How much of a factor was slavery in Southerners' desire to expand the US?

Mar 2016
916
Australia
#11
The cotton gin was invented several years after the ratification of the US Constitution, though.
Still took over half a century and the bloodiest war in the country's history against those very Virginian politicians to end slavery, though, didn't it? Southern politicians and plantation owners seemed to not be particularly enthusiastic about getting rid of their slaves in favour of new technologies. It took the war and the subsequent occupation to finally stamp it out. There was nothing gradual about the Civil War and its effects.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,806
SoCal
#12
Still took over half a century and the bloodiest war in the country's history against those very Virginian politicians to end slavery, though, didn't it? Southern politicians and plantation owners seemed to not be particularly enthusiastic about getting rid of their slaves in favour of new technologies. It took the war and the subsequent occupation to finally stamp it out. There was nothing gradual about the Civil War and its effects.
The cotton gin reinforced slavery. Indeed, my point was that the cotton gin might have significantly weakened abolitionist sentiments in the Southern US.

As for Virginia, it actually came relatively close to abolishing slavery in 1831. I think that this proposal failed by just several votes in the Virginia legislature.
 
Mar 2016
916
Australia
#13
As for Virginia, it actually came relatively close to abolishing slavery in 1831. I think that this proposal failed by just several votes in the Virginia legislature.
Interesting. Does this suggest that Virginia was in fact not the strongest supporter of slavery in the south? Was there another southern country that was more vigorous in their defense of the institution? Or was Virginia's stance hardened further into pro-slavery after the 1830s?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,806
SoCal
#14
Interesting. Does this suggest that Virginia was in fact not the strongest supporter of slavery in the south? Was there another southern country that was more vigorous in their defense of the institution? Or was Virginia's stance hardened further into pro-slavery after the 1830s?
I think that the most passionate US state in support of slavery was South Carolina since they were the ones who seceded first after Lincoln's election. The least passionate Confederate states were probably Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas since they were the last ones to secede from the Union.

It is very possible that pro-slavery sentiment in Virginia hardened after 1831. However, it still doesn't appear to have been quite as passionate as in the Deep South.
 
Sep 2012
947
Tarkington, Texas
#15
Plantation owners were always looking for new lands. Cotton is hard on the soil. Cotton kept moving West as it wore out soil fertility. Some people don't realize cotton farmers had moved West of San Antonio to Fredericksburg before the war. The German settlers here grew their own Cotton without Slaves.

Pruitt
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,806
SoCal
#16
Plantation owners were always looking for new lands. Cotton is hard on the soil. Cotton kept moving West as it wore out soil fertility. Some people don't realize cotton farmers had moved West of San Antonio to Fredericksburg before the war. The German settlers here grew their own Cotton without Slaves.

Pruitt
How'd they pull it off in that climate?
 
Jun 2017
133
maine
#17
My sense is that expansion did not specifically become linked with slavery until after 1850. Prior to that it was just assumed that as the US expanded some of the new territories would eventually become slave states. In fact, prior to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in 1854 it was guaranteed that slavery would expand at the same rate as free territory. After 1850 the abolition movement began adopting the policy of containing slavery to only where it already existed. That's when the slave power really began to think of expansion as essential to the survival of slavery but also that part of the country was opposed to slavery's expansion. It had always been understood that slavery had to expand to survive, but that expansion had never been threatened before.

Southerners had bought into the message of Manifest Destiny just as much as the North had. New territory was seen as essential for a growing population, most of who were farmers who needed lots of land. It wasn't just about slavery.
It certainly seems to me that southern agriculture--and the institution of slavery--needed more land: the big landowners were growing crops that depleted the soil. It was an economic necessity.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,642
Caribbean
#18
Interesting. Does this suggest that Virginia was in fact not the strongest supporter of slavery in the south? Was there another southern country that was more vigorous in their defense of the institution? Or was Virginia's stance hardened further into pro-slavery after the 1830s?
Interesting, too, is how things are phrased. Today, people say they are not for abortion, only the right to choose. Is there no such distinction between supporting slavery or supporting a states' constitutional right to choose?

As to the OP, I think that expansionism is an idea that doesn't need slavery to generate it. Where did Alabama, Mississippi, Louisianan, Arkansas, Tennessee come from? Expansionism? Did the Founders tell King George to hold on to the NW Territories, because they didn't want to be expansionist? Why did the European powers have colonies in the Americas? Expansionism?
 
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Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,659
Dispargum
#19
It certainly seems to me that southern agriculture--and the institution of slavery--needed more land: the big landowners were growing crops that depleted the soil. It was an economic necessity.
Yes, Southern slave owners needed more land, but most Southern farmers did not own slaves and they needed more land, too. The national appetite for land was not driven only by slavery.
 
Likes: Futurist