C11 Cotton, Slavery, and the Old South

Chapter 11. Cotton, Slavery, and the Old South 


This unit highlights the growth of King Cotton and its economic dominance in the South.  The stratification of Southern society is delineated by economics as well as race.  The lower South loses its power base to the lower South as the growth of cotton moves the economic influence to the Old Southwest.



Reading Assignments

Textbook Chapters:

Unfinished Nation Ch. 11 Brinkley 11.pdf 

Unfinished Nation Chapter 12, pages 282-283, 286-288


Class Notes:



Homework Assignments:

Printable copy of homework: 

C11 Homework.pdf  


Part 1 - Ideas/themes to know and include in your notes: 


Part 2 - Short Answer Question: COMPLETE SENTENCES ONLY - Answer all parts of the question in full. 3/4ths page minimum response.

  1. How did slavery affect all social classes in the South; wealthy white, poor whites, enslaved blacks and free black? 


Part 3 - Vocabulary: These words are from the chapter, class readings, or discussion and will be used in context or need to be defined on the weekly chapter quiz. 

















Definitions: Fill in the correct word that matches the definition listed. 

1.____________________(n.) Control by men of a disproportionately large share of power in society

2.____________________(n.) Used, needed, or enjoyed constantly usually by many individuals

3.____________________(n.) A system under which an authority undertakes to supply needs or regulate conduct of those under its control, pseudo-fatherly

4.____________________(adj.) Causing serious impairment of strength or ability to function

5.____________________(n.) One that serves to hold together parts that exist or function as a unit

6.____________________(n.) A gentleman trained in arms and horsemanship, like the knights of England

7.____________________(n.) One believed to be superior of its kind

8.____________________(v.) To deprive (someone) of human qualities, personality, or dignity  

9.____________________(adj.) Not likely to give offense or to arouse strong feelings or hostility

10.___________________(adj.) Consisting in first principles: fundamental

11.___________________(n.) The act or process of freeing someone from constraints: e.g. slavery

12.___________________(n.) Classification of a group of people according to ability or to economic, social, or professional standing

13.___________________(n.) The highest or culminating point

14.___________________(v.) To present an obstacle to: stand in the way of


Class Video:


Slave Narratives Video Guide 

Before Watching:

  1. “Democratic liberty exists solely because we have slaves … freedom is not possible without slavery.”               —Richmond Enquirer, 1856

Explain two of the Southern justifications of slavery in the Antebellum era.


While Watching:

  1. What is the impact of hearing these first person accounts?
  2. Which narratives did you find most powerful? Most disturbing? Most surprising? Most uplifting? Cite specific details.
  3.  What similarities and contrasts do you see among the different accounts?

“I remember quite well how those poor little children used to have to eat. They were fed in boxes and troughs, under the house. They were fed cornmeal mush and beans. When this was poured into their box, they would gather around it the same as we see pigs, horses and cattle gather around troughs today.”  —Octavia George, Oklahoma

       4. Why were children on plantations treated this way? What purpose did it serve?

       5. What does the film reveal about family life, work, community and religion during slavery?

       6. What role did music play in slaves’ lives?

       7. The Federal Government paid interviewees to record the stories of former slaves. Is that a valuable use of taxpayers’ money?  Why or Why not?




Rise of King Cotton

Cavalier image

Planter Aristocracy

Plain folk and Hill people


"Peculiar Institution"

Slave codes

Free blacks

Slave trade

Prosser and Turner rebellions

Slave resistance

Slave spirituals

Kinship networks 

Chapter 12

American Colonization Society

William Lloyd Garrison

David Walker

Frederick Douglass


Uncle Tom’s Cabin