Between 1790 and 1810, the number of enslaved people in the South increased by more than one million.
The South moved from a region of four states and one small territory to a region of six states and three large territories.
The free population of the South nearly doubled from around 1.3 million in 1790 to more than 2.3 million in 1810.
The population of slaves in the South did not increase at a rapid rate over the next two decades, until the cotton boom took hold in the mid-1830s.
The number of slaves in the South increased by just 750,000 after the ban on the international slave trade.
Cotton came, and grew, and changed everything.
Travelers, writers, and statisticians began referring to the Cotton Belt as the Black Belt, not only to describe the color of the rich land, but also to describe the skin color of the people who lived there.
The value placed on both the work and the body of the slaves was perhaps the most important aspect of southern slavery.
After the initial land rush subsided, land values became static and credit less free-flowing.
In 1850, a farmer or investor would have to pay more than $3,000 for Mississippi land that cost $600 in 1835.
By 1860, that same land, depending on its record of production and location, could cost as much as $100,000.
If the land did not produce a viable crop within a year, the planter would lose not only the new land but also the slaves he or she put up as a guarantee.
By the 1850s, nearly every ounce of credit offered by southern and even northern banks dealt with some aspect of the cotton market.
The money changed hands.
The St. Louis Exchange in New Orleans was often described as a representation of the southern slave markets.
After the ruin of the St.Clare plantation, Tom and his fellow slaves were suddenly property that had to be destroyed.
Tom was brought to New Orleans to be sold to the highest bidder and found himself in a splendid dome.
The prices for slaves ranged from purchase to birth, depending on skin color, sex, age, and location.
Cotton prices doubled in the 1840s and 1850s due to both standard inflation and the increasing importance of enslaved laborers.
In 1845, "plow boys" under the age of eighteen were sold for more than $600 in some areas.
The average price of cotton by 1850 was $1,600, which was in line with the rising prices of the cotton they picked.
The average "field hand" cost $700 when cotton was at 7C/ per pound.
In the cotton South, cotton and slaves helped define each other.
By the 1850s, the idea of change--be it crop diversity, antislavery ideologies, economic diversification, or the increasingly staggering cost of purchasing and maintaining slaves-- became anathema to the southern economic and cultural identity.
The foundation of the southern economy was cotton.
It was the only major product that the South could market internationally.
As a result, southern planters, politicians, merchants, and traders became more and more dedicated to the production of slaves and slavery.
"To sell cotton in order to buy negroes--to make more cotton to buy more negroes, 'ad infinitum' is the aim and direct tendency of all the operations of the thorough going cotton planter," wrote Joseph Ingraham in 1834.
"Twenty-three years later, such pursuit had taken a seemingly religious character, as James Stirling, an Englishman traveling through the South, observed, "These are the law and the prophets to the men of the South."
The Cotton Revolution was a time of panic and competition.
The planters expanded their lands, purchased slaves, extended lines of credit, and went into massive amounts of debt because they were constantly working against the next guy.
A bad crop can ruin a planter's life, along with those of his or her slaves and their families.
The cotton market was large and profitable, but it was also risky and cost intensive.
The more land one needed to procure, the more slaves, credit, and mouths to feed would be.
The decades before the Civil War in the South were not slow and simple.
No matter where one stood in the social hierarchy, they were times of high competition, high risk, and high reward.
The risk was not always economic.
The most horrifying aspect of slavery was its inhumanity.
All slaves had memories.
The markets in southern cities like Norfolk, Virginia, sold slaves as well as vegetables, fruits, meats, and sundries.
The two people walking in the center were slaves who lived and worked next to free people.
Communities developed on a shared sense of suffering.
Slaves worked together to help their families, ease their loads, or simply frustrate their owners in the slave markets of the urban South.
Simple actions of resistance, such as breaking a hoe, running a wagon off the road, causing a delay in production due to injury, running away, or even pregnancy, provided a language shared by nearly all slaves in the agricultural workforce, a sense of unity that remained unsaid but was acted out
The problem of slav ery in the cotton South was twofold.
The fear and risk of rebellion was the first thing that came to mind.
The system of communication, resistance, and potential violence among slaves did not escape the minds of slaveholders across the region and the nation as a whole.
There would bevulsions which will probably never end but in the eradication of the one or the other race.
More than a half century later, 15 Southern writers, planters, farmers, merchants, and politicians pressed the same fears.
cowardice wouldn't save her.
Slavery was the saving grace of many slaveholders in the South because it allowed them to maintain peace and security in everyday life.
Slavery provided a sense of order, duty, and legitimacy to the lives of individual slaves, which Africans and African Americans could not otherwise experience, according to pro-slavery ideology.
"Blacks" would become violent, aimless, and uncontrollable without slavery, according to many.
The problem in the 1850s was the inter nal slave trade, the legal trade of slaves between states, along rivers, and along the Atlantic coastline.
Before the Civil War, the internal trade picked up.
The problem was easy to solve.
The more slaves one has, the more money it costs to maintain them and to get product from their work.
Cotton growers and planters increased their expectations as they expanded their lands.
In large part, productivity increased.
It came on the backs of slaves with more intense punishments.
Between 1820 and 1860.19, cotton production in Mississippi increased by 600 percent.
capitalism had a colonial, violent, and exploitative face.
The bonds people, men, women, and children were sold like pieces of property in the advertisements produced during the era.
Slaves for sale in New Orleans.
Slavery, profit, and cotton were not limited to the rural South.
The growth of an urban South that served as southern hubs of a global market, conduits through which the work of slaves and the profits of planters met and funded a wider world was sparked by the Cotton Revolution.