Paternalism slavery and white slave owners

Included in this analysis are several dozen advertisements for runaway slaves, bills of sale, deeds, estate inventories, letters written by slaveowners, notices of emancipation, and the receipts from the sale of slaves that originated in various states including Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and South Carolina. The bulk of the documents considered are legal instruments, written with the expressed purpose of ascertaining the ownership of individual persons as pieces of property. The language of these documents challenges much of the scholarship that has contended American slavery was a paternalist institution. Phillips, for example, sought to absolve slaveholders of the charges levied by abolitionists that slavery was sinful, immoral, and inhumane.

Paternalism slavery and white slave owners

Paternalism and the Southern Hierarchy: The Old South, as it would later be referred to, was politically, culturally, economically, and spiritually built around the institution of slavery.

Slavery was the foundation the strict southern hierarchy was based upon. Slaveholders, large and small, were at the pinnacle of the Southern society and the possibility of future slave purchase kept non-slaveholding families tied to this paternalistic hierarchy.

Slave ownership elevated the status of both genders, giving white women more power within the slaveholding system. Southern women associated paternalism with feminine power in their homes and in their communities.

Paternalism slavery and white slave owners

Affluent white southern women, or southern mistresses, supported the institution of slavery because of the ideological agency slave ownership provided in the strict social hierarchy of the South.

Along with non-slave owners, who shared their want for enhanced status, many southern women were staunch advocates of slavery.

How Slavery Defined Antebellum Southern Women

They used paternalism to justify it while still adhering to their prescribed gender roles and actively sought to personify the moral arguments in support of the institution that gave them power in the larger society and the domestic sphere.

The South, highly dependent on the institution of slavery, was drastically different from the North; however, both portions of the nation conformed to the ideology of domesticity.

Americans subscribed to the idea that there were two separate spheres, the public sphere, belonging to men, and the private sphere, belonging to women. The public sphere involved the outside, the corrupt, the immoral, and only men were strong enough to face it without manipulation or defeat.

Women, seen as biologically weak, were fit for the private sphere where they provided their husbands with a moral sanctuary away from the emotionally draining public sphere. In this social framework, women only had a voice in domestic matters Paternalism slavery and white slave owners the home and childcare, as well as moral or religious situations.

These rigid roles limited the authority a woman had in her community; she had no voice in the public realm. Even in the home, because her husband supported her legally and financially, the American woman in the antebellum period held almost no power.

Southern plantation mistresses portrayed the ultimate housewives because they were free of the manual labor associated with their domestic duties and were provided with leisure time to focus on their children and husbands.

However, this picture perfect image was not the reality of the Southern plantation mistress. The appearance of perfection was an important part of the hierarchy of the South. Non-slave-owning women clung to the belief that owning slaves would relieve them of domestic chores and transform them into the figure of the Southern plantation mistress.

"A city slave is almost a freeman, compared with a slave on the plantation," wrote the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who escaped slavery in at the age of Therefore, slavery swiftly developed in to a system for regulation and monitoring of slaves for social control by white owners. This form of social control is greatly viewed as the beginning of soft-paternalism in the Cape Colony. Therefore, slavery swiftly developed in to a system for regulation and monitoring of slaves for social control by white owners. This form of social control is greatly viewed as the beginning of soft-paternalism in the Cape Colony.

Although wholly exaggerated, the women who did own slaves projected themselves to the rest of the South through the image of the mythical Southern mistress in order to uphold their role in society.

By epitomizing the ideal southern mistress, a woman had the unique power to elevate the status of herself and her husband.

Reviews in American History

The social hierarchy in the South placed white women above the slave population based on race. This extra distinction gave Southern women a sense of societal superiority that was not as prevalent in the social structure of the North.

In addition, the more a woman fit into the ideology of domesticity the higher her social standing became in both the North and the South. According to Southern ideology, because slave ownership provided women with the opportunity to fulfill the domestic role to the fullest of their abilities the institution was moral.

Southern slaveholders used this reasoning to advocate slavery. Slavery was a gateway for women to enhance their already elevated position in society by better allowing them to conform to the ideology of domesticity as well as marking them as higher in the white power structure of the South.

Not only did a slave purchase alleviate them from domestic chores, it also provided them with enhanced agency in the home over their slaves, men included.

Southern women, therefore, while still in the confines of the domestic ideology, experienced the private sphere in a drastically different way than Northern women due to the added defining element slavery held on their identities.

However, owning slaves was a way for Southern women to both excel in their domestic role and exert high levels of dominance over the slaves. This unique combination led women to use their racial superiority as a way to gain power, in both society and their homes, and compensate for their inferior status as females.

In the North women lived under the structure of a rigid patriarchy, where they were below men on all levels besides their domestic realm; in the South, however, women not only lived within a patriarchy but they were an intricate part of Southern paternalism.

Paternalism allocated men as not only the heads of their families but also of their slaves. They became father figures to the community as a whole, treating the slave population as a benevolent father would.

These father figures did not see themselves as ruthless masters, but caring overseers who had the interests of their slaves at heart.

Project MUSE - "I Own My Slaves, but They Also Own Me": Property and Paternalism in the Slave South

Southern men used the argument of domestic relief when purchasing slaves. These men used their wives as another symbol of their status; the more their women fit the stereotype of the Southern mistress the greater their reputations became.

The purchase of a slave to relieve their wives of labor elevated their status and the image of a family could be highly affected by just the appearance of a burden-less housewife.

Women, by becoming key elements in this pro-slavery argument, held a powerful role in justifying paternalism.So I've recently been studying the role of paternalism in American slavery, I'm wondering how owners practiced paternalism and how slaves reacted.

Affluent white southern women, or southern mistresses, supported the institution of slavery because of the ideological agency slave ownership provided in the strict social hierarchy of the South.

Along with non-slave owners, who shared their want for enhanced status, many southern women were staunch advocates of slavery. Oct 29,  · The South developed a system of paternalism where whites felt it was their duty to educated blacks about religion and have a father-son religious relationship with their slaves.

This relationship solidified the dependency of slaves on their masters and began raise the tension between the north and south. Genovese introduced slave-owner “paternalism,” not a good, painless, or benign slavery, but a slavery in which masters Many of these former slaves recalled how some slave women Josh Cole is a graduate student from Tuscola, Illinois.

white slave owner – he considered women of no value, unless they. Therefore, slavery swiftly developed in to a system for regulation and monitoring of slaves for social control by white owners.

This form of social control is greatly viewed as the beginning of soft-paternalism in the Cape Colony. Southern paternalism is a. the belief on the part of white slave owners that their slaves are like family.

b. the bonds of love and care between masters and slaves. c. slaves care for their masters. d. the relationship between southerners and Native Americans.

Planter Paternalism and the Life of Slaves by Libby Stahl on Prezi