Freedom on My Mind A History of African Americans with Documents 2nd Edition By White – Test Bank


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Answer each of the following questions with an essay. Be sure to include specific examples that support your thesis and conclusions.



1. The Missouri Compromise had a tremendous impact on the expansion of slavery. Explain the origins of the Missouri Compromise and the long-term consequences of this legislation for African Americans and the institution of slavery in the nineteenth century.



2. Describe the journey of slaves sold in the domestic slave trade from the Upper to the Lower South. Why did slaves dread being “sold down the river” to the Lower South?



3. Why did Nat Turner’s rebellion convince many whites in the South that slavery was under threat? What measures did southern lawmakers take to strengthen the institution of slavery and prevent slave insurrections? How did the Amistad case and the Creole insurrection demonstrate that slavery had limited support outside the South?



4. Enslaved African Americans faced enormous challenges trying to escape to freedom. Identify the risks runaways faced and how some slaves managed to escape slavery in the South.



5. Discuss the role religion played in the lives of enslaved African American during the antebellum period. Include the origins of the religious ceremonies practiced and the focus of their teachings.




Answer Key


1. Answer would ideally include:


The origins of the Missouri Compromise: After the admission of Alabama as a slave state in 1819, the ratio of slave states to free states was balanced. Northern legislators feared that if Missouri entered the United States as a slave state, this would increase the South’s power in Congress and make it easier to expand the institution of slavery. In 1820, Kentucky senator Henry Clay proposed what became known as the Missouri Compromise to try to resolve the growing sectional conflict over the expansion of slavery. Missouri would be admitted as a slave state, and Maine would join as a free state, keeping the balance of power in Congress equal. The southern border of Missouri, latitude 36°30′, would act as a boundary between slave and free states, and when the nation expanded, slavery would be outlawed in territories north of the line, while those that were south of the line would permit slavery.


Long-term consequences: The Missouri Compromise ensured that slavery would not expand north but provided a way for it to expand south and west. After the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which forcibly removed Native Americans east of the Mississippi River to Indian Territory, the institution of slavery expanded into the traditional homelands of the Five Civilized Tribes in the Southeast, which included states in the deep South, such as Mississippi and Louisiana, and western states, such as Texas and Arkansas. Between 1820 and 1860, the internal slave trade and migrating slave owners moved 1.2 million African Americans from the Upper South to large plantations in the Lower South, where they were forced to grow cash crops such as cotton, hemp, rice, and sugar.

2. Answer would ideally include:


The domestic slave trade: Between 1820 and 1860, 1.2 million African Americans moved from the Upper South to the Lower South in a new Middle Passage that relocated almost half of the region’s slave population. About one-third of these involuntary migrants were taken west and south by Upper South slaveholders as they established new plantations in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas, and Texas. The remaining two-thirds were transported and resold in the Lower South by slave traders. Most slaves made the grueling journey on foot in coffles of up to three hundred men, women, and children. Armed traders on horseback forced slaves to march twenty to twenty-five miles a day and often made the slaves sleep outdoors. Some slaves were transported by steamship down the Mississippi River or via ocean vessels that docked in New Orleans. The domestic slave trade included the railroads by the 1850s, and most trains headed south contained what was referred to as a “nigger car” bringing slaves from the North.


The Lower South: Slaves dreaded being “sold down the river” to the Lower South because it often meant permanent separation from family. Most slaves sold to the Lower South were under the age of thirty and were usually separated from their parents. Slave couples were split up, and one in five marriages ended in the sale of one of the partners. Siblings and extended families were also broken apart, and slaveholders used the threat of sale to coerce slaves to work harder. Once in the Lower South, slaves were appraised and then sold in auction houses to the highest bidder before being sent to a plantation. Auctions were particularly humiliating and heartrending. Prospective buyers inspected slaves’ bodies for illness or for scars from whippings, which would indicate a rebellious slave. Women were groped to determine if they were fertile; if they became pregnant, the slaveholder would own their children.

3. Answer would ideally include:


Nat Turner’s rebellion: In August 1831, after receiving powerful religious visions for years, Nat Turner led one of the bloodiest slave rebellions in American history. Turner and his supporters moved from plantation to plantation on the night of August 21, 1831, killing whites and freeing slaves; Turner’s force grew to more than fifty slaves and free blacks and killed sixty whites before the rebellion was crushed by armed whites, who over the next two weeks killed more than one hundred blacks without trial. Turner evaded capture for months until he was captured, tried, and executed. Turner’s rebellion terrified whites across the South, who feared that further rebellions were eminent. There were rumors that the revolt involved 1,200 coconspirators as far away as North Carolina. In the aftermath of the actions of Denmark Vesey and David Walker, white Virginians feared that slavery itself was under threat, and some considered gradually abolishing slavery rather than continuing to contemplate the possibility of a successful slave uprising.


Southern legislators’ reaction to Nat Turner’s rebellion: Talk of emancipation faded quickly as Virginia acted immediately to protect slavery by preventing slaves and free blacks from attending religious services. Legislators targeted free blacks with a colonization bill, and they passed a police bill that denied free blacks trial by jury and made free blacks convicted of a crime subject to sale and relocation. Southern lawmakers silenced congressional debates over slavery for almost a decade by introducing a gag rule in 1835 that prohibited the reading of antislavery petitions in Congress.


The Amistad case and the Creole insurrection: Whites’ fears were intensified after two slave insurrections at sea called into question the legality of the whole slave system. In 1839, Africans who had just been enslaved seized control of the Spanish slave vessel Amistad in international waters near Cuba. The U.S. navy captured the ship, the rebels became prisoners of the U.S. government, and Spain demanded their return. However, their enslavement violated treaties prohibiting the international slave trade, and the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the rebels to be freed in 1841. A similar revolt occurred on an American slave ship, the Creole, in 1843. Slaves on board seized the vessel, sailed it to the British-controlled Bahamas, and declared themselves free. The United States accepted their claims to freedom and petitioned, unsuccessfully, that the British government compensate the slaves’ owners for the loss of their property. The two revolts demonstrated to slaveholders that black dissent could not be quelled and that the institution of slavery had little support outside the South.

4. Answer would ideally include:


Risks faced by runaways: It was very difficult for slaves to escape slavery in the South. Whites patrolled plantations on a nightly basis and meted out severe punishment to slaves who were not in their quarters. Runaways could not use the roads to travel because slaves were required to carry a pass from their owners. Few slaves knew how to read, so forging a pass was difficult and rare. Geographic distance was another obstacle. Those slaves who left from the Lower South faced hundreds of miles of unfamiliar territory and a hostile white population. Even those who managed to escape to the North were often identified as fugitive slaves and returned to their owners in the South to face punitive measures. Family ties kept many slaves from attempting escape because escaping meant they might never see their spouses, children, or parents again.


Escaping slavery: Slaves who lived in border states had the best opportunity for escape and were often aided by a network of black and white antislavery activists known as the underground railroad. Those who left from the Upper South traveled by foot and managed to escape by navigating at night by the North Star. A few slaves manage to smuggle themselves aboard steamships and in railroad cars heading north. Henry “Box” Brown made a daring escape by shipping himself to Philadelphia in a large wooden crate that traveled by steamboat, rail, ferry, and delivery wagon. Ellen and William Craft escaped from a plantation in Macon, Georgia, in 1848 by passing the light-skinned Ellen off as a young slave master traveling north to seek medical attention. While most runaways were caught before making their way out of the South, even unsuccessful escape attempts weakened the slave system by forcing slave owners to spend time and money patrolling for runaways and reminding whites that African Americans were held in bondage against their will.

5. Answer would ideally include:


Religion in the lives of slaves: By the early 1800s, many enslaved communities had adopted evangelical Christianity, drawn to the emotional forms of worship common in Baptist and Methodist revivals and churches. African Americans tended to favor these denominations over Presbyterian and Episcopal churches, whose Sunday services tended to be more restrained. Religious services and teachings allowed some relief from the rigors of life as a slave. Whether with white congregants or in secret services among other slaves, worship provided slaves an opportunity to express the pain of enslavement but also their hope for a better life.


Origins of religious ceremonies: When slaves were permitted in white churches, they were often made to feel unwelcome, and white ministers typically stressed obedience and humility in their teachings. Rather than accepting this version of Christianity and abuse from white congregants, enslaved blacks across the South formed what historians have termed the invisible church. Slave owners did not usually allow slaves to attend church, and many congregants received their religious education in their quarters away from hostile whites.


Focus of slaves’ religious expression: Slave Christianity focused on biblical teachings stressing the equality of men under God and drew inspiration for spirituals that expressed slaves’ humanity and desire for freedom and justice. Enslaved African Americans held religious ceremonies in their quarters or assembled in the woods in secret “hush harbors.” The most common religious ceremony was the ring shout, in which congregants formed a circle while clapping, singing, and praying aloud. These practices were derived from West African music and dance traditions, as well as the passionate Protestantism of the Second Great Awakening. The expressive music produced during the shouts can be found today in musical genres such as the blues and gospel.




Choose the letter of the best answer.



1. What accounted for most of the population growth in the North between 1815 and 1860?
  A) Migration from the South
  B) Growth in the numbers of slaves and free blacks
  C) Immigration from Europe
  D) Natural reproduction



2. Why did few people immigrate to the southern states in the middle of the nineteenth century?
  A) Drought devastated the region’s cash crops.
  B) Whites had fewer job opportunities because of slavery.
  C) Most immigrants were morally opposed to slavery.
  D) European immigrants were unfamiliar with cotton cultivation.



3. Why did southern planters prefer to use slave labor rather than free white workers?
  A) Planters relied on slaves’ knowledge and experience.
  B) European immigrants were unfamiliar with cotton cultivation.
  C) White laborers formed unions to press for higher wages.
  D) Slaves were a profitable investment and could be forced to do any kind of work.



4. What percentage of the world’s cotton was grown by southern slaves by 1850?
  A) 75 percent
  B) 55 percent
  C) 50 percent
  D) 25 percent



5. By 1850, 55 percent of the slaves in the South were being forced to grow which cash crop?
  A) Cotton
  B) Rice
  C) Sugar
  D) Tobacco



6. During the middle of the nineteenth century, most U.S. sugar came from
  A) Virginia.
  B) Maryland.
  C) Louisiana.
  D) South Carolina.



7. Why did the North just barely hold a majority of congressional seats by 1818 even though more than 60 percent of white Americans lived there?
  A) The region’s free blacks were not allowed to vote in most states.
  B) The Three-Fifths Compromise gave southerners additional political representation.
  C) Some free blacks were permitted to vote in the South.
  D) White northerners who opposed slavery were discouraged from voting.



8. What sectional conflict between the North and the South did a group led by Kentucky senator Henry Clay seek to resolve in 1820 with a bill known as the Missouri Compromise?
  A) Alabama’s admission as a slave state
  B) Disagreement over protective tariffs on manufactured goods
  C) Debate over the expansion of slavery
  D) Removal of Native Americans to Indian Territory



9. What law forced Indians living east of the Mississippi River to relocate to Indian Territory, located in present-day Oklahoma?
  A) Indian Removal Act
  B) Missouri Compromise
  C) Five Civilized Tribes Act
  D) Naturalization Act



10. How were most slaves transported from the Upper to the Lower South between 1820 and 1860?
  A) In steamships down the Mississippi River to New Orleans
  B) By rail in a locomotive called a “nigger car”
  C) By ship in a journey that became known as the new Middle Passage
  D) In coffles that contained as many as three hundred men, women, and children



11. Slaves dreaded being “sold down the river” to the Lower South because they
  A) feared being permanently separated from their families.
  B) knew it would be harder to escape from there.
  C) knew of the brutal work regimes on cotton and rice plantations.
  D) associated all boats with the Middle Passage.



12. Whose plan for a slave rebellion in Charleston, South Carolina, was leaked by two slaves to their masters, leading to the hanging of the leader?
  A) David Walker
  B) Nat Turner
  C) Denmark Vesey
  D) William Lloyd Garrison



13. In the wake of several unsuccessful slave rebellions in the early nineteenth century, laws were passed throughout the South that were designed to
  A) ease the workload for slaves on southern plantations.
  B) abolish slavery gradually.
  C) increase the domestic slave trade.
  D) restrict the lives of slaves and free blacks.



14. Why did South Carolina officials adopt new legislation forbidding free black education?
  A) White southerners did not want blacks to read the Bible.
  B) Officials feared that educated free blacks would help slaves plan rebellions.
  C) It was considered a waste of time that distracted from work.
  D) Lack of education backed up white arguments of natural black inferiority.



15. What was the name of David Walker’s 1829 pamphlet that advocated emancipation instead of emigration for enslaved African Americans?
  A) Walker’s Appeal . . . to the Coloured Citizens of the World
  B) The Souls of Black Folk
  C) Freedom’s Journal
  D) The North Star



16. Why did most blacks oppose the American Colonization Society’s plans?
  A) The ACS worked closely with those who supported slavery.
  B) The ACS focused only on free blacks and did not address slavery.
  C) They believed the ACS’s propaganda hurt black prospects for freedom in America.
  D) They were suspicious of the ACS’s all-white membership.



17. How did the publication of Walker’s Appeal . . . to the Coloured Citizens of the World shift the focus of the antislavery movement in America?
  A) African Americans were appointed to more leadership positions in the movement.
  B) Activists began to work more closely with the American Colonization Society.
  C) The goals shifted from gradual to immediate emancipation.
  D) The objectives changed from colonization in Africa to emancipation.



18. Who led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831 after experiencing powerful religious visions?
  A) Prosser’s Gabriel
  B) Nat Turner
  C) Denmark Vesey
  D) David Walker



19. What was the fate of Nat Turner’s supporters after his rebellion was crushed by a Virginia militia?
  A) They were hunted down and killed without trial.
  B) Most were tried and executed.
  C) Some escaped to maroon communities in Florida.
  D) Very few were executed due to the compensation paid by the state.



20. Why did the U.S. Supreme Court free the slaves who led an insurrection aboard the Spanish slave ship Amistad?
  A) The United States was at war with Spain at the time of the revolt.
  B) The rebels’ enslavement violated treaties prohibiting the international slave trade.
  C) The U.S. Constitution prevented participation in the slave trade after 1808.
  D) The justices on the Supreme Court were opposed to slavery.



21. Why did the Creole insurrection make slaveholders in the South feel insecure?
  A) Many believed Great Britain would blockade southern ports.
  B) They feared it would inspire slave revolts throughout the region.
  C) It showed that slavery could be successfully challenged in court.
  D) It demonstrated that slavery had limited support outside the South.



22. Why did slaves not view stealing from their owners as a crime?
  A) They were given meager rations and were avoiding starvation.
  B) West African customs viewed property as belonging to the community.
  C) It was a way of demonstrating their objection to enslavement.
  D) Most blacks did not adopt Christian beliefs until after the Civil War.



23. Why did slaves often become truant, escaping slavery temporarily for a matter of days, weeks, or months?
  A) To avoid punishment and abuse
  B) To seek a religious awakening
  C) To look for a future spouse
  D) To find work to purchase their freedom



24. How did other slaves warn escaping slaves that fugitive patrols were nearby?
  A) They placed candles on the roofs of their quarters.
  B) They hung white ribbons from tree branches.
  C) They mimicked the sounds of animals.
  D) They sang songs with cautionary lyrics.



25. In addition to the likelihood of being permanently separated from their families, what else made it difficult for slaves to escape from bondage in the South?
  A) Plantations were surrounded by large walls and fences.
  B) The army patrolled the borders between slave states and free states.
  C) Slave catchers patrolled roads looking for runaways.
  D) Other slaves frequently turned in escaping slaves to white authorities.



26. Who wrote the autobiography Twelve Years a Slave, which detailed his experience of being kidnapped and sold to a cotton plantation in Louisiana?
  A) Frederick Douglass
  B) Solomon Northup
  C) John Mann
  D) David Walker



27. Despite enormous risks, how did some African Americans escape slavery in the South for freedom in the North?
  A) Slaves paid enormous bribes to local officials for train tickets to northern cities.
  B) They were aided by a network of white and black abolitionists called the underground railroad.
  C) Slaves were given free passage on steamships traveling north along the Mississippi River.
  D) African Americans rode a locomotive called the underground railroad that secretly ferried slaves to northern cities.



28. In 1854, what Georgia court ruling declared that a slave who killed a white person could not be charged with manslaughter, even if he or she acted in self-defense, concluding that “every such killing is a murder”?
  A) Plessy v. Ferguson
  B) State v. Mann
  C) The Amistad case
  D) John v. State



29. What was the underground railroad?
  A) An antislavery newspaper
  B) A network of antislavery activists that helped slaves escape to the North
  C) A nickname for the domestic slave trade
  D) A locomotive that secretly ferried slaves to free states



30. How did fugitive slaves avoid detection in the South?
  A) By traveling at night and following the North Star
  B) By hiring sympathetic whites to pose as their owners
  C) By wearing a disguise so they could pass for white
  D) By posing as free blacks on trains headed north



31. Why was it more difficult for women to escape slavery than it was for men?
  A) Women accompanied by children could not travel as fast as unaccompanied men.
  B) Women were more valuable, so slave catchers worked harder to capture them.
  C) It was more common for enslaved men to be outside plantations.
  D) Women often returned to slavery rather than stay separated from their families.



32. What was a reason that most successful fugitive slaves were young men from the Upper South and border states?
  A) They were more motivated than other slaves to escape.
  B) They could more easily blend in with free blacks.
  C) Planters typically employed young male slaves to run errands.
  D) There were fewer slave catchers in the Upper South.



33. How many children on average did enslaved women bear in the antebellum South?
  A) Three
  B) Five
  C) Seven
  D) Nine



34. How did slaves who could not escape permanently bear slavery’s hardships?
  A) They performed traditional ceremonies learned from African-born slaves.
  B) They sang songs while they worked, which made the time pass more quickly.
  C) They embraced evangelical Christianity.
  D) Some started ceremonies that lampooned white culture.



35. By 1850, how many slaves belonged to planters who owned more than twenty slaves?
  A) Less than 10 percent
  B) 25 percent
  C) 35 percent
  D) More than half



36. Why did most black Christians prefer not to worship alongside whites during the antebellum period?
  A) White preachers stressed obedience and humility in their sermons.
  B) African Americans sought less emotional services than occurred in white churches.
  C) Blacks were forbidden to enter white churches.
  D) Most did not truly embrace Christianity until after the Civil War.



37. Why have some historians described slave religion as the “invisible church”?
  A) African Americans rejected Christianity because it was practiced by whites.
  B) Slaves were not able to attend church services.
  C) Enslaved African Americans did not practice any religion.
  D) Slaves were forced to worship in secret, out of the sight of distrusting whites.



38. The spiritual ceremonies performed by slaves whose West African–based music, dance traditions, and rhythmic styles influenced musical genres like the blues and gospel were called
  A) spirit circles.
  B) powwows.
  C) ring shouts.
  D) abroad marriages.



39. What musical genre originated from West African musical traditions and Protestant religious services?
  A) Polka
  B) Gospel
  C) Bluegrass
  D) Calypso



40. How was knowledge passed from one generation to the next among slaves?
  A) Messages were communicated through song and dance.
  B) Secret books were given to a family’s eldest son.
  C) African-born slaves brought artifacts with them to America.
  D) Elderly slaves passed on lessons to younger slaves.



41. How was labor divided among slaves on plantations?
  A) Field hands were divided into sex-segregated work gangs.
  B) Men worked outside, and women worked inside.
  C) Men worked in the day while women worked at night.
  D) Owners appointed elderly slaves as overseers of the other slaves.



42. Why did many enslaved women often have difficulty bringing their pregnancies to term and raising healthy infants?
  A) African American women were more susceptible than white women to the stresses of pregnancy.
  B) Enslaved women worked long hours and had poor nutrition.
  C) Slave owners did not care whether black infants survived.
  D) Lack of education made them unfit mothers.



43. Why did gender norms in slave quarters tend to recognize black men and women as equal partners?
  A) Slave men were not breadwinners and performed the same duties as women.
  B) Laws required that male and female slaves receive the same food and housing.
  C) West African customs viewed men and women as equal domestic partners.
  D) Slaves viewed gender equality as part of Christian teachings.



44. Despite slave marriages not being legally recognized in southern courts, why did slave owners encourage slaves to marry?
  A) Married slaves tended to work harder than those without spouses.
  B) They felt guilty about preventing slaves from marrying.
  C) Married men were less likely to escape because of family loyalties.
  D) Their faith taught them it was a sin to prevent any loving couple from being wed.



45. “My mother was cook in the house for about twenty-two years. She cooked for from twenty-five to thirty-five, taking the family and the slaves together. The slaves ate in the kitchen. After my mistress’s death, my mother was the only woman kept in the house. She took care of my master’s children, some of whom were then quite small, and brought them up. One of the most trying scenes I ever passed through, when I would have laid down my life to protect her if I had dared, was this: after she had raised my master’s children, one of his daughters, a young girl, came into the kitchen one day, and for some trifle about the dinner, she struck my mother, who pushed her away, and she fell on the floor. Her father was not at home. When he came, which was while the slaves were eating in the kitchen, she told him about it. He came down, called my mother out, and, with a hickory rod, he beat her fifteen or twenty strokes, and then called his daughter and told her to take her satisfaction of her, and she did beat her until she was satisfied. Oh! it was dreadful, to see the girl whom my poor mother had taken care of from her childhood, thus beating her, and I must stand there, and did not dare to crook my finger in her defence.”

How does James Curry’s recollection of the institution of slavery portray the interaction between the slave family and the master’s family?

  A) Curry recalls that house slaves were treated better due to their proximity to the master.
  B) Curry explains how difficult it was for slave children to witness their parents being punished by the slave owner and his family.
  C) The slave masters’ children privileged house slaves because they played a role in their upbringing.
  D) Due to the proximity of the living quarters of house slaves, slave owners levied more lenient punishment on house slaves than on field slaves.



46. What does the image “Slave Punishment” reveal about the range of punishments inflicted on slaves?
  A) The majority of slaves were punished with bullwhips.
  B) The slave community was forced to witness these beatings, which took a mental toll on them.
  C) This image reveals that slave adults would be beaten for the mishaps of their children.
  D) Slaves were forced to pray for their sins after they were beaten.



47. “The following questions are often asked me, when I meet the people in public, and I have thought it would be well to put down the answers here.


How many holidays in a year do the slaves in Kentucky have? — They usually have six days at Christmas, and two or three others in the course of the year. Public opinion generally seems to require this much of slaveholders; a few give more, some less; some none, not a day nor an hour.


How do slaves spend the Sabbath? — Every way the master pleases. There are certain kinds of work which are respectable for Sabbath day. Slaves are often sent out to salt the cattle, collect and count the pigs and sheep, mend fences, drive the stock from one pasture to another. Breaking young horses and mules, to send them to market, yoking young oxen, and training them, is proper Sabbath work; piling and burning brush, on the back part of the lot, grubbing brier patches that are out of the way, and where they will not be seen. Sometimes corn must be shelled in the corn-crib; hemp is baled in the hemp-house. The still-house must be attended on the Sabbath. In these, and various other such like employments, the more avaricious slaveholders keep their slaves busy a good part of every Sabbath. It is a great day for visiting and eating, and the house servants often have more to do on that than on any other day.


“. . . What proportion of slaves attend church on the Sabbath? — In the country, not more than one in ten on an average.


How many slaves have you ever known that could read? — I never saw more than three or four that could properly read at all.”


Based on this excerpt, what is the overall sentiment of Lewis Clarke’s description of his experience as a slave?

  A) Regardless of who the slave owner was, slaves were constantly kept busy.
  B) Depending on the slave owner, slaves could receive several days off per year.
  C) Slaves were provided an extended amount of time off on the Sabbath to worship.
  D) To protect against slave uprisings, all slaves were forced to attend church on the Sabbath.



48. “Massa Kilpatrick wasn’t no piddlin’ man. He was a man of plenty. He had a big house with no more style to it than a crib, but it could room plenty people. He was a medicine doctor and they was rooms in the second story for sick folks what come to lay in. It would take two days to go all over the land he owned. He had cattle and stock and sheep and more’n a hundred slaves and more besides. He bought the bes’ of niggers near every time the spec’lators come that way. He’d make a swap of the old ones and give money for young ones what could work.”

How does Mary Reynolds describe her slave owner, “Massa Kilpatrick”?

  A) Kilpatrick was a poor drunk who was very harsh to his slaves.
  B) Her slave owner was so busy that he was hardly ever on the plantation.
  C) Since Kilpatrick had a very large plantation, Mary never met him.
  D) Mary Reynolds recalls her slave owner as being a very affluent man.



49. “In the cabins it was nice and warm. They was built of pine boardin’ and they was one long rom [room] of them up the hill back of the big house. Near one side of the cabins was a fireplace. They’d bring in two, three big logs and put on the fire and they’d last near a week. The beds was made out of puncheons [wooden posts] fitted in holes bored in the wall, and planks laid ‘cross them poles. We had tickin’ mattresses filled with corn shucks. Sometimes the men build chairs at night. We didn’t know much ’bout havin’ nothin’, though. . . .


“Once in a while they’d give us a li’l piece of Sat’day evenin’ to wash out clothes. . . . When they’d git through with the clothes . . . the niggers which sold they goobers and ‘taters brung fiddles and guitars and come out and play. The others clap they hands and stomp they feet. . . .


“We was scart of Solomon and his whip, though, and he didn’t like frolickin’. He didn’t like for us niggers to pray, either. We never heared of no church, but us have prayin’ in the cabins. We’d set on the floor and pray with our heads down low and sing low, but if Solomon heared he’d come and beat on the wall with the stock of his whip. He’d say, “I’ll come in there and tear the hide off you backs.” But some [of] the old niggers tell us we got to pray to Gawd that he don’t think different of the blacks and the whites. I know that Solomon is burnin’ in hell today, and it pleasures me to know it.”


How does Mary Reynolds describe her life as a slave on the Kilpatrick plantation?

  A) Reynolds reveals how lenient the slave owner and overseer were on the Kilpatrick plantation.
  B) She recalls that the slaves made due with the meager accommodations they were provided.
  C) Life on the Kilpatrick plantation was extremely harsh, as the slaves were left to fend for themselves in terms of shelter and food.
  D) She remembers the communal bond all of the slaves had with each other.




Answer Key


1. C
2. B
3. D
4. A
5. A
6. C
7. B
8. C
9. A
10. D
11. A
12. C
13. D
14. B
15. A
16. C
17. D
18. B
19. A
20. B
21. D
22. A
23. A
24. D
25. C
26. B
27. B
28. D
29. B
30. A
31. A
32. C
33. C
34. C
35. D
36. A
37. D
38. C
39. B
40. D
41. A
42. B
43. A
44. C
45. B
46. B
47. A
48. D
49. B





Answer each question with three or four sentences.



1. Identify the regional differences that developed between the North and the South in the antebellum period.



2. How did the Missouri Compromise seek to resolve the debate over the expansion of slavery?



3. What measures did South Carolina officials take to restrict the lives of free blacks in the wake of Denmark Vesey’s revolt?



4. How did the Amistad case intensify white fears about the security of the slave system?



5. Describe the many ways African Americans resisted slavery in the antebellum period. Give specific examples that illustrate your points.



6. In what ways did the 1829 case State v. Mann increase the power of southern whites over slaves?



7. Why were successful permanent escapes for southern slaves both risky and rare?



8. What strategies did African Americans employ to cope with the brutal realities of slavery?



9. Identify the unique difficulties enslaved women faced while living on plantations in the South.



10. How did African Americans preserve community and culture while living in slavery?




Answer Key


1. Answer would ideally include:


The North and the South: The starkest regional difference between the North and the South was the commitment of the North to free labor and the South’s investment in slavery. The South’s population growth relied mostly on natural reproduction, while the North’s population expanded rapidly from the more than five million Europeans who immigrated to the United States between 1815 and 1860. Slavery discouraged immigration to southern states because these areas offered few jobs for whites, as large planters preferred slave to free labor. The South’s economy relied on the production of cash crops such as cotton and sugar, and by 1850 the region’s cotton plantations were producing 75 percent of the world’s cotton. Northern farmers, by contrast, adopted new machinery and transportation methods that expanded their markets internationally, increased wages, and attracted immigrants.

2. Answer would ideally include:


The Missouri Compromise: The “Missouri question” inspired the nation’s first extended debate over the expansion of slavery. Northern politicians embraced federal action against slavery, while white Southerners threatened to secede from the nation. Kentucky senator Henry Clay embraced a compromise in 1820 in which Missouri was admitted to the Union as a slave state and Maine entered as a free state. Congress agreed that slavery throughout the rest of the Louisiana Purchase would be prohibited north of the latitude 36°30′, but the deal was disappointing to African Americans. It allowed for the expansion of slavery south of Missouri’s southern border and protected slavery in the South. The debate over slavery’s expansion intensified in the decades to come and contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War.

3. Answer would ideally include:


Restrictions: In 1820, Denmark Vesey and his supporters had hoped to free themselves through the use of force and sail off to Haiti. Their plot was foiled when two Charleston slaves revealed the plot to their owners, who then informed local authorities. The rebellion was swiftly crushed, and Denmark Vesey and most of his coconspirators were executed, but the fear that the plot created in white Carolinians caused state officials to restrict the lives of free blacks, whom they believed helped plan the uprising. Free blacks were forbidden to hire slaves, and new legislation was passed preventing free black education. In the fall of 1822, municipal authorities razed the AME church that Vesey had preached at, and Charleston levied a $50 annual tax on free black residents. Free black males above the age of fifteen had to find a white resident willing to vouch for their good behavior, and any free black who left the state was barred from returning.

4. Answer would ideally include:


The Amistad case: In 1839 slaves aboard the Spanish slave ship Amistad seized control of the vessel in international waters near Cuba. The U.S. navy captured the ship and made the rebels prisoners of the U.S. government. Spain demanded their return, but their enslavement violated U.S. treaties prohibiting the international slave trade. The U.S. Supreme Court freed the rebels in 1841 on those grounds, and the widely publicized case bolstered the abolitionist cause and deepened the South’s fears about the security of their “slaveocracy.”

5. Answer would ideally include:


Opposition to slavery: African Americans opposed slavery through rebellion, advocacy, defiance, and escape. Rebellions led by Denmark Vesey in 1820 and Nat Turner in 1831, as well as insurrections at sea on the slave ships the Amistad and the Creole, demonstrated that African Americans were not willing participants in the practice of slavery. Abolitionists such as David Walker used the power of the pen to advocate for freedom in publications such as Walker’s Appeal . . . to the Coloured Citizens of the World in 1829 and through the nation’s first black-owned newspaper, Freedom’s Journal. African Americans resisted slavery on a daily basis by defying their owners, stealing food, sabotaging equipment, and feigning illness. Some slaves managed to escape bondage temporarily by lying out in nearby woods or swamps, though it was very difficult and dangerous to do so. Even though it meant separation from their families, some slaves were able to escape permanently with the help of other slaves and those connected to the underground railroad.

6. Answer would ideally include:


State v. Mann decision: Slaves had no right to self-defense under southern law, which gave white people uncontrolled authority over slaves’ bodies. North Carolina judge Thomas Ruffin ruled in the 1829 case known as State v. Mann that even whites who merely supervised slaves rather than owning them had this authority. Elizabeth Jones attempted to impose criminal sanctions on John Mann for shooting and injuring her slave Lydia, whom Jones had hired out to him. Judge Ruffin ruled in favor of Mann because he shot Lydia for disobeying him, and subsequent rulings across southern state courts reinforced these principles. Furthermore, a Georgia court determined that slaves who killed whites could not be charged with manslaughter.

7. Answer would ideally include:


The difficulties of escape: Whites patrolled plantations on a nightly basis and meted out severe punishment to any slave who was not in his or her quarters. Runaways could not use the roads to travel because slaves were required to carry a pass from their owners. Few slaves knew how to read, so forging the passes was difficult and rare. Geographic distance was another obstacle. Those slaves who escaped from the Lower South faced hundreds of miles of unfamiliar territory and a hostile white population, but some runaways managed to escape by navigating at night by the North Star. Even if the runaways managed to escape to the North, they were often identified as fugitive slaves and returned to their owners in the South to face punitive measures. Slaves who lived in border states had the best opportunity for escape and were often aided by a network of black and white antislavery activists known as the underground railroad. Family ties kept many slaves from attempting escape because running away often meant they might never see their spouses, children, or parents again.

8. Answer would ideally include:


Living in slavery: Permanent escape was not an option for most slaves, so they had to adapt strategies to survive the brutal realities of enslavement. By the early 1800s, many slaves had adopted evangelical Christianity as a way to cope with slavery. Although slaves often were not permitted to attend church, they worshipped privately in ceremonies known as ring shouts that incorporated West African–based music and dance traditions. African American religious services stressed the Christian doctrine of the equality of men under God. Enslaved African Americans also found solace in their families and communities. Slaves often had to create new families and kinship ties as a result of the sale or death of family members.

9. Answer would ideally include:


Enslaved women in the South: African American women faced other indignities in addition to long hours of strenuous work. Violence was common and included sexual abuse such as rape and forced marriage. Women also had to manage the daily activities of raising a family in addition to often working from sunrise to sunset. They tended gardens, cared for children, prepared food, kept domestic animals, and performed domestic tasks. Gender norms, however, tended to view men and women equally in the slave quarters because men were not breadwinners and shared most of the same duties as women.

10. Answer would ideally include:


Community and culture: In spite of terrible abuses and brutal work regimes, marriage and family remained the primary way communities survived the rigors of slavery. African Americans sustained kinship ties through marriage, although these were not legal unions recognized by whites. They created new families, or fictive kin, when separated from blood relatives by death, sale, or migration. Slaves usually could not read or write because slave literacy was discouraged or outlawed in the southern states, so knowledge was passed from parents to children through stories, songs, and biblical tales. Elders were treated respectfully as carriers of African traditions and taught youngsters lessons of survival, such as how to resolve disputes and negotiate with whites.


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