Chapter 12: Cotton is King: The Antebellum South, 1800–1860

Critical Thinking Questions

12. Compare and contrast the steamboats of the antebellum years with technologies today. In your estimation, what modern technology compares to steamboats in its transformative power?
13. Does the history of the cotton kingdom support or undermine the Jeffersonian vision of White farmers on self-sufficient farms? Explain your answer.
14. Based on your reading of William J. Anderson’s and John Brown’s accounts, what types of traumas did enslaved people experience? How were the experiences of Black women and men similar and different?
15. What strategies did enslaved people employ to resist, revolt, and sustain their own independent communities and cultures? How did enslaved individuals use White southerners’ own philosophies—paternalism and Christianity, for example—to their advantage in these efforts?
16. What are the major arguments put forward by proslavery advocates? How would you argue against their statements?
17. Consider filibustering from the point of view of the Cuban or Nicaraguan people. If you lived in Cuba or Nicaragua, would you support filibustering? Why or why not?


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