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Uncle Tom's Cabin? Or Uncle Tom's Laughing...all the way to the bank?

Last Updated: Sunday, December 11, 2022 9:31 AM
* * * note: rough draft * * *
Snake Oil Journalism?
Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe wrote the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) and was against Slavery. She came from the Beecher family, a famous religious family. Harriet Stowe wrote 30 books which included novels, three travel memoirs, and many printed articles and letters. She was very influential, and it was said that when she first met Abraham Lincoln, President Lincoln greeted her with the words, "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war."
Snake Oil Journalism?

This book, Uncle Toms' Cabin, a best seller in the North and England, was making a huge amount of money. Hence, wasn't this book not "sensationalized" for political and social motives, and likewise maximum sales?

Harriet Beecher Stowe's book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, sold 300,000 copies in America along and even more in Great Britain and second only to sales of the Bible. Note, Great Britain relished the idea of a "divided" the United States as the Revolutionary War (1776) was only around 80 years earlier.

While Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote 30 books, Uncle Tom's Cabin brought her financial security. So, the question is, how much money did her previous books make? Probably not as much as Uncle Tom's cabin and likewise "sensationism" Snake Oil Journalism, sells books.

Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin was based upon another novel, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself (1849). That novel, upon the public learning that the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was partly based on said earlier novel sold 100,000 copies. Josiah Hensen said he worked on a 3,700-acre tobacco plantation. A 3,700-acre plantation, perfectly square in shape is approximately 2.4 miles by 2.4 miles. That's a huge plantation! Likewise, if any slave wanted to run away, they could, as who would notice with a plantation that size. Heck, at that size, you could easily get lost at that plantation. Moving on, this plantation was able to grow in size to feed and support 100 slaves for over 50+ years.

Hence, while some might not like "slavery" and see it as sin, there are "rules" that need to be followed back then to avoid Starvation as there was no Welfare, Food Stamps, Wal-Marts, or Section 8 back then. Heck, there was no "electricity", Tupperware, "Zip Lock Bags" and food preservation was limited. Having a "rebellious" slave can easily jeopardize the entire plantation and cause the entire plantation to starve as plantations live from harvest to harvest.

And Lastly, perhaps, the Industrial North could not see or appreciate the Agricultural South's mission critical and life and death aspect of plantation operations and management when there were no Wal-Marts, Welfare, Electricity, Bottled Water or Tupperware at the time.

More Snake Oil Journalism is located here[tba].
Yes, there are quite a lot of deliberate urban legends in the name of Money.

A few questions
QUESTION #1: If Uncle Tom was a slave, why did he live in a cabin? Why not a tent or under a tree?

QUESTION #2: If Uncle Tom was middle-aged, how was he able to live so long and with a wife and kid? This when the so-called average slave age had been reported by historians and Civil Rights as 21 years old?

QUESTION #3: Why cannot the Master of the slave Uncle Tom command a premium price on the sale of his slaves and farm to the highest bidder as Cotton was King and the South's Cotton industry was worth more than the railroad, banks and manufacturing combined?

QUESTION #4: If evil slave masters like Simon Legree in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, were torturing their slaves and their slaves had such a short life expectancy, how could evil slave masters afford to buy more slaves when slaves were so expensive that Cotton was King? It would seem the Good and Benevolent Slave Masters should be wealthy (and certainly not bankrupt financially) as they would not have to purchase more expensive slaves and have more healthy slaves to farm with.

In other words, how can Uncle Tom's Cabin main characters be dirt poor in a land where Cotton was King?
Isn't the Whole Greater than the Sum of the Parts?

Why sell slaves individually and break up families when you can get more for them as a package deal? Likewise, is it not financially unwise to break up families and just plain greedy Snake Oil Journalism to suggest this in their stories and books?

Isn't the Whole greater than the sum of the parts? Why, yes it is. So, is it not financially unwise to breakup families as you would get less for the value and also have to deal with multiple buyers and lots more wasted time wheeling and dealing. If Cotton was King, then there was plenty of money to buy whole family units and get paid more for it.

Moreover, with Cotton being King, farms were not going bankrupt but being bought out easily with lots of money. Likewise, happy and good productive slaves were treated well as they, the masters, could get lots of money for them.

Furthermore, why would someone pay more money for a maimed-for-life slave than a healthy slave? Wouldn't healthy slaves be valued more?

Isn't the Whole Greater than the Sum of the Parts?

So, Slavery benefited slaves handsomely in the form of a far better quality of life for the slaves as they, the slaves, were treated as racehorses. e.g. "Why damage a racehorse?"

Additionally, if Slaves were treated so badly, why does Uncle Tom have a "cabin"? And does not a cabin need maintenance, supplies, etc.

If you are Slave Owner, and Cotton was King, and if you wanted to buy slaves, would you not want complete family units as that would be more wise and efficient in your business?

There are some who think the strong young slaves were separated from their families and sold to the highest bidder. However, "farming" is a lot of teamwork. Hence, those children, elderly and women do the many other tasks needed for farming and making a plantation work besides plowing the field.

From sewing, weaving, feeding livestock, preparing food, washing clothes, and getting water is what is needed from elderly slaves, young children, and women.

Why purchase Broken Up Families when it
With complete family units, slave owners would worry a lot less about slaves running away as the slave's wife and children would anchor that head of household slave at that same plantation and vice versa.

Moreover, money should not have been a problem as Cotton was King back then. So why buy a broken up family unit where you have to pay more and spend more time in the health and maintenance of said slaves? This, not to mention individual slaves had no family anchor to keep them from running away.

From a practical and business perspective, the plot and story line of the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin makes no common sense from several business angles.
Isn't the Whole Greater than the Sum of the Parts?
First, Uncle Tom's "family" has been intact since being born with no breaking up the family and the farm clearly had success since the beginning, Second, if Cotton was King, then that entire farm and family should have had a lot of money as it had been successful for a really long time and was able to weather difficult agricultural conditions.

Hence, if Cotton was King, would not Uncle Tom's family commanded a huge premium on the open market easily paying for a lot of things and so called debts? Yet, if Cotton was King, why was any farm in debt to begin with?

A U.S. Census report cited by Steven Deyle shows that in 1860, the value of the slaves was "roughly three times greater than the total amount invested in banks," and it was "equal to about seven times the total value of all currency in circulation in the country, three times the value of the entire livestock population, twelve times the value of the entire U.S. cotton crop and forty-eight times the total expenditure of the federal government that year."

Basically, the Uncle Tom's Cabin novel has a 180-degree contradictory business setting to the economic riches of farming that made the South extremely rich. So rich that it also led it to being "too prideful" to think it could easily break away from the United States as well as too naive to know that the South meant to the North.
Isn't the Whole Greater than the Sum of the Parts?
Isn't the Whole Greater than the Sum of the Parts?
Since the landowner was always away, e.g., trying to sell the crops of the plantation and buy supplies, the slaves basically had the plantations all to their selves for most of the year. The Slaves also knew they had no Welfare, WalMarts, Electricity, 911, or advanced food preservation to support them and lived from harvest to harvest. Hence, the Slaves took care of themselves and the Land Owner had to trust the Slaves to produce crops and not steal via skimming crops and sell with a slightly reduced price as Cotton was King.

Absentee Land Owners also had to trust the slaves to not to run away. Hence, the notion of chains and collars to hold slaves against their will is just plain silly. And if you think about it, the Underground Railroad could also be a hyped myth or an expensive con game. For example, runaway slaves could be sold for a huge profit and then run away after being bought on some open market. If that actually happened, you can bet landowners would have stopped buying slaves immediately from that local market or buyer. Word gets around fast.

Moving on, most plantations did not have a large grand house and only had the structures for food preparation and storage, and structure for equipment and animals.

In the Land where Cotton was King, these smaller plantations could easily be purchased for a huge profit to be had by the small farmer and the slaves would have the support and resources of a larger operation. Hence, the slaves' needs would easily be taken care of with any buyout like you see today with larger corporations buying out startups and the founders cashing out handsomely.

Basically, with absentee landowners, slaves ran and operated plantations as if it was their own and their own lives depended upon it.
Absentee Land Owner + King Cotton => Slaves were Time-Share Plantation Kings?

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