What was "the most important economic development in the South of the mid-nineteenth century"? What caused this, and what was its economic impact?
What role did the businessman of the South play in the region's economic development? What element was most important in this group? Why?
What elements were necessary for extensive industrial development? Did the South possess these? If not, why not?
What does the author mean by the statement that the antebellum South had a "colonial" economy?
What groups made up the planter aristocracy? Why did their influence far exceed their numbers?
What was the "cavalier" image, and how were southern planters able to create it?
How was the role played by affluent southern white women like those of their northern counterparts? How was it different?
If "the typical white southerner was not a great planter," what was he? Describe and explain the way of life of the southern "plain folk"men and women.
Why did so few nonslaveholding whites oppose the slaveholding oligarchy? Where did these opponents live?
What were slave codes? What function did they serve? How were they applied, and what resulted from their violation?
How was slave life shaped by the slave's relationship with his or her owner?
To a slave, what was life under slavery?
Were there "classes" among the slaves? What evidence is there to support this?
How did slavery in cities differ from slavery on the plantation? What effect did urban slavery have on the "peculiar institution" and on the relationship between white and black?
What was life like for free blacks? How was freedom gained, and what were their opportunities once free?
How did slaves respond to slavery? What evidence exists to show that slaves did not accept their condition without protest and that, in some cases, they were strongly defiant?
What were the most widely recognized slave revolts? What effects did they have?
What role did religion play in the life of slaves? How did slaves influence religion in America?
How were language and music important in the life of slaves?
What role did the family play in the life of slaves?
Explain the legal restrictions that were placed on slave families and on the religious life of slaves.
How has the debate over the nature of plantation slavery evolved from the abolitionists' interpretation before the Civil War up to the present? How have the various interpretations in this debate reflected the times in which they appeared?