Zinn begins this chapter by discussing the government's protection of slavery, as cotton was such a profitable crop. He writes that only a rebellion could destroy the system of slavery before the Civil War. However, the process of Reconstruction that ended slavery was not truly revolutionary but was a safe form of emancipation that maintained the white power structure.
Zinn examines the brutality of slavery, in part caused by the owners' fear of revolts. He discusses the evolution of slavery as an outgrowth of the need for labor to cultivate the crops planted in the south. Slaves found ways to resist slavery that were not outright revolts, and owners used religion to tighten their grip on their slaves. However, slaves found a religion that offered forms of escape from slavery.
To end the system of slavery, freed blacks united with white abolitionists, who had their own forms of racism. The means of overthrowing slavery was not a revolt but a process controlled by white Northern business...
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