At the summit of the Southern social pyramid where the 10,000 owners
At the summit of the Southern social pyramid where the 10,000 owners with more than 50 slaves, including 2,000 with more than 100. The majority of slaveholders are there for small-scale owners, but large-scale ownership by a small minority meant that more than half the slaves lived on plantations with more than 20 slaves. John Boles has pointed out the interesting statistical coincidence that, in 1850, 72.4% of slaveholders owned spent in slaves, but at the same time precisely 73.4% of slaves lived in units numbering more than 10. Behind all the census figures lies the fundamental but often forgettable fact that three-quarters of southern white families owned no slaves at all. Numerically at least, the typical white Southerner were small farmers cultivating their own soil, not infrequently on the move from one area to another, and in many respects not unlike their Northern counterparts, except that they lived check-by-Jowl with slavery and accepted its social and racial imperatives as well as its economic repercussions. the other side of this coin reveals that the great Plantation owner with his hundreds or at least scores of slaves – it figures so Central to the legend and the Romance of the Old South – belonged to a tiny minority of the white population. The plantations of many of the largest slave owners cultivated, not cotton, the Great Southern State, but either sugar, in Louisiana, or rice, on the coasts and sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia.