The Development of Southern Cultures In the Chesapeake, 1680-1800. In “Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake 1680- 1800” the main theme is the outcome of a long-term economic, demographic, and political transformation that replaced the farmsteads of the first Chesapeake settler with the kind of slave society described by modern historians. After a brief study of the social structure of the region in the seventeenth century, this work analyzed the economic and demographic change between 1 680 and 1750.
The change that took place described how men and women, and blacks and whites bogus new social relations In the mid-eighteenth century slowly changed.
Including economic and social changes, such as, disruptive events as the transition from tobacco monoculture to diversified farming and the massive out-migration of whites and their slaves. With this transformation, It related the history of Impersonal shifts in demography and economic life to the rise of new forms of power and understanding. The Chesapeake had a lot of opportunities in the seventeenth century.
Thousands of English men arrived in the region as indentured servants. Many of these immigrants fell ill and died before completing their term of service, and others lived only a few years as free men or women. Those who survived, would serve their term, work a few years for other planters, and then obtain their own land and servants. Since the tobacco price remained high, once the indentured servants became free men they were wealthy. The men on the rise refused to accept the permanent authority of any group of rulers, and those who migrated to the Chesapeake region died off rapidly.
Rapidly following, tobacco prices downcast white immigration and created intuitions contributing to the beginnings of white natural population increased. Planters turned to African slaves to replace the white servants, in this manner elevated the status of poor whites. There were three structural changes: the decline of opportunity, the beginnings of natural increase, and the rise of slavery. By 1680 tobacco prices declined so much that planters earned barely enough income to recover their costs of production, and tobacco prices went below that level.
But in 1740 the tobacco prices began to rise, however not having the tobacco boom of the seventeenth century did not reappear. As a result, opportunities for freed servants to buy land nearly disappeared, and Immigrants avoided the Chesapeake. The telling of the transition from a naturally declining population (In which deaths outnumbered births) to a naturally Increasing population (In which births exceeded deaths) varied by race. Far more men than women immigrated. Immigrant women married and began childbearing in their middle teens.
These natives had large families, but there are so many male immigrants in the region that were still more deaths than births in population. The declining opportunities for servants speeded he process for whites, and nearly as soon as planters realized that slaves could demographically reproduce themselves, the slave trade began to decline. The growths of slave population transformed Chesapeake society. African immigrant slaves provided the material basis for the development of a gentry ruling class in the region.
Wealthy men had invested heavily in slaves, and these men and women produced large quantities of tobacco for their masters. These African immigrant slaves also created problems for the masters and slowed down progress toward the beginnings of a self-conscious gentry’s class. Planters had to use nearly al their spare money to buy slaves because they could not rely upon Africans to reproduce themselves. During the early eighteenth century white men and women in the Chesapeake colonies could devise a patriarchal form of family government.
The slave trade accelerated, the decline of white immigration reduced the sex ratio and reduced the demand for teenage brides, and increased adult life expectancy. Each member of a household had certain duties: men worked in fields, directing slaves and sons in producing tobacco and grain, women cultivated vegetables, made clothes and candles, kept house and children. Two new social classes formed out of the social and cultural changes. The gentry and yeoman classes formed only after conflict and struggle between groups of white men that lasted more than a century. The process of class formation had begun during the mid-seventeenth century but was not completed for several generations. The social experiences of natives and immigrants led to violent Indian troubles and economic difficulties such as, Bacon’s Rebellion in 1670, the tobacco-cutting riots in 1680, tobacco regulations in 1710, and slave conspiracies in 1720. Slave families and communities developed in part of conflicts between slaves and asters. Masters tolerated extended slave families and cross-plantation marriages and visiting as ways to keep slaves happy and productive.
The slaves though had to accept their status as property. Although masters considered slaves to be inferior members of their own family they would frequently sell slaves to neighbors separating families. Slaves had no choice but to suffer the separation. By the middle of the eighteenth century, Chesapeake slaves had become both a racial class and a laboring class. Black people were members of classes because they could rarely escape chattel slavery. The blacks were a laboring class because of their employ and changing relations to production processes. Masters didn’t really trust African slaves.
During the early eighteenth century, after slaves replaced servants labor force and the white population began to grow by natural increase. The events of the Revolution and the economic and demographic disruptions that followed the war threatened to undermine these social relations. In conclusion in Tobacco and Slaves, Skillful states that there have been two tendencies among modern historians of the Chesapeake. Scholars either stress the century or the political and cultural transformations in the 18th century. Skillful is ascribing that both were significant to the Revolution.
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