“Slavery Was the Dominating Reality in Southern Life.”  Assess the Validity of This Generalization for Two of the Following Aspects of Southern Life from About 1840-1860:  Political, Social, Economic, and Intellectual Life.

Topics: Compromise of 1850, Slavery in the United States, American Civil War Pages: 3 (902 words) Published: December 2, 2012
Between the time period of 1840 and 1860, slavery played an influential and pivotal role in the development of a new southern lifestyle. In the struggle for dominance in America, slavery was the South’s stronghold and the underlying cause in much of their motives for many of the economic instigations along with the affirmative political actions. By dominating the everyday southerner’s life, slavery also dominated the economic and political aspects of life during the height of the slavery period. By the 1840’s the Southern economy had become almost entirely slave and and agriculturally dependent. Without the dependence of slaves in the south, a person was to remain landless, poverty stricken or struggling to sustain life through the means of a minute, ineffective farm. However, even though slaves dominated the southern economy, slaveholders only included about 2 to 3 percent of the population, and most owned less than ten slaves. This small percentage of fortunate individuals were the few people successful in a slave based, cash crop, agricultural, Southern economy. In turn, the Southern economy was controlled and dominated by those who did and did not have slaves, which generated the political ideology and political atmosphere formed as a result of the utter reliance on slavery controlling all aspects of everyday life. 
Slaves in the south were the main contributors to the South’s economic success. The invention of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin made possible the wide-scale cultivation of short-staple cotton. All professionals worked diligently with one another to make sure each function, from production to distribution, was properly executed on the plantation, and that an ample supply of cotton was always present. An organized network of commerce never developed in the South, as the high demand for cotton in Europe, primarily Great Britain, and in North America, more slaves were needed in the south to continue to produce the lucrative cash crops, booming the southern...
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