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Social Classes in

South Carolina

Antebellum South~ Before
the Civil War

Name ___________________________________ Date _________________

The time period before the Civil War was

known as the _______________ period.
In Antebellum South Carolina, there were
different types of people that made up South
Carolinas population. Analyze the chart to learn
more about the antebellum population in South


What years population is shown on the graph? ______

What group had the largest population? ___________
What group had the smallest population? __________
Were most white people part of the elite? _________

The Elite Class

The people who were a part of the elite were extremely

wealthy and lived in fancy houses like this one.

The ________ were the wealthy, upper

class, planters who were ______ rich. The elite
owned ______ or more slaves and attained their
wealth from the _________ and ________ of
the cash crops such as ________ and ________.
Although the elite had lived only along the coast
in colonial times, by the antebellum period they
lived in the midlands and the upstate as well. For
fun, the elite would read books, went to plays, and
hosted big parties.

The children of the elite were often

educated by private _______ or at private
_________ in South Carolina and other places.

The children of the elite learned other languages

like Latin and French. They took music and
drawing classes.
Most of the government leaders in our state
were part of the elite. They were ___________
and __________. They worked to make
________ that served their interests. They

wanted laws that protected _________.

The elite made sure they looked their best by wearing nice attire.

The Middle Class

The ________ were tradesmen, merchants,
shopkeepers, physicians and attorneys. The
middle class were not as _______ as the elite,
but they had enough money to live in comfort.
They were most likely to live in _______ and
_______ and had ________ political and social
influence in their neighborhoods. They may have
owned a few _______ to do household chores.
Children of the middle class were taught to
______ and _______ and might pursue a
profession like their fathers.

The Lower Class

The __________ adults and children were
unskilled and uneducated and often landless. They
were sometimes called ____________. Jobs for
adults were very limited. They competed with
_______ for jobs. Often lower class people
squatted on a piece of land and engaged in
subsistence farming. This means they used land
that did not belong to them and grew their own

food to eat themselves. They had _______ social

or political influence.

Independent Farmers

________________ owned small farms which

they worked themselves with the aid of family
members. They were not ______. Some
independent farmers owned a few _______ but
worked side by side with them in the fields.
The children of independent farmers might
________ at home and help their families with
________. The _______ of farming in the state,
especially in the upstate, was done by
independent farmers. As independent farmers
were more successful in growing __________,
which are crops that are grown to be sold, and
became more prosperous (wealthy), they bought
more slaves and increased their social and
political standing. Some even became members of
the elite.

Free African Americans

A small number of black people in South Carolina
were _______. Some masters freed their slaves.
Some slaves were allowed to by their freedom
with the money they had saved from being hired
out to work in the towns or cities of the South
else instead of on the plantation. African
Americans usually had a particular ______, such
as carpentry, or a talent, such as music making.
This skill led them to be hired out by their
Others were independent farmers. Many
stayed in the region because they had family
members who were still __________. They
worked to earn money to buy the freedom of
wives and children.
The children of freed African Americans
might be taught to read and write at home but
there were _____ public schools provided for
them. Free African Americans _________ have
political or social equality with other
Southerners. They had to pay a special _____

and carry their _________ papers wherever

they went. They lived in _______ of being
returned to slavery.

Maggie Palm, a free African American during Antebellum.

Enslaved African Americans

_________ African Americans worked without
being ________. They were _______ and
_______ and considered the property of their
white masters. Slaves were allowed few personal
freedoms and had to carry a _______ issued by
their master to travel from one plantation to

another. Many slaves also had to wear a tag so

they could be identified as a slave.

This was a tag worn by a slave.

Many enslaved African Americans were

_____ and _____ on the same plantation where
they lived in one- room slave cabins under the
strict supervision of their masters.

Others were sold upon the death of their

masters, when they were disobedient or when the
master needed extra cash. Families were divided
by such sales. Slaves, including women and
children worked from ________ to _______ in

the fields or in the masters house. They were not

paid but were given a few clothes and limited
amounts of food by the master.
It was illegal for slaves and their children to
learn to ______ and _______ because such
knowledge might allow them to _______ their
masters. Slaves who disobeyed the rules or tried
to escape were punished, sometimes severely.

A slave being punished by his master or overseer.