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Culture of America

In: Historical Events

Submitted By blbias91
Words 882
Pages 4
During America’s early development, slavery was the central issue fueling the conflict between state and federal rights, which caused the Civil War. The institution of slavery in the United States resulted in profound effects upon our nation socially, economically, and politically. These changes have had a lasting impact that can still be seen in American society today. The article Origins of the Southern Labor System describes that the American form of slavery was not molded after European concepts of servitude. The article even points out that the word “slave” had no meaning in English law. However, as farmers found large-scale cultivation more profitable, there was a need for the cheapest and most exploitable labor supply. As this system developed, slaveholders out of fear of revolt “were forced to conclude that the slave was wholly unfree, wholly lacking in personality, and wholly a chattel,” (Handlin p.99). At this point black slaves were dehumanized and degraded through the use of masks, whips, separation, and fear. Powerful white plantation owners dominated the south politically and justified their actions through state law. As this continued, the low skilled majority of white southerners could not compete with the free labor system. This labor system led to the fight over westward expansion, southern dependence on northern goods, and the social rift of the north and south. Consequently, our nation was faced with the tragedy of the Civil War, in which Dubois states “poor white farmers and laborers sent their manhood by the thousands to fight and die for a system that had degraded them equally with the black slave,” (Dubois p.117). After the Civil War racial progress was severely slowed in the United States due to Jim Crow laws and segregation. Many whites blamed blacks for the aftermath of the war and retained the idea of supremacy. For many years blacks...

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