The Meaning of Power on an Antebelum Plantation

POWER ON AN ANTEBELUM PLANTATION 3

TheMeaning of Power on an Antebelum Plantation

TheMeaning of Power on an Antebelum Plantation

Thefirst change involved the design of a plan to enhance both physicaland psychological domination of the slaves. The aim was to destroythe foundations of the organized systems of black solidarity.

Thesecond change involved the establishment of a permanent residence inthe plantations. The reason is that Hammond was inexperienced inmanaging large numbers of domestic workers and wanted to micromanagethe slaves.

Thethird change was the abolishment of Negro preaching and Negrochurches from Silver Butt and compelled the slaves to attend thewhite churches by making the black churches unavailable. He alsoreplaced black worship with devotions that were entirely under thewhite’s direction and further, he proceeded to prevent hisneighbors from permitting black churches on their land. The reason isthat he wanted to control the souls of the slaves.

Fourthwas the recording of frequent floggings of his workmen. The reasonwas to identify when some slaves decided to extend Christmas andfailed to return to work as scheduled so that he would force themback to work and punish them by whipping.

Fifthwas the use of both punishments and rewards on his slaves. His systeminvolved not only punishments but also positive inducements thatinvolved picking contests in which the most diligent hands wereoffered awards such as Christmas holidays, rations of sugar, tobacco,coffee and midsummer barbecues. The primary reason was to facilitatemanipulation of the slaves into believing that he is not a harshmanager.

Sixthwas the development of formal rules for treatment and supervision ofslaves. They included clear roles for master’s overseers anddriver. The main reason was to indicate a conscious desire to impressthe slaves with their total dependence on their master, emphasize themaster’s power but to distance him from the arbitration of justice-it was a way to indicate that he did not intend to micro manages theslaves.

Seventhwas the Killing of traditional medicine men so that he would forcethe slaves into the use of modern medicine.

Eighthwas the introduction of a policy of punishment for escapees. Itincluded ten lashes per day of absenteeism for escapees recaptured byforce and only three lashes for those returning on their will. Themain reason was to enforce the runaways to return at will.