The the history of America. That novel,
The south, for the majority of American history, was rooted and grounded in “The Peculiar Institution”, commonly known as slavery. Slavery dominated all southern life, intellectually and economically, and continued until about 1840 where the discussion of whether slavery should be abolished or not was brought up. Soon southern life was heavily, if not more, conquered by slavery. Slavery was a major topic of discussion between 1840 to 1860 and did affect the intellectual life of those living in the south at that time, as well as their economic life. Prior to 1840, whites in the south felt superior to blacks and even considered them 3/5 of a person. Blacks weren’t accepted and were seen as inferiors who could not do half of what the average white male could (excluding of course working on plantations). This did not necessarily change between 1840-1860, and though education concerning slave began to spread, whites in the South were still unconvinced that slavery was wrong. In 1852, a woman named Harriet Beecher Stowe published a novel that forever changed the history of America. That novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was an anti-slavery novel that exposed slavery for what it actually was- cruel, wicked, and inhumane. Even so, with abolitionists writing about and speaking out against slavery, the majority of people in the South still stuck to the mindset that they previously had and believed slavery was truly correct and morally just. Intellectually, slavery did not change in the south and continued to dominate southerners’ lives.While slavery dominated the intellectual lives and mindsets of the southerners, it, economically did too. Slavery was the main source of income for those living in the south and was their number one labor source. Southerners used their slaves for things such as growing and picking cotton. The cotton industry was the most widespread means of receiving money in the south and even America. By 1860, it was over 50% of America’s export revenue. Additionally, due to expansion of land in the deep south in 1860 to accommodate the cotton industry, slavery grew. Aside from cotton, slaves were used to produce, tobacco, indigo, and sugar. Without slaves, the south would have a challenging time making money and making it quickly. Furthermore, wealth was determined by how much land you owned and how many slaves you had. Slaves were cheap sources of labor ensuring you will make a profit, as well as ensuring a growth in slave labor. Overall, slavery was the dominating reality of southern life. Economically and intellectually, slavery had a profound effect on the lives of the whites in the south. They were steadfast believers in slavery and needed it to continue to live the way they had been living all their life. Things didn’t really change in the 1840s-60s and progressively got worse, before, in the end, it got better.