African Americans in the Antebellum United States

Review Questions

Under the law in the antebellum South, slaves were ________.

  1. servants
  2. animals
  3. property
  4. indentures



How did both slaveholders and slaves use the concept of paternalism to their advantage?


Southern whites often used paternalism to justify the institution of slavery, arguing that slaves, like children, needed the care, feeding, discipline, and moral and religious education that they could provide. Slaves often used this misguided notion to their advantage: By feigning ignorance and playing into slaveholders’ paternalistic perceptions of them, slaves found opportunities to resist their condition and gain a degree of freedom and autonomy.