Plantation crops and the slavery system changed between 1800 and 1860 because of the industrial revolution. After the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention, the Southern states were granted freedom to decide about the legality of slavery. At this point in time, the cotton production was very low and there were around 700,000 slaves in the whole country. Cotton changed the course of the American economic and racial future, because of the mass production of textiles. The cotton quantities increased considerably. The South was producing and exporting over sixty- seven percent of the world’s cotton by 1840 which gave the region strong economic power. As the cotton production continued to grow it required more manpower or slaves. The supply of slaves needed for growing of such production was restricted, making slaves more valuable resulting in the domestic slave trade.
The domestic slave trade emerged as a crucial commercial enterprise during the 1800 and 1860, which resulted in white planters looking for new slaves in the upper South states. (Henretta, Edwards, and Self 2012, 352-359) “For white planters, the interstate trade in slaves was lucrative; it pumped money into the declining Chesapeake economy and provided young workers for the expanding plantations of the cotton belt. For blacks, it was a traumatic journey, a new Middle Passage that broke up their families and communities.
“Arise, Arise and weep no more, dry up your tears; we shall part no more,” the slaves sing hopefully as they journey to new lives in Tennessee.” (Henretta, Edwards, and Self 2012, 358) The domestic slave trade emerged as a crucial commercial enterprise operating through a coastal and inland. The coastal system sent slaves to the sugar plantations in Louisiana and the inland to cotton plantations. The domestic slave trade was crucial for the prosperity of the southern economy. It was an important resource to raise money and help support the economy of the Upper South. (Henretta, Edwards, and Self 2012, 352-359)
Henretta, J. A., Edwards, R., Self, R. O. (2012). America: A Concise History, Volume One: To 1877, 5th Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
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