Plantation Management in the Old South Essay

William Scarborough’s. The Overseer. examines the importance and the day-to-day responsibilities of the plantation superintendent and how they influenced and contributed to the production and efficiency of slaves in the “Old South” . This place was undisputedly. the most of import place in the southern plantation system as they determined the success or failure of a plantation. In some little plantations. but largely larger 1s. the superintendent was in charge of the supervising of enslaved Africans. attention of the land. seting. farm tools. and reaping. The superintendent has been particularly known in history as the animal trainer of rough disciplinary actions against slaves for interrupting heavy or mild regulations. The outgrowth of occupation advertisement stormed through the South with higher figure of persons having slaves. Over clip taking up to the Civil War. the place of superintendent has been professionalized with some plantation owners even necessitating letters of recommendations from their appliers. The end of the writer is to garner facts and accurate grounds that show how superintendents efficaciously completed their undertaking set Forth by plantation proprietors and were less concerned about the anguish and rough whipping of the enslaved Africans. The author focuses more on the profession itself as opposed to analyzing the individual’s societal category or ethical motives in society. He besides attempts to supply a valuable reading of one of many groups that made up the white in-between category of the Old South.

The book is divided into three subdivisions with the first refering the history and function of the superintendent in the plantation constitution. It besides gives cardinal inside informations on contract dialogues between the superintendent and the plantation proprietor. Last. this subdivision shows the position of the superintendent by the general populace. The 2nd subdivision examines the managerial responsibilities and duties and some of the dissensions between the plantation maestro and the superintendent. The concluding subdivision shows the business and the importance of the plantation supervisor during the Civil War and how the loss or decrease in available superintendents affected the lasting plantations after the war ended.

The superintendent system was foremost introduced in the United States by the Virginia Company of England with the primary occupation map of continuing gained district. When Africans were shipped to the Louisiana Territory as slaves. this really system was implemented. The huge bulk of superintendents during the colonial period were apprenticed retainers whose footings of service had expired. One major ground for the addition in superintendents in the antebellum South. during the eighteenth century were the cultural alteration that demanded plantation proprietors to indulge in the humanistic disciplines and other cultural chases. The profile of many of the work forces that went into this profession were most likely either the boy of a plantation owner. white lower category work forces. and work forces who really saw the economic benefits of being an superintendent. One typical characteristic of the superintendent system during the colonial period was the pattern of renting developed plantations with slaves as stock. With this understanding the superintendent was in charge for care of the slave force. and in return received tierce of the net returns from the merchandising of the harvests. This profession would shortly go extremely profitable when cotton became the head of agribusiness in the United States although to some had a negative position of the place. Although most of the superintendents were originally hapless and uneducated. they still gained adequate regard by their employers to be acknowledged as a semi-elite professional with a really profitable place. Whatever may hold been the position of the plantation owner category sing the measure on the “social ladder” occupied by slave directors. the superintendent himself had no feeling of category lower status and showed small bitterness toward the proprietary group.

One of the major responsibilities of the superintendent was the public assistance and subject of the slaves. the attention of farm animal and other agribusiness implements. and the production of basic and subsistence harvests. The superintendent assigned certain undertaking to specific slave groups and supervised the labour of slaves in the field. The superintendent was expected to hold basic medical apprehension to be able to analyze the slaves and do note of any who really needed professional intervention to handle certain physical hinders. The slave director was obliged to do periodic reviews of slave cabins and was responsible for the distribution of vesture for the slaves. Last. and most significantly. the superintendent was expected to guarantee the security of the Whites
against rebellions of slaves. which was to some. inevitable. Depending of the plantation. there were besides a 2nd set of regulations that were handed down from the plantation owner to the superintendent to teach to the slaves. Some plantations had really rough working conditions and required long hours. regardless of age or gender. while other were reasonably mild with less work demanded from pregnant adult females and kids under the age of seven. Some plantation owners stated that “a happy slave is a productive slave” and the superintendent had to stay by the wants of the plantation owner although they may hold had different positions on the usage and managing of the slaves. The relationship between the superintendent and the plantation owner became polar taking up to the Civil War in 1861.

As the Civil War began to run its class. the production of agribusiness ( with slave labour ) was highly of import in the surviving and continuity of the South. The function of the superintendent became even greater than of all time with the going of healthy white work forces go forthing to fall in the Confederate Army. In many countries in the South. the lone staying security against insurgences from the slaves was the superintendents. It was no surprise that the drafting of plantation directors to the Confederate Army. angered many plantation owners cognizing that there would non be plenty qualified directors to maintain the slaves productive and fearful. There were even Torahs put into topographic point in provinces such as Georgia. South Carolina. Mississippi. Alabama. and Louisiana that limited the figure of superintendents that could be drafted into the ground forces. The South besides made a regulation saying that any hurt soldier who is able must return and supervise a plantation in order to lend to the production of goods in the South. With this decrease in superintendents. many slaves were able to get away and a figure of big plantations fell due to the absence of the “slave Manager” .

Scarborough’s The Overseer. examines the life and impact of the plantation superintendent and how it shaped the working system of bondage and production in the United States. The author’s utilizations cardinal facts to endorse his thesis on the importance and professionalism of the superintendent. Scarborough did extended research by researching primary beginnings such as the memoirs of plantation owners. public records. legal paperss. and advertisement postings. He incorporates a figure of different employment contracts between plantation owners and superintendents and
compared them based on the size of the plantation. province and part. and figure of slaves. The writer seemed to look at this occupation description from a professional point of view as opposed to the ailments and negative position that society and some historiographers have placed on the directors of plantations. He mentions that some superintendents who were uneducated or inexperienced greatly affected the mentality for this profession and shadowed the slightly complex occupation of pull offing an full plantation.

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