The slave south held a society that was not too complex. Social classes played an important role for the southern culture. Two major classes defined the simplicity of the south: yeomen farmers and free blacks, which contributed to the society at the time. Although yeomen and free blacks, to certain circumstances, were considered a middle class, the plantation owning whites still had the upper hand when it came to constitutional rights. Free blacks generally did worse than yeomen, but they usually prospered more than slaves. Most lived in unoccupied areas, and with little to no resources to rely on such as land and political recognition, they struggled to survive. On the other hand yeoman farmers prospered even if it took long.Yeoman farmers were landowning men who farmed for profit and grew their own food. These men did not have slaves or large amounts of land, yet they aspired to obtain these dreams during their lives. John F. Flintoff was an influential person who defined the purpose of climbing up the social “ladder.” During his young adulthood in the early 1840’s, the color of his skin empowered him to be an overseer, yet his skills did not fulfill his employer’s expectations. As a struggling up comer he proved at the age of twenty-six that a yeoman farmer can own a slave, which was an accomplishment. By mid- nineteenth century he owned nine young slaves, but difficult times struck him, forcing him to sell his slaves. However, he later purchased 124 acres of land with help from his in-laws. Soon after, he owned a large amount of farm animals and slaves from the profits he made. Although he did not reach the respected status of people such Paul C. Cameron , who was North Carolina’s largest slaveholder, he did illustrate the effort for a middleclass man to pursue higher economic status.
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