Steamboat Economy In The 1800s

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For slaves, their lives and value were dictated the plant they labor for and their slave holder philosophy of a slave life expectancy. The slave trade focused with particular intensity on people of “prime age” which being fifteen to twenty five. Slaves were viewed in an animalistic and dehumanized connation. A Mississippi planter John Knight discussed how a planter ideal slave force would be “ half men and half women…young say 16-25,stout limbs, large chests, wide shoulders and hips, etc.”(159) Walter Johnson illustrated “slave labor was a bloody and hierarchical social relation. But the labor that slaves did was work…ex-slaves expressed about some of the work they done in slavery. (164) Labor also provided the spatial framework of slaveholding…show more content…
Operating a steamboat was a competitive business. The social world of the steamboat was characterized by of the curiosity desire, fear, and disgust that people experience when social hierarchy is compressed into proximity. Steamboats had also a lot of profit and capital because was everlasting resource and steamboats required small initial startup investment. Steamboats were developed during that time which could navigate in shallow waters as well as upriver against strong currents. The steamboats in the river trades were maximizing their capital by running harder, faster, and longer. most steamboat were owned by individuals or small partnership of merchants and river men. The steamboat economy depended upon black labor as many 3,000 slaves and 1,500 free people of color were working on riverboats at any given time in the 1850s. Owners carried insurance on their boats, although insurers generally agreed to cover no more than three-quarters of the boat’s estimated value in order to discourage fraud There were principal ways to do business in the steamboat economy: the transient trade and packet trade. Transients ran routes determined by business they could find on the river. Transients competed fiercely with one another for market share, especially during the low season, when routes shrank more boats crowed onto small rivers. The packet trade grew throughout the 1840s and 1850s. Packets ran fixed routes according to fixed schedule. Rivers like the Mississippi had long been important means of transporting goods and people, but with the establishment of steam power, they became the central way around
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