How Was The Economy Of The South In The 1850s Connected To The Culture Of Slavery


How Slavery Became the Economic Engine of the South

With cash crops such as tobacco, cotton, and sugar cane, the southern states of the United States grew became the economic engine of a rapidly expanding nation. What is their preferred fuel? Slavery against humans. If the Confederacy had been a distinct country, it would have been the fourth richest country in the world at the time of the outbreak of the American Civil War. The slave economy had been extremely beneficial to the development of the American economy. By the commencement of the war, the South was producing 75 percent of the world’s cotton and the Mississippi River basin was producing more billionaires per capita than any other region in the country.

Cotton harvesters leaving the fields with baskets of cotton are enslaved labourers.

An Economy Built on Slavery

Construction of a business operation out of the wilderness necessitated a great deal of hard work. For most of the 1600s, the American colonies were primarily agricultural economies, with a significant portion of their income coming from indentured servitude. The majority of the employees were impoverished, jobless European laborers who, like many others, had migrated to North America in search of a better life. In exchange for their labor, they were provided with food and housing, as well as a rudimentary education and, occasionally, a trade.

During this time period, slavery had evolved into a morally, legally, and socially accepted institution in the colonies, as well as in the United States.

Property owners in the southern colonies took advantage of the favorable climate and accessible space to build plantation farms for cash crops such as rice, tobacco, and sugar cane—enterprises that required increasing quantities of labor as the population grew.

As more enslaved Africans were imported and the “inventory” grew as a result of an increase in fertility rates, a new business was born: the slave auction industry.

During the middle of the nineteenth century, a talented and able-bodied enslaved person might command up to $2,000, but values varied from state to state. Around the year 1861, a slave sale took place. (Image courtesy of API/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images.)

Economic Necessity Trumps Morality

Slave labor had become so ingrained in the economics of the South that nothing, not even the notion that all men are created equal, could shake its hold on the region. Human bondage and man’s cruelty to man were hotly debated topics during the Constitutional Convention’s summer meeting in Philadelphia in 1787, but the issue of its economic necessity did not divide the delegates who convened in Philadelphia. At the time, there were around 700,000 enslaved persons living in the United States, who were worth hundreds of millions of dollars in today’s currencies.

  1. The southern states of Georgia and the Carolinas asked that each enslaved person be counted in the same way that white people were.
  2. What is their stipulation?
  3. VIDEO: The Slavery System in the United States of America– Researchers and professionals look at the American system of racialized slavery and the hypocrisy that allowed it to continue to exist and function.
  4. By the end of the twentieth century, the United Kingdom was importing more than 20 million pounds of tobacco per year from the United States.
  5. Tobacco has always been a volatile product for producers, plagued by price swings, vulnerability to weather variations, and depletion of the soil’s minerals.
  6. Slaves working on a cotton gin on a plantation in the United States.

King Cotton

Cotton was picked and cleaned by hand, which was a time-consuming procedure that delayed output and reduced availability. In 1794, inventor Eli Whitney created a machine that combed cotton bolls free of their seeds in a matter of minutes. The machine is still in use today. One enslaved person could manually pick the seeds out of ten pounds of cotton in a day if they worked hard enough. It was Whitney who invented the cotton gin, which was patented in 1794 and could process 100 pounds of cotton in the same amount of time.

  1. Many people felt that the cotton gin would eliminate the need for enslaved people since the machine would be able to replace human labor in the cotton industry.
  2. The greater the amount of cotton processed, the greater the amount of cotton that could be sent to mills in Great Britain and New England.
  3. They were safeguarded against piracy by powerful navies.
  4. All of these factors combined to increase cotton output and distribution, putting the South in a strong position to develop its cotton-based economy.
  5. Cotton production exploded: Between 1801 and 1835, cotton exports from the United States increased from 100,000 bales to more than a million bales, accounting for more than half of all U.S.
  6. The end result is as follows: As cotton became the economic backbone of the Southern economy, slavery was responsible for the region’s enormous earnings.
  7. Cotton mills in the North and Great Britain were humming, and the banking and maritime industries also reported increases in activity.

Therefore, enslaved persons were recognized as a legal kind of property, and they might be used as collateral in economic transactions or to repay debts that had accrued.

On transactions involving enslaved workers, a form of sales tax was also charged.

At the pinnacle of the social and economic hierarchy stood the aristocratic landowning class, which controlled a significant amount of economic and political power.

After then, a culture of gentleness and high-minded honor rules developed.

These farmers were self-made and fiercely independent in their pursuit of success.

No matter how large the difference between wealthy and poor was, whites’ class tensions were alleviated by the conviction that they all belonged to the “superior race,” no matter how great the disparity between rich and poor.

A group of enslaved persons returning from the cotton fields in South Carolina in the early nineteenth century. (Photo courtesy of Fotosearch/Getty Images)

Slavery, Wealth and the Confederacy

Slavery and cotton had become indispensable to the continuous expansion of the American economy by the beginning of the nineteenth century. But by 1820, political and economic pressure on the South had pushed the North and South together, creating a chasm between them. The Abolitionist movement, which advocated for the abolition of the institution of slavery, gained traction in Congress during the nineteenth century. Tariff duties were enacted to assist Northern industries in fending off international competition, but they have had a negative impact on Southern consumers.

  1. Southerners were well aware that the North had a significant edge over them in terms of population, industrial productivity, and income while debating whether or not to secede from the Union.
  2. The withdrawal of one state after another from the Union in 1860 and 1861 stoked the belief among many Southerners that they were doing the right thing by preserving their independence and property.
  3. With each printing, the Confederate money became even more depreciated because of its intrinsic weakness.
  4. What little gold and silver there was was pulled out of circulation and stockpiled by the government and private individuals alike.

What Happened to the Gold?

By the conclusion of the war, the Confederacy possessed little useable capital with which to continue the struggle. It is thought that Confederate leaders secreted away millions of dollars’ worth of gold during the last days of the war, the majority of which was located in Richmond, Virginia. As the Union Army advanced on the Confederate capital in 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis fled to Georgia with millions of dollars in gold. What transpired after that is up for debate, and has been the subject of several tales and stories.

what was the economic foundation of southern states in the mid-1800s?

Six additional states, including Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, followed South Carolina’s example, with the threat of secession looming over the heads of four more, including Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, as a result of the secession of South Carolina. The Confederate States of America was founded as a result of the union of these eleven states. As a result of the Civil War, sharecropping and tenant farming replaced slavery and the plantation system in the southern United States.

How did the Southern economy change during reconstruction?

During Reconstruction, many small white farmers who had been forced into poverty by the war turned to cotton cultivation, which marked a significant shift from their prewar practices of concentrating on raising food for their own families.

… Sharecropping predominated in the cotton and tobacco-growing regions of the South, but wage labor prevailed on sugar estates.

How did the economy cause the Civil War?

History has taught us that the Civil War was caused by the incompatibility of the northern and southern economies, as taught in history textbooks. Southerners gained enormous profits from cotton and slaves, and they waged a battle to keep those earnings. Northerners did not require slaves in order to run their businesses, and they waged a battle to free them.

What was one of the main advantages of the South?

The advantage for the South was that they were fighting on their own turf, thus they were more familiar with the terrain. One thing the South had going for them was better Generals who were more experienced in battle. This gave the South a distinct edge.

What advantages did the South have over the North?

Those from the South were more likely to grow up riding horses and firing weapons than people from other parts of the country. As a result, they were more likely to be good soldiers. Second, the South had the simpler strategic duty to deal with during the conflict. They didn’t have to attack and defeat the North to achieve success.

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What were the respective advantages of the North and South as the civil war began?

The North had more people, more minerals, more industries, more kilometers of railroad tracks, and more ships than the South had at the time of the American Civil War (WWI). When the Union force was engaged in combat with the Confederate army, these advantages were beneficial.

What was the main idea behind popular sovereignty?

The North had more people, more minerals, more industries, more kilometers of railroad tracks, and more ships than the South had at the time of the American Civil War. When the Union army was battling the Confederate army, these advantages were beneficial.

What was popular sovereignty in 1850?

Popular sovereignty was a political ideology that held that the people who lived in a territory should be able to decide for themselves what kind of government they wanted to have. It was the Compromise of 1850, and subsequently the Kansas-Nebraska Act, that used the phrase “popular sovereignty” (1854). …

What were the results of the Kansas-Nebraska Act Weegy?

As a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, each territory was given the authority to determine the question of slavery on the basis of popular sovereignty. The establishment of slavery in Kansas would be a violation of the Missouri Compromise, which had held the Union together for the previous thirty-four years. It would be necessary to rescind the long-established compromise.

Which two regions of the US became the manufacturing centers during the late 1800s?

The East was the first to industrialize, and the Midwest followed suit by embarking on an agricultural and industrial development process that was well advanced by the 1840s. The East and the Midwest formed the American Manufacturing Belt, which was established by the 1870s, but the South failed to industrialize at a rate commensurate with the rest of the country.

What region in America was most impacted by the industrial revolution?

The Eastern Coast of the United States was the epicenter of American industrialization. When Slater enters into a contract with the state of Rhode Island to construct the first factory, the process of industrialisation as something dominating in the northern hemisphere, particularly the northeastern hemisphere, officially begins.

What was the role of a woman as industry increased?

As the business grew, women were able to take on greater responsibilities and become more active in formerly male-dominated occupations.

… Women used to work in factories and mines, despite the fact that they were traditionally employed as domestic servants in the houses of the wealthy.

Why did Southern states secede?

Many historians believe that the desire of the Southern states to retain the system of slavery was the fundamental cause of the Civil War. Those who oppose slavery argue to other issues, such as taxes and the idea of states’ rights, as justifications.

What was the first state to secede from the union?

According to popular belief, slavery was the fundamental reason for the conflict in the South, which wanted to keep slavery in its current form. Those who oppose slavery appeal to other issues, such as taxes or the idea of states’ rights, as justifications.

What 2 states joined the Union during the Civil War?

Many historians believe that the desire of the Southern states to retain the system of slavery was the fundamental reason for the war. Others downplay slavery and refer to other causes, such as taxes or the idea of States’ Rights, as justifications for slavery.

What was the economic relationship between the North and South in the early 1800s?

The vast majority of individuals in the North were employed in manufacturing or had their own enterprises. They also started little farms or gardens to supplement their family’s food supply. Because they did not have large farms to operate, the people in the North did not rely on slave labor as heavily as they did in the South. Agriculture was the foundation of the economy in the South.

What were the economic differences between the north and south?

The northern hemisphere adopted a much more industrial modernized approach to their way of life, whilst the southern hemisphere was more oriented toward slave labor. Many items including as textiles, sewing machines, farm equipment, and firearms were produced fast in the north, allowing the region to survive on industrial lifestyles.

What was the economic condition of the South after the end of the civil war quizlet?

What exactly was the economic situation in the South following the end of the American Civil War? In the southern United States, the economy was in ruins, and many of the region’s most significant railroads and bridges, as well as crops, animals, and other resources, were devastated.

How did the southern economy and society change after the Civil War?

What changes occurred in the economy and society of the southern United States following the Civil War? … Following the war, their economy slowed to a crawl. To reconstruct the economy, they had to move away from cash crops; there was no longer slavery; and small farms replaced massive plantation operations.

Which is the best description of the southern economy during Reconstruction?

Q. Which of the following is the most accurate depiction of the southern economy during the Reconstruction period? The commercial links with Great Britain and France helped to stabilize the economy of the southern United States. Even while the economy of the southern United States was still built on agriculture and cotton, it now relied on sharecropping rather than slave labor.

Why was the South in much worse economic shape then the North during Reconstruction?

As a result of Reconstruction, the South was in far worse economic health than the North. It took years for many farms to recover from the devastation caused by World War II. Angry at the federal government’s intrusion, Southerners devised strategies to bypass the Reconstruction efforts of the United States.

How was the economy in the South?

A significant deal of wealth existed in the South, but it was mostly related to the slave trade.

As recently as 1860, the economic worth of slavery in the United States outweighed the total value of all railways, industries, and banks in the country. … There was a rise in production in nearly every area of the Union economy.

What are the 3 main causes of the Civil War?

We will cover the effects slavery had on the United States in the years preceding up to the war, as well as some of the disparities between the two sides that resulted in such a chasm between them. Slavery was at the heart of the division that existed between the North and the South. Slavery provided the workforce needed to work the fields in the South.

What economic trend occurred in the South in the 1850s quizlet?

The consequences of slavery in the years preceding up to the war, as well as some of the fundamental disagreements between the two sides, will be discussed here. Throughout history, slavery has served as a focal point of conflict between northern and southern peoples. To plow the fields, the Southern states relied on slave labor.

How was the economy of the South in the 1850s connected to the culture of slavery?

What was the relationship between the economics of the South in the 1850s and the culture of slavery? The development of railroads provided an incentive for enslaved persons to participate in the construction industry. The expansion of industry in the Southern United States reduced the demand for enslaved labor. The agricultural economy was reliant on enslaved labor to ensure its continued existence.

What economic advantages did the North have over the South quizlet?

What were the advantages that the North had over the South during this time period? More fighting force, more industry, higher food production, a more sophisticated railroad system, and Lincoln are all benefits of the American Revolution. You’ve just learned six new words!

A History of the Confederate States of America: Economy, Government, Values (2002)

What was it about the election of 1864 that made it noteworthy? The fight over slavery in the Kansas Territory in the mid-1800s resulted in the formation of what new political party during the Civil War southern leaders hoped that why were the border states so important to the north during the Civil War what was the idea behind popular sovereignty in the mid-1800s what name was given to the fight over slavery in the Kansas Territory in the mid-1800s How many states broke away from the United States to establish the Confederacy was the crux of the compromise reached in 1850, according to historians.

See more entries in the FAQ category.

What the Textbooks Have to Say Textbooks have typically said that the Civil War was sparked by the incompatibility of the economy of the northern and southern states. Everything else was intertwined with that economic disparity, which was based in cotton. What the Historians Have to Say A variety of factors contributed to the Civil War, including but not limited to the rising significance of cotton on southern plantations, which was not the only or even the most important one. When we get away from economic divisions and cotton as basic factors, we arrive at a true, and considerably more intriguing, understanding of the reasons for the Civil War.


For years, textbook authors have argued that the economic disparity between the North and the South was the fundamental cause of the Civil War. This view has been challenged. Manufacturers dominated the northern economy, while cotton production dominated the agricultural sector of the southern United States, respectively. The demand of southerners for unpaid labourers to pick the lucrative cotton increased their reliance on slavery as a result of the Civil War. Because the industrial revolution in the North did not necessitate the use of slave labor, the people of the North were opposed to slavery.

Economic disparity is unquestionably one of the causes of the Civil War, but it is neither the most important nor the most significant.

Concentrating solely on various economies would be like to claiming that one professional football club will always win because it has taller players on its roster.

The truth about the origins of the American Civil War is plain interesting, and they are every bit as complicated as the fight itself. Take time to read the entire text and investigate the sources.»

The North and the South

The American Civil War is well-known for the principal reason it began–the institution of slavery–and for the consequences it had on subsequent generations. Everyone’s life were touched by the brutal and expensive war that fought for four chaotic years in both the North and the South of the country. Over the duration of the battle, more than 600,000 people were slain, or around 500 people every day. The bloody climax to the Civil War, on the other hand, had been decades in the making. Throughout the history of slavery, the North and the South were in almost constant opposition to one another on the issue of slavery.

  • After years of gradual development and divergence in development, the North and South of the United States emerged as two distinct and quite different regions of the United States around the beginning of the nineteenth century.
  • The tight-knit immigrant communities and industrial prowess of the antebellum Northern United States distinguished it from the rest of the country.
  • Industry and manufacturing may have grown as a result of the influx of European immigrants to the United States.
  • In order to better transport these natural resources throughout the country and convert them into items for sale in the marketplace, several great cities were developed such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Boston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit.
  • By 1860, urban areas were home to one-quarter of the population of the Northern United States.
  • The institution of slavery has all but disappeared in the northern hemisphere.
  • Seven out of every eight immigrants choose to settle in the northern hemisphere rather than the southern hemisphere because of the greater number of industrial work prospects in the northern hemisphere.
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There were much more Whigs and Republicans in the North than there were in the South, and they were far more likely to have jobs in business, medicine, or teaching than there were in the South.

Children from the north were somewhat more likely than children from the south to attend school.

The North utilized Christianity as a method of denouncing slavery and referring to it as a moral evil, and it joined forces with abolitionists and politicians to bring slavery to an end on the political front.

(Image courtesy of the Library of Congress) The antebellum period This region of the United States is characterized by its enormous farmland, aristocratic-like social structure, and the usage of chattel slavery to increase agricultural earnings.

Because agriculture was so prosperous in the South, few people in the region recognized the need for industrialization.

The South’s “peculiar institution” was firmly linked to the region’s economics and culture by 1860, despite the fact that two-thirds of Southerners owned no slaves at all at the time.

Virginians possessed the greatest number of slaves of any state, with a total of 490,865 slaves in the state.

It was only New Orleans, Richmond, Charleston, Atlanta, and Mobile that could compete with the smaller Northern cities in terms of population size.

Only one-tenth of Southerners resided in metropolitan areas, according to the Census Bureau.

Except for by water, transportation between cities and throughout the southern United States was exceedingly difficult.

Despite the fact that waterways were beneficial to Southern port and river cities, an overwhelming quantity of interior transportation infrastructure was neglected in the region.

This was owing to the family’s cultural ties to the farms, as well as the fact that youngsters were required to assist the family on the fields or around the house.

Religiously, the South utilized religion to justify the system of slavery, claiming many Bible scriptures to support their point of view on the subject.

At the end of the day, the disparities in attitudes about the institution of slavery between the North and the South were what precipitated the American Civil War.

All of the following factors contributed to a rift between the North and the South about the institution of slavery: economic practices, religious practices, education, cultural differences, and political disparities.

As a result of economic disparities between the northern and southern hemispheres, regional populations with divergent values and ideas for the future have grown in number.

Economics and the Civil War

Marc Schulman’s Economic Analysis of the American Civil War Introduction Economic interests of Americans in the North and Northwest became increasingly separated from those of Americans in the South and Southwest in the years leading up to the Civil War. The result was the American Civil War. Although a variety of factors contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War, the divergent paths taken by the North and the South in terms of economic development contributed to the animosity that developed between the two regions, the growth of the Confederacy, and, ultimately, the Union’s victory over the Confederacy.

  • Rural regions, which included farms and small towns, were home to around three-quarters of the population.
  • Despite the fact that factories were being constructed in the North and South, the great majority of industrial manufacturing was taking place in the North.
  • Northerners worked in more factories than their southern counterparts, and they represented more than 10 times the number of manufacturing workers.
  • In addition, the labor forces in the South and the North were essentially different from one another.
  • The flood of immigrants from Europe and Asia increased competition in the job market, preventing wages from increasing at a rapid pace.
  • The majority of white households in the South did not own slaves: just roughly 384,000 out of a total population of 1.6 million did.
  • Slaves were concentrated on vast plantations owned by around 10,000 major planters, each of whom employed 50-100 slaves or more.

In 1860, around one million slaves worked in houses or in industries such as construction, mining, logging, and transportation, out of a total labor force of four million in the South.

Beginning in 1793, with Eli Whitney’s development of the cotton gin, the cotton business has grown to become a lucrative area for Southern landowners and farmers.

For their part, Southern farmers and planters purchased manufactured products from the North, food items from the West, and imported luxuries from England, such as European designer clothes and furnishings.

Other important economic issues that split the North from the South were tariffs and trade agreements.

Throughout the antebellum period, whenever the federal government attempted to raise tariffs, Southern Congressmen were typically opposed to it, while Northern Congressmen were generally in favor of raising duties.

It was feared that high tariffs would force their European trading partners, particularly the British, to raise the prices of manufactured products imported by Southern planters and farmers in order to retain a profit from trade.

As a result, things produced in the North would appear to be comparatively inexpensive, and Americans would choose to purchase American goods rather than European ones.

Americans in the Western hemisphere were divided on the subject.

People in the Northwest and areas of Kentucky, where hemp (used for baling cotton) was a major crop, were in favor of hefty taxes on imported goods.

There had been acrimonious discussions about the slavery status of newly-admitted states since at least the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and they were symptoms of the very genuine dread the Southerners had of their voices in Congress being drowned out by “Yankee industrialists,” as the term was coined.

  • Representatives and Senators from the southern states were afraid that their concerns would not be adequately addressed in the legislation.
  • A substantial number of Southern Congressmen, on the other hand, did not appear to be concerned about the concerns of Southern Americans who were African Americans.
  • What did the Confederacy expect to achieve by seceding from the United States of America?
  • As a matter of principle, the notion of owning another human being would be considered unethical and criminal in today’s society; nonetheless, many slaveowners chose to overlook or explain their actions by focusing on the economic elements of slavery.

Consequently, when Northern politicians attempted to ensure that new states admitted to the Union were “free-soil” (that is, that slavery was not permitted), slaveowners claimed that their right to settle in the West with their “property,” which included slaves, was being infringed upon by the Northern political establishment.

  • As a result, secession appeared to be the only viable option for protecting such rights.
  • In addition, some believed in the concept of the joyful, docile slave, who was not quite a human being but would benefit from the civilizing effect of Southern gentility because he was not quite human.
  • The Civil War not only reduced millions of American citizens to the condition of chattel, but it also made it extremely difficult for non-landed, unskilled Whites to prosper in the face of labor competition from slaves.
  • Southern cotton planters and others were required to maintain a reasonably large amount of imports of products from Britain in order to assure that the British market for Southern cotton would stay open.
  • An imbalance in this relationship, such as that generated by the abolition of slavery or the imposition of higher tariffs, would have cultural ramifications for the Southern United States.
  • The Confederacy’s only hope would have been that the Union would not fight secession or that other countries would come to the aid of the Confederate cause.
  • Even while they were far from limitless, the Union’s resources were significantly superior to those of the Confederacy, and they would eventually outlast the Confederacy.

When just 50% of eligible men enrolled, the Union had more than double the number of individuals in the armed services as the Confederacy, despite the fact that only 75% of eligible men did so.

By the time of the Civil War, a comprehensive railroad infrastructure had been established, with new lines being constructed through the Northwest as a result of the war.

In total, the North possessed 20,000 miles of railroad, whilst the South possessed just 9,000 miles.

A vast merchant fleet and easy access to naval resources were provided by the long-established shipbuilding industry in New England, which was a boon for the northern maritime economy.

Aside from that, although there was a tiny Southern industry producing navy supplies, there were few commercial ships or naval vessels in the region.

The Union had powerful banking institutions, and its banking institutions controlled at least 70% of the nation’s total wealth.

A further innovation was the creation of paper money (also known as “greenbacks”) that was not backed by gold but rather by government credit, thereby lowering the amount of gold required to create a given amount of money.

Because of its agricultural concentration and relative lack of industrialisation, the Southern economy lacked the financial and technological resources to contribute to the war effort.

Because of the Union blockade, Southern imports plummeted, resulting in a significant reduction in the amount of import customs duties that the Confederate government could collect.

As a result, farmers and planters had little money left over to pay their taxes.

Because of the presence of slavery in the South and the impossibility of a Confederate triumph, foreign countries were typically unwilling to lend money to the Confederacy during the Civil War.

More than $150 million in bonds were issued by the Confederate government, none of which were ever repaid.

By 1864, Confederate dollars were worth about $.05 in gold per dollar in circulation.

Bread riots erupted in a number of Southern cities in the spring of 1862, with the worst occurring on April 2, 1862, in the city of Richmond, Virginia.

By the end of the war, the South had been devastated economically as a result of the massive loss of human life and destruction of property that had taken place.

These circumstances made it more difficult for the country to mend the wounds that had been inflicted upon it by the merger.

Nonetheless, the economic tensions between the North and the South played a significant role in the escalation of political tensions.

Additionally, economic realities played a significant role in the Union’s success. Regional tensions and disputes continued to exist post Civil War; yet, the conclusion of the war heralded the beginning of the United States’ emergence as a single nation, economically and otherwise.

The Role Cotton Played in the 1800s Economy

The Master has complete control over its magnificent bolls and valuable bundles. He speaks eloquently about “mud-stills,” and he would proudly proclaim to the world that “Cotton is King.” – The Gospel of Slavery, written by “Iron Gray,” was published in 1864. Cotton was king in the 1830s and 1840s, and the slogan “Cotton Is King” was the most frequently used when discussing the development of the American economy. Generally speaking, this term describes the plantation economy of the slavery states in the Deep South, which resulted in the establishment of “the second Middle Passage.” However, it is critical to recognize that this was not a phenomena exclusive to the Southern United States.

Cotton was the first product that was widely consumed by the general public.

Because it is so intriguing, let me attempt to break it down as fast as possible: Starting with the monetary value of the slave population, consider the following: The value of slaves in 1860 was “approximately 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 United States cotton crop, and forty-eight times the total expenditure of the federal government that year,” according to Steven Deyle.

As previously stated in this column, the creation of the cotton gingret significantly boosted the productivity of slaves engaged in cotton harvesting activities.

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Now, let’s talk about the worth of cotton: According to Gene Dattel, cotton grown by slaves “gave commercial primacy to New York City, served as a driving factor for territorial development in the Old Southwest, and facilitated trade between Europe and the United States.” While cotton output increased after slavery was abolished, it also remained a key component of the American economy for an extended period of time: “Cotton was the major American export from 1803 to 1937,” according to the National Cotton Council.

  1. I’m not sure what the connection is between cotton cultivation and slavery in the United Kingdom.
  2. “Britain, the most powerful nation on the planet, relied on slave-produced American cotton for more than 80 percent of its critical industrial raw material,” adds Dattel.
  3. The cotton textile industry employed one-fifth of the twenty-two million people living in the United Kingdom, either directly or indirectly.” “The world’s first cotton gin,” according to Harpers Weekly.
  4. Sheppard created an artwork in 1869 describing an incident that occurred around 70 years previously.
  5. Cotton, as demonstrated by Ronald Bailey, fueled the textile revolution in the United States.
  6. The same may be said for weaving looms.

mills during the same year.” Thus, on the verge of the Civil War, New England’s economic system, which was so profoundly dependent on the textile industry, was intricately connected with the labor of black people laboring as slaves in the southern states of the United States, as described by Bailey.

As soon as we comprehend the enormous economic importance of cotton to both the economies of the United States and the United Kingdom, we can begin to appreciate the enormity of the achievements of the black and white abolitionists who were able to marshal moral support for the abolition of slavery, as well as those half a million slaves who “marched with their feet” and fled to Union lines as soon as they were able after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Approximately fifty-five of the 100 Amazing Facts will be published on the website African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. On The Root, you may find all 100 facts.

A Guide to Primary Resources for US History :

United States Expansion, 1800-1860 Leah S. Glaser

On the eve of the Civil War, economic changes generated new ideological, social, cultural, and political issues that further divided the nation along moral and regional lines.Reformers tried to address these issues.Influenced by the messages of self-discipline and individual achievement embodied in the Second Great Awakening, transcendentalism, and “free labor,” these reform movements included temperance, women’s rights, abolition, and states’ rights.

The Slave Society of the South

It had been four years since the population of the Southern United States had surpassed four million, with more than one-third of that number being slaves. The vast majority of southerners grew up in a rural and agrarian milieu rather than in an urban setting. In addition to cotton, the region’s principal exports included sugar and rice, both of which necessitated the use of a large number of unskilled laborers to complete the production. The institution of slavery was justified in a variety of ways by southern society.

  1. The majority of people believed that liberation would be reckless and would cause anarchy and destruction in society.
  2. Genovese and Kenneth Greenberg, have asserted that the slave system resulted in the formation of an entirely new regional civilization with separate ties based on class, race, and gender.
  3. The largest planters possessed the greatest amount of political influence, and they dominated public office.
  4. They sold more diverse crops to adjacent planters, and the planters sometimes recruited them as overseers for their operations.
  5. Furthermore, the majority of poor southern whites learned that slavery shielded them from the mundane labor that slaves were forced to perform.
  6. Slaves frequently escaped from their masters, resulting in significant financial losses for their owners.

Such events sparked more riots and strengthened the expanding abolitionist movement in the North, persuading southerners that agitation from foreigners was a contributing factor to the turmoil.

“Free Labor” Ideology in the North

Southerners numbered four million by 1860, with more than one-third of that total population being slaves. Instead of living in an urban environment, the vast majority of southerners choose to live in rural and agrarian settings rather than metropolitan ones. Cotton was the region’s principal export, but it was also known for its sugar and rice production, all of which needed a large number of unskilled workers. There are several different methods in which southern society defends its institution.

  • The majority of people believed that liberation would be reckless and would cause anarchy and disaster in the community.
  • Genovese and Kenneth Greenberg, have claimed that the slave system resulted in a separate regional civilization with diverse ties between classes, races, and genders throughout the antebellum period.
  • The largest planters wielded the greatest amount of political influence, effectively controlling public office in their respective regions.
  • For the surrounding planters, they sold a greater variety of crops, and the planters frequently engaged them as overseers.
  • Furthermore, the majority of poor southern whites learned that slavery shielded them from the mundane labor that slaves were forced to perform.
  • Slaves frequently escaped, leading their masters to suffer significant financial losses.
  • Events such as these sparked other uprisings and encouraged the expanding abolitionist movement in the North, convincing southerners that agitation from outsiders was causing the trouble in the first place.

Immigration and Nativism

The economic developments brought about by industrialization resulted in a concentration of wealth as well as the formation of separate new middle and working classes. Massive waves of immigrants arrived in the United States in unprecedented numbers throughout the 1840s and 1850s, primarily from poor Ireland, fleeing the potato famine that had ravaged the country. The willingness of these individuals to work for low salaries eventually persuaded industrial managers, such as those at the Lowell Mills, to replace their local workers with mostly immigrant labor by the 1860s period.

Germans were the second biggest group of people to come to the United States prior to the Civil War, after the Irish.

The flood of immigrants sparked a reaction known as “Nativism,” which means “back to the land.” Because they believed that immigrants were endangering the rights of “native-born” Americans, nativists held anti-Irish beliefs that were on a par with the racism reserved for free blacks in northern societies.

The circumstances of working for immigrants in the North, despite the fact that they were founded on the “free labor” philosophy, were widely recognized to be as awful as those of slaves at the time by many notable persons of the day.

As the country grew in size, so did nativism, which spread like wildfire.

Women and the Reform Movement

According to historian Sean Wilentz, in addition to establishing class disparities, the Victorian concept of “separate spheres” to distinguish between the social duties of men and women arose as a result of the economic changes that occurred during the Jacksonian Period. Since rising industry has increasingly distanced work from home, marriage has ceased to function as an economic union. Women, who were already recognized as citizens with no political rights under the United States Constitution, found themselves in an even more marginal position in society as industrialism redefined “work” as competitive wage labor and entrepreneurship.

  • Women were able to exemplify the qualities that the new order threatened to undermine within this “distinct sphere” of influence.
  • Poverty-stricken women toiled in factories like Lowell, while middle- and upper-class white women embraced their “virtuous” reputations and controlled the reform movement via political engagement in public.
  • The advancement of communications and the transmission of knowledge had a role in their ability to come together.
  • Domesticity and education were emphasized in works such as Catherine Beecher’sTreatise on Domestic Economy, which was published in 1840.
  • Additionally, middle-class women exerted their moral authority through reform groups that aimed to restrict odious conduct such as sexual immorality and alcoholic use, in addition to educating.
  • New England women attributed the growth in alcoholic consumption (which had been progressively increasing in the decades preceding up to the 1830s) more to the inflow of German and Irish immigrants than to the changes brought about by industrialization, according to one study.
  • Although the majority of drinking happened in the house, by both men and women, the reform movement viewed alcohol as corrupting and a significant factor to domestic violence.

It had 6,000 affiliates around the country and over one million members by 1833, according to the organization’s website.

Abolitionism, like the Temperance Movement, arose out of a much broader wave of reform efforts to keep pace with the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution.

When it came to reforming movements in the nineteenth century, the Beechers were a great example of a family that encapsulated the most prevalent reforming trends of the day.

As Catherine advocated for the advancement of women in society, Harriet became one of the most well-known abolitionists, penning her denunciation of slavery in the best-selling novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which became an instant classic.

The Female Anti-Slavery Society was formed in Philadelphia in 1833 by a group of women.

A connection was also drawn between the treatment of women and that of black people in terms of intellectual aptitude and denial of educational and economic opportunities, according to the Grimkés.

It was through all of this reform action that active women like as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Susan B.

The movement, which was primarily concerned with suffrage, came to a head in 1848 at a conference at Seneca Falls, New York.

This was the convention’s apex moment, and it was captured on film.

Despite the fact that the action set the agenda for years to come, the slavery issue, concerns of state’s rights, and the sectional crisis would overshadow the aims of the women’s movement in the following years. In fact, women would not be granted the right to vote until after World War I.

States’ Rights

Several Southerners believed that the North’s changing culture and reform efforts were undermining their way of life, their traditions, and their ability to exercise political influence. Industrialism, the free labor doctrine, and especially abolitionism posed a challenge to state rights and re-ignited the dispute over the federal government’s role under the Constitution. The Nullification Crisis, which erupted over the subject of tariffs, became a defining political issue in the United States throughout the 1830s and 1840s, exacerbating the already bitter sectional divisions caused by slavery in the South.

  • Such a move would give a state the authority to declare a national law unenforceable inside its borders, a move that may eventually lead to a state’s decision to secede from the United States.
  • Tariffs of the 1830s, on the other hand, would exacerbate the political tensions associated with sectionalism in the 1850s.
  • When southern states voted to secede from the Union in the 1860s, they justified their decision as a protest against the over-extension of federal powers that threatened the very foundation of southern civilization at the time.
  • Historiographers have focused their attention on the political, economic, and technical forces that formed the era, as well as the contending ideologies and the Civil War itself, in the years after the Civil War.

Works Referenced and Further Reading

Evans, Sara M.Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America.New York: The Free Press, 1989.Foner, Eric. “Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction,” inThe New American History, edited by Eric Foner, Philadelphia: Temple University, 1990.Goldfield, Davis, et. al.The American Journey: The History of the United States. Second Edition.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.Greenberg, Kenneth.Masters and Statesmen: The Political Culture of American Slavery. Baltimore: the Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985.Ignatiev, Noel.How the Irish Became White.

al.The American Promise: A History of the United States.

Second Edition. 2003.Walters, Ronald G.American Reformers, 1815-1860. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978.Wilentz, Sean.”Society, Politics, and the Market Revolution.” inThe New American History, edited by Eric Foner, Philadelphia: Temple University, 1990.

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