Social Studies 5: The Plantation System
Plantations may have made their owners rich, but it was at the expense of the slaves that worked there. They were treated terribly. Rickety houses, punishment for working slowly, and no pay. Oh, and no iPhones either. It was a cruel time.
|5th Grade||Social Studies|
|Elementary and Middle School||5th Grade|
thing that helped prove to everyone around you that you pick your nose. Awkward. [Woman looks disgusted at man picking nose]
Chances are, the clothing you touched is made of cotton. And believe it or not, cotton isn't
somehow magically made at Target. [Woman outside Target store]
Cotton is grown from the earth, and along with tobacco, rice and indigo, was one of
the most important crops grown in the English colonies along the east coast of the United States.
Cotton is a plant native to North America,
as well as Africa and India, and it wasn't super popular until the invention of the cotton gin. [Locations of cotton popularity across a global map]
Gin is short for engine, and it helped making cotton easier to harvest. Cotton was so important
to the English colonies, in fact, that it was later called King Cotton, which a pretty [Cotton wearing a crown on a throne]
darn cute name if you ask us. Rice is originally from China, but African
slaves who already knew how to grow rice helped show Europeans in the New World the tricks [Slave carrying a bowl of rice]
of the trade, which is a surprisingly nice thing to do given the fact that they were,
y'know, enslaved by them.
And why was rice important? Because it's delicious. Duh. [Sushi rolls]
And indigo is more than just the most forgotten color of the rainbow… it's actually a plant,
and its leaves can be used to create a dark-blue dye for coloring fabrics. [Indigo dye and a pair of jeans appear]
Because apparently slave-owners needed to be fashionable.
These crops and others were all a part of the plantation system.
And what's a plantation, you ask? Well, it's basically just another word for a big farm. [Coop discussing plantation system]
Sounds fun, right?
The only difference is that it was run by slaves, which made it far more productive,
and in turn made the land-owners very, very wealthy. [Land owners swimming in a pool of money]
Not so fun anymore. Some of these plantation owners had hundreds
of slaves, who were forced to live in simple wooden cabins and a dirt floor.
Which might sounds like a nice weekend vacation with the family, but it's not exactly ideal
to live in all the time. Especially without heating, glass windows, or even iPhones. [Family in a wooden cabin]
We'll give you a moment for that last one to sink in. No. iPhones. Seriously, ask your
parents. It was practically the stone age. Anyway, some slaves were treated very poorly, [Family driving in a car]
and others were treated with some kindness – but nearly all of them were punished for
not working hard enough…often with a whip.
And if they tried to escape, they were often killed. [Soldiers shooting a slave]
So the next time we're all moaning about our phones running out of batteries, maybe we'll
stop and think about being exploited, abused, and mistreated…
And remember that there actually is something worse than not having access to an iPhone. [Car drives by and iPhone falls out of the car]