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Mississippi Studies Chapter 4

Politics, Slavery, and. Antebellum Society. Section 1 & 2. Politics. Acquisition of Native American Land. Politics. Politics play an important role in history. Elections determine which candidates are voted into offices or jobs.

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Mississippi Studies Chapter 4

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Mississippi Studies


Chapter 4

Politics, Slavery, and

Antebellum Society

Section 1 & 2


Acquisition of Native American Land



Politics play an important role in history

Elections determine which candidates are voted into offices or jobs

Politics also make people take sides

Causing divisions in society

Also raises the issues that most concern people

What are the two biggest political parties in Mississippi



Capital of Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi“Jackson Mississippi City of Soul” is the city sloganPopulation of 539,057Most populous city in MississippiWho was Mississippi named after?Andrew Jackson


State Capital

Location of the capital was the 1


issue to reveal divisions in society in Antebellum Mississippi


means “before the war” in the U.S. especially in the South it means before the Civil War

1798 Natchez was the capital

1802 political rivalry led to the relocation of the territorial capital to Washington, located 6 miles east of Natchez

No capital building was built in either city


State Capital

In 1817, Mississippi state constitutional convention held the 1


session of legislature in Natchez

Most Mississippians lived in the Natchez District

Small farmers and townspeople throughout the state wanted a state capital closer to them

Believed Washington was too small

Also wanted to move the capital away from the influence of merchants and planters of Natchez


State Capital

In 1821 Mississippi’s legislature formed a committee to locate a capital in the center of the state

The committee chose LeFleur’s Bluff on the Pearl River

Louis Lefleur traded with the Choctaw here

Town was named Jackson, previously called LeFleur’s Bluff

Honoring the hero of the battle of New Orleans



president 1829-1837

Streets were quickly laid out in grid pattern

Houses and public buildings were built

First state legislature met in Jackson for the 1


time in Dec. 1822


State Capital

Jackson remained a small town for decades

In 1840 a capital building was built for the legislature and a mansion for the governor

Governor still lives in the mansion

The Old Capital replaced by the New Capital is no a museum at the beginning of the 20



Old Capital is now a museum


The Constitution of 1832

America had many political changes during the early 19



Property ownership requirement to vote was eliminated

Meant that all adult white men could vote and hold office

Time period was referred to “Era of the Common Man”

Wealth and education no longer guaranteed access to positions of authority

Wealthy and educated held office because they were elected by the poor and uneducated

Most visible evidence was Andrew Jackson


Constitution of 1832

Some Important changes in the constitution of 1832

Judges were elected by the people for specific terms instead of being appointed for life

State offices became electives

Representation in both houses was determined by population

One provision banned slaves coming into MS

Slavery was important to the South, slavery also became a troubling issue

Some question the morality of owning people

Others feared possibility of slave revolts

Society would be divided between wealthy slave owners and the poor


Local Governments

State government was important but county government met most of the needs of the citizens

After 1832 a

board of police

was elected

Board levied taxes for county operations, and imposed special taxes to construct courthouses and jails also supported the poor

Appointed supervisors to build and maintain roads and bridges

Approved people to operate hotels, run ferries, or sell alcohol


Acquisition of Native American Land

The growth of Mississippi was made possible by the removal of Native Americans

Showed the greed of Americans and their uncaring attitude towards the natives

Tension rose between white settlers and natives because more and more settlers were moving west



Government first wanted a policy called


Theory that if Native Americans relied on farming rather than hunting, they would need less land and could then co-exist with the settlers

Natives weren’t given time to change nor did they want to change

After the War of 1812 U.S. government gave up assimilation because

First the natives might side with either the British or the Spanish in their disputes with the United States

The native tribe were beginning to united

Land speculators, settlers, and squatters wanted all natives moved west of the Mississippi River, so more land was available


Federal Treaties

To get the Indians to move west what did the government:


egotiated a series of treaties

Which eventually required the Choctaw and Chickasaw to leave Mississippi

In 1783, their were only the Chickasaw, and Choctaw left in Mississippi

Mississippi territory was established in 1798 when Spain gave up its hold over the Natchez District


Treaty of Fort Adams

In 1801, 1


treaty in a series of treaties where the Choctaw ceded their land

U.S. received almost 3 million acres of land and the right to build a road(Natchez Trace) through Choctaw territory

The Choctaw received several thousand dollars worth of merchandise and the promise that non-Native Americans would be removed from their land



Treaty of Mount Dexter

In 1805

U.S. received over 4 million acres of land in south Mississippi

In exchange the U.S. would cancel the debts Native Americans owed people who traded with them

Even after the Choctaw helped the U.S. against the British and the Creeks, the pressure to acquire their land continued


Treaty of Doak’s Stand

Gave the United State’s 5 million acres

This included the area where Jackson is located

Choctaw was promised the land west of the Mississippi

Rejected the land because it was not suitable for hunting and had already been settled by whites

Pushmataha and other Choctaw chiefs, travel to Washington to renegotiate the treaty

Pushmataha died there and received a military funeral


Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek

After Andrew Jackson became president

Federal government insisted the Native Americans be subject to state laws and state courts

Was signed in 1830

The Choctaw ceded the rest of their land(over 10 million acres) and agreed to move to what is now Oklahoma

Treaty was negotiated by Greenwood


Choctaw numbered in the 18,000s, several hundred whites, and about 500 black slaves

Provision in the treaty allowed Native Americans to register with the government to obtain land

So difficult most families couldn’t get land


Treaty of Pontotoc Creek

Chickasaw numbers were less than 5,000 Indians, and a thousand black slaves

Signed the treaty in 1832

The Chickasaw ceded their lands in North Mississippi to the federal government and moved West


Trail of Tears

Native American walk to Oklahoma

The Trail of Tears is a name given to the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of


Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease and starvation on the route to their destinations. Many died, including 60,000 of the 130,000


Trail of Tears

In 1831 the Choctaw were the first to be




were the Seminole in 1832



were the

Creek in 1834,



were the Chickasaw in 1837



Choctaw are found in Mississippi, the Seminole in Florida, the Creek in Alabama, and the Cherokee in North Carolina.


1837, 46,000 Native Americans from these southeastern states had been removed from their homelands thereby opening 25

million acres of land


It’s Your Turn!

Why was the state capital moved to Jackson?

Name the five treaties by which the Choctaw and Chickasaw ceded their Mississippi land to the Federal Government.

What was the removal of Native Americans westward called the Trail of Tears?


Mississippi Studies


Chapter 4

Politics, Slavery, and

Antebellum Society

Section 3

Slavery in Mississippi


Slavery in Mississippi

Native Americans and African Americans were slaves

Natives Americans were forced off their lands

and confined to reservations

African Americans were brought to America as slaves

Their descendants labored for generations before becoming free

Tribes in Africa would sell their enemies to the Europeans into slavery

Others were captured and brought to America as slaves.


The Black Code

Early 18


century French brought African slaves to Louisiana

Soon there was enough slaves to require legislation

Governor Bienville issued a set of laws called the

Black Code

Slaves were granted only a few rights

Marriage, ownership of property , travel and gathering in groups were severely restricted

Any attempts to escape were punished cruelly


The Black Code

The Black Code did provide some protection to slaves

Husbands and wives couldn’t be separated or children under the age of 14 from their parents

Owners could not mistreat their slaves or free slaves when they were old or sick leaving them helpless

Slaves could not be forced to work on Sundays or religious holidays

A freed slave received all the privileges of any free citizen


The Black Code

Fort Rosalie was a French settlement and prospered because of slave labor

Slaves cleared the land and raised tobacco and indigo

Some slaves helped the Natchez Indians destroy the fort in 1729

Nobody knows what happened to the slaves

The French used black troops

After the French lost the Natchez District to the English, the African American population grew slowly


The Black Code

At the out break of the American revolution 1 out of 5 settlers was black in Mississippi

More arrived in Mississippi, during the Revolution from South Carolina as British Loyalists fled

After the Revolution, The black population under Spanish rule increased, slaves soon made up 40% of the people living in the district


Cotton Production and Slave Labor

Agriculture and lumber products continued to be the main occupations for slaves

Food products, tobacco, indigo, and cotton provided cash income for


Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin in 1793

The Cotton Gin


ade it easier to separate cotton seeds from the cotton fibers


Cotton Gin in Mississippi

Designs of the cotton gin were brought to Mississippi and put together by slaves

They designed and built the first cotton gin

Cotton became the primary cash crop in the South

King Cotton is an accurate description of its importance to Mississippi


Cotton Production in Mississippi

Mississippi well suited to the production of cotton:

The land was fertile

Growing season was long

Many navigable streams made it economical to ship cotton


ost cotton grown in Mississippi was on



Relatively large farms where most cotton was grown with slave labor

Slave were concentrated in Mississippi where most cotton was being produced


Working and Living conditions for Slaves

Did all types of work; most tasks involved the production of cotton

Land had to be cleared, and soil broken down and prepared for planting, needed to keep up with the planting(weeds, thin cotton plants), and picked

Cooked and cleaned, tended livestock, made clothes, and cared for small children

Skilled Slaves worked as blacksmiths, carpenters, and brick masons

Could be hired out to other plantations or townspeople, could earn money to buy their freedom


Working and Living conditions for Slaves

Slaves were always supervised

Overseer was hired if the owner did not live on the farm

Slave drivers often supervised work of a group of slaves

Work began at sunrise and worked to sunset

Work days were longer during harvest time

Women spun thread or weave cloth at night

Sunday was normally a day of rest

Some plantations the work week ended Saturday at noon

Christmas was a holiday that lasted for several days


Working and Living conditions for Slaves

Owners enforced discipline and work rules many ways

Slaves could be whipped

Incentives were offered for good work

Extra clothing, pocket knives, time off work, party or money

Ate meals together

Pork, corn were most important part of diet

Fruits, vegetables, game, and fish

Small amount of food

Basic diet wasn’t necessarily nutritious to maintain good health


Working and Living conditions for Slaves

Medical care was provided by owners

Usually a doctor was called in for major cases

Medical knowledge wasn’t very advanced

Treatment could do more harm than good

Housing depended on the age of the plantation

On a new plantation slaves houses were very simple

Log cabins, no windows or floors, only furniture were bunks and chairs


Working and Living conditions for Slaves

On older plantations houses were in better conditions

Houses had brick chimneys, windows, wooden floors,

Cabins could be made of brick

Cabins were used for mainly sleeping where men, women, and children slept together without privacy

Owners learned that it was better to allow families to share a cabin


Slave Community

According to the law of Mississippi, slaves were considered property without rights, and specific restrictions

The Black Code the French put in place no longer existed

Families could be broken up at any time(parents or children)

Needed written permission to leave plantation

Were not supposed to learn to read or write

Any gathering had to have a white observer

Slaves could not testify in court


Slave Community

With these restrictions, slaves struggled to create a secure and stable community

Most lived on farms and plantations with more slaves which allowed them to create a small society

Slave marriages had no legal basis, but strong bolds held husbands and wives and parents and children together

They all looked out for each other, and did learn to read and write

Slaves adopted and adapted Christianity

Slave owners saw religion as a way to control slaves


Slave Resistance

Slaves resisted their owners

Sometimes resistance was open

Owners died at slaves hands

Families were poisoned at dinner

Slaves ran away

In 1831, Nat Turner a slave preacher, led a revolt which resulted in the death of at least sixty whites and 100 blacks

Owners feared slave revolts, so much that even a rumor resulted in beatings and executions

No slave rebellions in Mississippi


Slave Resistance

In Madison County, 1835, both slaves and owners were killed because there were fears about a revolt

Ways slaves got back at their owners

Valuable machinery broke down

Barns, cotton gins, and bales of cotton were burned

Work passed slowed


Free African Americans

Not all blacks in Mississippi were slaves

Most lived in towns like Natchez, and Vicksburg, and worked many different types jobs

Most famous free black was William Johnson of Natchez, a barber, who owned town lots, a farm and slaves

Restrictions of free blacks

Slaves couldn’t be freed unless owners provided funds for the freed slaves to leave the state

Slaves had to leave state unless they were granted permission to stay by the board of police


It’s Your Turn!

What were some of the important provisions of the Black Code issued by the French in 1724?

What types of jobs did slaves do on farms and plantations?

Who was the most prominent free blacks in antebellum Mississippi?


Mississippi Studies


Chapter 4

Politics, Slavery, and

Antebellum Society

Section 4

Antebellum Mississippi Society


Antebellum Mississippi Society

The removal of the Choctaw and Chickasaw from Mississippi in the 1830s sparked a land boom and a population explosion

30 new counties were formed

In 4 years speculators and settlers bought seven million acres of land

Mississippi’s population grew more rapidly than the nation’s population


Mississippi’s Economy

In antebellum Mississippi Prosperity was everywhere

Land was cheap

And price of cotton was high

Banks extended easy credit and issued paper money

Boom ended abruptly, followed by the most severe economic depression faced by the U.S. up to that time

Andrew Jackson carried the state because he was so popular

President Jackson’s policies were what brought economic disaster to Mississippi


Mississippi’s Economy

Jackson battled to destroy the second Bank of the United States (1816-1836) which handled financial transactions for the federal government and issued paper money

Jackson had all the federal government’s funds withdrawn and transferred to certain state banks called “pet banks”

Planter’s Bank of Natchez established in 1830 was one of these pet banks

These state banks increased the amount of paper money in circulation which stimulated the economy


Mississippi’s Economy

These bank notes were not face value because the banks didn’t have enough specie to back them up

Settlers and speculators used the bank notes to buy federal land

The Specie Circular of 1836 required that government land be paid for with specie rather than paper money

Distribution Act required the surplus in the federal treasury paid to states in specie

When the “pet banks” could not provide the gold and silver, the banks collapsed


Mississippi’s Economy

By 1837 the Planters Bank could no longer redeem its paper money with specie


Panic of 1837

led to depression of 1837-1841

Depression hit Mississippi hard

Federal government foreclosed on land bought on credit

Cotton prices tumbled

Banks disappeared and didn’t re-open until after the Civil War

Bonds guaranteed by the state were no longer valid and remain unpaid to this day

Property owners lost land because they couldn’t pay their taxes



Travel and communication was slow and difficult within the state

Roads were dirt, and mud

A pulled wagon could only travel 20 miles a day on good condition

The health of Mississippi’s economy depended on transportation

Steam boats carried cotton and other goods on the Mississippi River

And smaller rivers the Yazoo, Big Black, Pearl, and Tombigbee



Poor roads made travel difficult, eventually railroads solved the land transportation problems

Was not easy to build railroads in Mississippi, because bridges had to be built over creeks and streams

Raising money was difficult, and especially after the Panic of 1837

2 Stages of Railroad production

First railroad were built to bring cotton to a river port

Rails were laid in short tracks from small town to small town



Smaller town recognized the economic importance of bringing cotton to their towns

So small towns tried to built railroads to Jackson

Vicksburg and Jackson rail line was the most successful in the state

Began operation in 1838

Second stage occurred when small railroads were combined into trunk or main lines joining the major cities of the nation

New Orleans and Mobile both secured lines with the north making then important cotton towns



Public education developed slowly in Mississippi, because most countries couldn’t afford to spend money

After 1836 the state authorized counties to fund schools

By 1860 30,000 white children were attending school

School terms were short rarely lasting more than 3 months

Only the basics were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic

High education was the responsibility of private and religious organizations



Southern are known to be religious people

Many Christians denominations established churches in Mississippi

The largest were the Methodist and Baptists

Presbyterians, and Catholics were also well established


It’s Your Turn!

In which decade did the population of Mississippi increase most rapidly?

What was the importance of the Specie Circular?

What did railroads both help and hurt the economy of Vicksburg?

What were the two largest religious denominations in Mississippi in the antebellum period?