Southerners also knew that if slavery could be
transferred from the fields to the factories, slaveowners could control
the emerging industrial economy in America and the world. “Slave Factory
Workers” is the only known image of slaves in an industrial setting.
However, Southerners were worried that if slaves proved intelligent enough
to operate a machine, it would be difficult to justify keeping them in
In addition, the concept of “Industrial Slavery”
was threatening to white industrial wage laborers and the economic
dominance of factory owners who had to pay for labor.