfare society, combination leadership, justice and freedom is the most idealistic vision which is existing in America and was manage during various time.

Works Cited

Davidson, James. U.S.: A Narrative History, Volume 1: To 1865. New York: McGraw Hill, 2012. Print.