Final Paper

Prior to the American Civil War the South was a very turbulent area in the United States. It was a very disordered place for both African American slaves and the white plantation owners although it was much worse for the slaves that worked the plantations. The Southern white plantation owners thought that they were growing the Southern economy through the institution of slavery and creating a culture that would last a very long time, but in reality they were damaging it almost to obliteration. The institution of slavery had a negative effect on the Southern plantation economy before the Civil War. This is perceived through the lack of innovation, racial division and the lack of economic diversity through single crop agriculture.
Before the start of the Civil War in 1861 the South was rooted in a deadly idea that they saw was right and just. Many Southerners saw themselves as the country’s heart and the respectable part of society. According to Digital History, The Old South: Images and Realities, “northerns were said to be the descendants of 17th century English Puritans, while Southerns were the descendants of England’s country gentry. According to the popular stereotype, the cavalier, unlike the Yankee, was violently sensitive to insult, indifferent to money, and preoccupied with honor. During the three decades before the Civil War, popular writers created a stereotype, now known as the plantation legend, that described the South as a land of aristocratic planters, beautiful southern bells, poor white trash, faithful household slaves, and superstitious field hands.”1 These two sections of the country were very different from one another and the lifestyles were on polar opposites. Due to this extreme difference in how these two places ran and functioned the issue of slavery was a heated debate. This was one of the strongest disagreements and led to a great amount of tensions between the North and the South.
Historians look at many different types of history throughout their research process. They investigate a variety of variables when studying a certain time period in history. One such topic would be the negative effect that slavery had on the Southern Plantation economy prior to the American Civil War. There are many factors that contributed to the downfall of the Southern way of life and culture but several are at the forefront. Three things that Civil War historians suggest led to this is the lack of economic diversity, racial division, and lack of innovation.
One important factor that contributed to the plantation economy to die out was the lack of economic diversity in the South. The South limited the resources that were produced in the Southern states to a monoculture agriculture. Cotton was the one product that they focused on producing. According to Charles S. Aiken, author of The Cotton Plantation South Since the Civil War, “during the twentieth century the plantation system in the American South took two divergent directions. One route led to mechanization and modernization, the other to decline and the demise of plantation agriculture.”2 Due to the fact that the agriculture business died out after the Civil War and a majority of the labor force becoming free, the plantation owners did not have a way to support their lifestyles. These white, high society families certainly would not want to start working in their own fields to support themselves. The slaves were no longer forced to work the cotton plantations so the South could not recover, not only from the blow that this gave to the economy but also effects of the war, which tore the South apart.
Another element that historians considered is the racial division between the slaves and later former slaves and the tensions they had with their white owners and former owners. According to historian David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion, “virtually everyone confronted its meaning in one way or another, whether they were traveling journalists, famous writers, defeated Southern planters, freed people trying to adjust to new labor arrangements, soldiers commemorating their experiences, or politicians in Congress debating Reconstruction policy. The struggle ensued not only over whose understanding of the Civil War would determine the character of Reconstruction, but also over whose definition of regeneration would prevail in the emerging political culture of the postwar era.”3 Because of the tensions built up in the South before and during the war, people did not know how to address the problems that they now faced. The white southerners did not want to admit defeat on an issue that they believed to be just. The formers slaves, now having been set free under the Emancipation Proclamation, were legally treated now as citizens of the United States. This fact alone caused racial and power tension between the high societal white families and the lower class black families.
The last important factor that contributed to the souths downfall was the lack of innovation, prior to and during the Civil War. Many historians feel that this is a major turning point in the effect that slavery had on the Southern economy. According to Richard Beringer, Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and William N. Still Jr., authors of the novel Why the South Lost the Civil War, “in the antebellum era and throughout most of the war, the desire to preserve slavery exemplified this constant concern. Slavery turned out to have a far-reaching effect on the strategy of the Civil War, for it made unlikely a Confederate resort to its most promising means of resistance, “general insurrection.”4 The South had put so much of their resources into the institution of slavery and the cotton industry that they had nothing to fall back on after they had lost the war. Due to the fact that the South was in a way stuck in the past, and was not modernizing their industries like the North, they were behind in the technology. They could not support themselves when slavery was no longer a way for the South to have an income. Not only did their way of supporting themselves for the last 200 years die out but they could not pick themselves up from the devastation that the war had caused them. The South was doomed once it was clear that they did not have the capability of winning the war, even though they had the most to lose in that situation.
Civil War historians find that the lack of economic diversity, racial division, and lack of innovation were three of the biggest components contributing to the South’s economic downfall. Through these three points it becomes clear that slavery had a very negative effect on the Southern states. After the Civil War Southerners had a very hard time rebounding from this devastating event. It would take years for the South to recover from this blow and they would never again have as good of an economy as they did before the Civil War.
One of the problems that led to economic downturn for the South after the war was the lack of innovation. The South was so torn apart from the war and because slaves were leaving the plantations to find sustainable jobs, the plantations were dying out. Now that the slaves were free they could be their own person but they had perhaps the most difficult challenge to face ahead of them, they must survive in a world where white plantation owners resent them even more. Former slaves may have worked side by side with a former master and in a way were almost equal to the white man. The former slaves now had the job of sharecropping on farmers all across the South. No matter where they fled to in the South there was still reminisce of what the war had done to the land and economy. It was a problem for both the former slave and former master to coexist post Civil War.
While the culture and life changed drastically after the emancipation of the slaves the white Southerns could not adapt to the new life that they faced. Whites throughout the South did not think that they would lose the war and slavery would continue to thrive and expand around the country. According to Richard F. Selcaer author of Civil War America, 1850 to 1875, “at the end the Confederacy had nothing to show for four years of war but destruction and bitterness. Livestock, crops, industrial plants, and the transportation system were all in shambles. The South lost twice in terms of the human cost: once for the casualties that took away so many of its menfolk and again after the war when thousands fled abroad rather than live under Yankee rule.”5 The white Southern plantation owners could not and would not accept defeat after the war, therefore could not begin to rebuild their beloved southern way of life. They would rather move away from everything they knew than to be ruled by the Northern troops that took over the area right after the war was declared over. Due to the fact that they could not let go of the past and adapt to the “new south” this hurt the already destroyed economy.
Former slaves no longer had to work the plantations and hoped to be able to make a life for them by the end of the war. They fled the plantations to find new jobs around the South. White plantation owners needed to be able to sustain their way of life some way. They were not able to do so causing the plantation culture and institution to die out and reek havoc on the economy. Their lack of innovation throughout the war did not help them prepare for after the war so afterwards they had nothing to fall back on. The slavery institution provided sustainability before the Civil War but because the Southern economy was based solely on the production of slavery the economy was unstable. According to Larry J. Griffin and Don Harrison Doyle authors of The South as an American Problem, “abolitionists also dismissed racial arguments that excused slavery as a “necessary evil,” a view premised on the belief that letting Africans live free within a white society was unthinkable, either because it would threaten whites or because it would harm freed blacks. The sin of slavery in their view could not be excused because of its origins or the consequences of its abolition.”6 The South was so concerned about not letting slavery die out and to sustain their power that they allowed the economy to become weaker and weaker. The innovation was lacking a great deal in the South after the end of the American Civil War.
Another problem that plagued the South was the racial division caused by slavery. Through the tensions on the plantations between slaves and slave owners it kept a divide between races in the deep South. According to Digital History, The Old South: Images and Realities, “large slaveholders were extremely rare. In 1860 only 11,000 Southerners, three-quarters of one percent of the white population owned more than 50 slaves; a mere 2,358 owned as many as 100 slaves. However, although large slaveholders were few in number, they owned most of the South’s slaves. Over half of all slaves lived on plantations with 20 or more slaves and a quarter lived on plantations with more than 50 slaves.7 Even though large plantations were rare slavery was not. The slaveholders treated slaves as though they were not humans and were instead work horses. The slaves would be up from sun-up till sun-down in the fields around the plantation. Whites throughout the South used the power that they thought was their God given right being born of the superior race.
Due to the white Southerners obsession with keeping blacks out of society and keeping their social power by controlling the lives of blacks even more. According to David W. Blight author of Race and Reunion, “Dennett’s conversation with the planter exhibited both the flickerings [Sic] of reunion as well as how much that owed to white Southern desires to control the lives of Southern blacks. In Richmond hotel parlors Dennett encountered a steady stream of white Southerns obsessed with the relationship of race to reunion. Virtually all acknowledged their ‘subjugation‘ by war, but warned the Yankee observer that they would never submit to ‘Negro suffrage‘ put over them.”8 The South was so insistent on keeping their power in society that they were hurting the whole South as a whole. They did not want to educate the lower classes that they put everyone behind and they could not catch up with the rest of the country. White Southerners tried everything to elevate their status in society while keeping the poor slaves down and not contributing to society and the economy. According to Digital History: The Old South: Images and Realities, “…as a result, Southerners lagged far behind Northerners in their support for public education. Illiteracy was widespread. In 1850, 20 percent of all southern white adults could not read or write, while the illiteracy rate in New England was less than half of 1 percent.”9 In trying to stifle the blacks in the South the whites were hurting themselves and the way they could contribute to their economy.
The white Southerners had very strong views on the institution of slavery and how the rest of the country should have reacted to it. In the following newspaper article dating back to 1858, Senator J.H. Hammond of South Carolina is giving a speech on the Southern view and opinion on the institution of slavery.10 Those that came and were listening to J.H. Hammond talk were in favor of slavery and in favor of it continuing so they could make a living. In his speech J.H. Hammond was a big proponent of keeping slavery but also expanding it to the new territories that the U.S had claimed in recent years. It is describing southern mind set and culture of the early to mid 1800s. Given the time frame that this speech took place and was published gives a good indicator of how many would feel about this issue. It was given almost two years to the day before the first state succeeded from the Union. It is very ironic that this speech was furnished in South Carolina because they were the first state to succeed from the Union on December 20, 1860, which lead 10 other southern states to succeed the following year. Furthermore, although he does say that the slave trade cannot be reopened the South cannot abolish slavery, for the ramifications would be too great. He states that slavery as a practice is too ingrained into society and it would be very hard for the South to recover its economy and support itself. By having this mindset the South was creating an environment where neither whites nor blacks could thrive and produce a well made living for themselves and also the country as a whole.
The final problem that was caused by the institution of slavery was the lack of economic diversity through single crop agriculture. Due to the fact that the South lacked economic diversity they had an economic deprived culture. According to James Ron author of Paradigm in Distress?, “primary commodities may not effect civil war onset in the way we originally thought, but they do have important direct and indirect effects on states, rebels, and economies, and these remain worthy of serious attention.”11 Due to the fact that natural resources were not used properly in the South they did not have the advantage that the North did. The North had many resources as they had factories and other forms of equipment. The South neglected to build factories and such before the civil war so they had nothing to fall back on during and after the war.
Because the South only had one source of economic income, they got behind after the war and could not recover after surrendering to the North. The economy became very backwards in the South after slavery was abolished and reconstruction started. According to Moses Abramovitz author of Resource and Output Trends in the United States since 1870, “the proportion of gainful workers in agriculture fell from 71 per cent in 1820 to 64 per cent in 1850. It fell another 10 percentage points by 1870. It was set back by the Civil War….”12 By the time the Civil War ended the Southern economy was in shambles as was the rest of the economy in America. They had one product that they produced and had nothing to fall back on and had nothing to pull themselves out of their economic downturn. Even if their way of life was not hit by the effects of the war and slavery had just ended they would not have been able to combat this challenge. They did not safeguard and try to come up with another stimulus to regenerate life after the defeat.
One of the only resources that was produced throughout the South was cotton. Cotton was the Souths mainstay and product that they were very proud of producing. Before the Civil War the South produced 60 percent of the cotton that was used around the world. According to Charles S. Aiken author of The Cotton Plantation South Since the Civil War, “the great plantations of some states have been almost entirely eliminated, as in the black counties of Mississippi. One of the most dramatic and far-reaching developments of the post emancipation era was the decline of the plantation system of agriculture and its replacement by tenant farming. The reorganization of the antebellum plantation into smaller tenancies, each operated by a single family, was both swift and thorough. We know that by 1880 the plantation system had ceased to exist.”13 The South produced only one agricultural crop and it was destroyed when the land was devastated by the destruction that the Civil War produced. Cotton was the backbone of the economic stability of the South prior to the Civil War and once slavery was abolished that crutch was taken away. Due to this the balance and security that the plantations felt was no longer supported.
The institution of slavery had a negative effect on the Southern plantation economy prior to the Civil War. This is perceived through the lack of innovation, racial division and the lack of economic diversity through single crop agriculture. If the South had created a system that allowed them to be more prosperous they could have had a strong and stable economy after the Civil War. They created a legacy that was squashed when a very important piece was not allowed to continue for the good of the nation. Due to the stubbornness of one side of a very turbulent society the South remains today to be one of the poorest areas in the country.

Blog # 7

Prior to the American Civil War the South was a very turbulent area in the United States. It was a very disordered place for both African American slaves and the white plantation owners although it was much worse for the slaves that worked the plantations. The Southern white plantation owners thought that they were growing the Southern economy through the institution of slavery and creating a culture that would last a very long time, but in reality they were damaging it almost to obliteration. The institution of slavery had a negative effect on the Southern plantation economy prior to the Civil War. This is perceived through the lack of innovation, racial division and the lack of economic diversity through single crop agriculture.
Before the start of the Civil War in 1861 the South was rooted in a deadly idea that they believed was right and just. Many Southerners saw themselves as the country’s heart and the respectable part of society. According to Digital History, The Old South: Images and Realities, “northerns were said to be the descendants of 17th century English Puritans, while Southerns were the descendants of England’s country gentry. According to the popular stereotype, the cavalier, unlike the Yankee, was violently sensitive to insult, indifferent to money, and preoccupied with honor. During the three decades before the Civil War, popular writers created a stereotype, now known as the plantation legend, that described the South as a land of aristocratic planters, beautiful southern bells, poor white trash, faithful household slaves, and superstitious field hands” (1). These two sections of the country were very different from one another and the lifestyles were on polar opposites. Due to this extreme difference in how these two places ran and functioned the issue of slavery was a heated debate. This was one of the strongest disagreements and led to a great amount of tensions between the North and the South.
Historians look at many different types of history throughout their research process. They investigate a variety of variables when studying a certain time period in history. One such topic would be the negative effect that slavery had on the Southern Plantation economy prior to the American Civil War. There are many factors that contributed to the downfall of the Southern way of life and culture but several are at the forefront. Three things that Civil War historians suggest led to this is the lack of economic diversity, racial division, and lack of innovation.
One important factor that contributed to the plantation economy to die out was the lack of economic diversity in the South. The South limited the resources that were produced in the Southern states to a monoculture agriculture. Cotton was the one product that they focused on producing. According to Charles S. Aiken, author of The Cotton Plantation South Since the Civil War, “during the twentieth century the plantation system in the American South took two divergent directions. One route led to mechanization and modernization, the other to decline and the demise of plantation agriculture” (63). Due to the fact that the agriculture business died out after the Civil War and a majority of the labor force becoming free, the plantation owners did not have a way to support their lifestyles. These white, high society families certainly would not want to start working in their own fields to support themselves. The slaves were no longer forced to work the cotton plantations so the south could not recover, not only from the blow that this gave to the economy but also effects of the war, which tore the South apart.
Another element that historians considered is the racial division between the slaves and later former slaves and the tensions they had with their white owners and former owners. According to historian David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion, “virtually everyone confronted its meaning in one way or another, whether they were traveling journalists, famous writers, defeated Southern planters, freed people trying to adjust to new labor arrangements, soldiers commemorating their experiences, or politicians in Congress debating Reconstruction policy. The struggle ensued not only over whose understanding of the Civil War would determine the character of Reconstruction, but also over whose definition of regeneration would prevail in the emerging political culture of the postwar era” (32). Because of the tensions built up in the South before and during the war, people did not know how to address the problems that they now faced. The white southerners did not want to admit defeat on an issue that they believed to be just. The formers slaves, now having been set free under the Emancipation Proclamation, were legally treated now as citizens of the United States. This fact alone caused racial and power tension between the high societal white families and the lower class black families.
The last important factor that contributed to the souths downfall was the lack of innovation, prior to and during the Civil War. Many historians feel that this is a major turning point in the effect that slavery had on the Southern economy. According to Richard Beringer, Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and William N. Still Jr., authors of the novel Why the South Lost the Civil War, “in the antebellum era and throughout most of the war, the desire to preserve slavery exemplified this constant concern. And slavery turned out to have a far-reaching effect on the strategy of the Civil War, for it made unlikely a Confederate resort to its most promising means of resistance, “general insurrection” (437). The South had put so much of their resources into the institution of slavery and the cotton industry that they had nothing to fall back on after they had lost the war. Due to the fact that the South was in a way stuck in the past, and was not modernizing their industries like the North, they were behind in the technology. They could not support themselves when slavery was no longer a way for the South to have an income. Not only did their way of supporting themselves for the last 200 years die out but they could not pick themselves up from the devastation that the war had caused them. The South was doomed once it was clear that they did not have the capability of winning the war, even though they had the most to lose in that situation.
Civil War historians find that the lack of economic diversity, racial division, and lack of innovation were three of the biggest components contributing to the South’s economic downfall. Through these three points it becomes clear that slavery had a very negative effect on the Southern states. After the Civil War, Southerners had a very hard time rebounding from this devastating event. It would take years for the South to recover from this blow and they would never again have as good of an economy as they did prior to the Civil War.
One of the problems that led to economic downturn for the South after the war was the lack of innovation. The South was so torn apart from the war and because slaves were leaving the plantations to find sustainable jobs, the plantations were dying out. Now that the slaves were free they could be their own person but they had perhaps the most difficult challenge to face ahead of them, they must survive in a world where white plantation owners resent them even more. Former slaves may have worked side by side with a former master and in a way were almost equal to the white man. The former slaves now had the job of sharecropping on farmers all across the South. No matter where they fled to in the South there was still reminisce of what the war had done to the land and economy. It was a problem for both the former slave and former master to co-exist post Civil War.
While the culture and life changed drastically after the emancipation of the slaves the white Southerns could not adapt to the new life that they faced. Whites throughout the South did not think that they would lose the war and slavery would continue to thrive and expand around the country. According to Richard F. Selcaer, author of Civil War America, 1850 to 1875, “at the end the Confederacy had nothing to show for four years of war but destruction and bitterness. Livestock, crops, industrial plants, and the transportation system were all in shambles. The South lost twice in terms of the human cost: once for the casualties that took away so many of its menfolk and again after the war when thousands fled abroad rather than live under Yankee rule” (247). The white Southern plantation owners could not and would not accept defeat after the war, therefore could not begin to rebuild their beloved southern way of life. They would rather move away from everything they knew than to be ruled by the Northern troops that took over the area right after the war was declared over. Due to the fact that they could not let go of the past and adapt to the “new south” this hurt the already destroyed economy.
Former slaves no longer had to work the plantations and hoped to be able to make a life for themselves by the end of the war. They fled the plantations to find new jobs around the south. White plantation owners needed to be able to sustain their way of life some way but many were not able to do so causing the plantation culture and institution to die out and wreak havoc on the economy. Their lack of innovation throughout the war did not help them prepare for after the war and therefore afterwards had nothing to fall back on. The slavery institution provided sustainability before the Civil War but because the Southern economy was based solely on the production of slavery it became unstable. According to Larry J. Griffin and Don Harrison Doyle authors of The South as an American Problem, “abolitionists also dismissed racial arguments that excused slavery as a “necessary evil,” a view premised on the belief that letting Africans live free within a white society was unthinkable, either because it would threaten whites or because it would harm freed blacks. The sin of slavery in their view could not be excused because of its origins or the consequences of its abolition” (104). The South was so concerned about not letting slavery die out and to sustain their power that they allowed the economy to become weaker and weaker. The innovation was lacking a great deal in the South after the end of the American Civil War.
Another problem that plagued the South was the racial division caused by slavery. Through the tensions on the plantations between slaves and slave owners it kept a divide between races in the deep South. According to Digital History, The Old South: Images and Realities, “large slaveholders were extremely rare. In 1860 only 11,000 Southerners, three-quarters of one percent of the white population owned more than 50 slaves; a mere 2,358 owned as many as 100 slaves. However, although large slaveholders were few in number, they owned most of the South’s slaves. Over half of all slaves lived on plantations with 20 or more slaves and a quarter lived on plantations with more than 50 slaves (1). Even though large plantations were rare slavery was not. The slaveholders treated slaves as though they were not humans and were instead work horses. The slaves would be up from sun-up till sun-down in the fields around the plantation. Whites throughout the South used the power that they thought was their God given right being born of the superior race.
Due to the white Southerner’s obsession with keeping blacks out of society and keeping their social power by controlling the lives of blacks even more. According to David W. Blight author of Race and Reunion, “Dennett’s conversation with the planter exhibited both the flickerings [Sic] of reunion as well as how much that owed to white Southern desires to control the lives of Southern blacks. In Richmond hotel parlors, Dennett encountered a steady stream of white Southerners obsessed with the relationship of race to reunion. Virtually all acknowledged their ‘subjugation‘ by war, but warned the Yankee observer that they would never submit to ‘Negro suffrage‘ put over them” (37). The South was so insistent on keeping their power in society that they were hurting the whole South as a whole. They did not want to educate the lower classes that they put everyone behind and they could not catch up with the rest of the country. White Southerners tried everything to elevate their status in society while keeping the poor slaves down and not contributing to society and the economy. According to Digital History: The Old South: Images and Realities, “…as a result, Southerners lagged far behind Northerners in their support for public education. Illiteracy was widespread. In 1850, 20 percent of all southern white adults could not read or write, while the illiteracy rate in New England was less than half of 1 percent” (3). In trying to stifle the blacks in the South the whites were hurting themselves and the way they could contribute to their economy.
The white Southerners had very strong views on the institution of slavery and how the rest of the country should have reacted to it. In the following newspaper article dating back to 1858, Senator J.H. Hammond of South Carolina is giving a speech on the Southern view and opinion on the institution of slavery. Those that came and were listening to J.H. Hammond talk were in favor of slavery and in favor of it continuing so they could make a living. In his speech, J.H. Hammond was a big proponent of keeping slavery but also expanding it to the new territories that the U.S had claimed in recent years. It is describing southern mind set and culture of the early to mid 1800s. Given the time frame that this speech took place and was published gives a good indicator of how many would feel about this issue. It was given almost two years to the day before the first state succeeded from the Union. It is very ironic that this speech was furnished in South Carolina because they were the first state to succeed from the Union on December 20, 1860, which lead 10 other southern states to succeed the following year. Furthermore, although he does say that the slave trade can not be reopened the South can not abolish slavery, for the ramifications would be too great. He states that slavery as a practice is too ingrained into society and it would be very hard for the South to recover its economy and support itself. By having this mindset the South was creating an environment where neither whites nor blacks could thrive and produce a well made living for themselves and also the country as a whole.
The final problem that was caused by the institution of slavery was the lack of economic diversity through single crop agriculture. Due to the fact that the South lacked economic diversity they had a economic deprived culture. According to James Ron author of Paradigm in Distress?, “primary commodities may not effect civil war onset in the way we originally thought, but they do have important direct and indirect effects on states, rebels, and economies, and these remain worthy of serious attention” (448). Due to the fact that natural resources were not used properly in the South they did not have the advantage that the North did. The North had many resources as they had factories and other forms of equipment. The South neglected to build factories and such before the civil war so they had nothing to fall back on during and after the war.
Due to the fact that the South only had one source of economic income, they got behind after the war and could not recover after surrendering to the North. The economy became very backwards in the South after slavery was abolished and reconstruction started. According to Moses Abramovitz author of Resource and Output Trends in the United States since 1870, “the proportion of gainful workers in agriculture fell from 71 per cent in 1820 to 64 per cent in 1850. It fell another 10 percentage points by 1870. It was set back by the Civil War…” (6). By the time the Civil War ended the Southern economy was in shambles as was the rest of the economy in America. They had one product that they produced and had nothing to fall back on and had nothing to pull themselves out of their economic downturn. Even if their way of life was not hit by the effects of the war and slavery had just ended they would not have been able to combat this challenge. They did not safeguard and try to come up with another stimulus to regenerate life after the defeat.
One of the only resources that was produced throughout the South was cotton. Cotton was the Souths mainstay and product that they were very proud of producing. Before the Civil War the South produced 60 percent of the cotton that was used around the world. According to Charles S. Aiken author of The Cotton Plantation South Since the Civil War, “the great plantations of some states have been almost entirely eliminated, as in the black counties of Mississippi. One of the most dramatic and far-reaching developments of the post emancipation era was the decline of the plantation system of agriculture and its replacement by tenant farming. The reorganization of the antebellum plantation into smaller tenancies, each operated by a single family, was both swift and thorough. We know that by 1880 the plantation system had ceased to exist” (9). The South produced only one agricultural crop and it was destroyed when the land was devastated by the destruction that the Civil War produced. Cotton was the backbone of the economic stability of the South prior to the Civil War and once slavery was abolished that crutch was taken away. Due to this the balance and security that the plantations felt was no longer supported.
The institution of slavery had a negative effect on the Southern plantation economy prior to the Civil War. This is perceived through the lack of innovation, racial division and the lack of economic diversity through single crop agriculture. If the South had created a system that allowed them to be more prosperous they could have had a strong and stable economy after the Civil War. They created a legacy that was squashed when a very important piece was not allowed to continue for the good of the nation. Due to the stubbornness of one side of a very turbulent society the South remains today to be one of the poorest areas in the country.
Abramovitz, Moses. Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870. NBER, 1956. http://www.nber.org/chapters/c5650
Aiken, Charles S. The Cotton Plantation South since the Civil War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1998. Print.

Beringer, Richard E., Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and Still N. Jr. William. Why the South Lost the Civil War. Athens: U of Georgia, 1986. Print

Blight, David W. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2001. Print.

Boritt, G. S., and David W. Blight. Why the Civil War Came. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.

Digital history. The Old South: Images and Realities. University of Houston press. 2014.

Foner, Eric. The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.

“THE SLAVERY QUESTION.” New York Times (1857-1922) Nov 06 1858: 2. ProQuest. 24 Sep. 2014 .
Ron, James. Paradigm in Distress? McGill University press. 2005. Print.

Selcer, Richard F. Civil War America, 1850 to 1875. New York: Facts On File, 2006. Print.

Project Map

Thesis: Slavery had a negative effect on the Southern Plantation economy, prior to the American Civil War. This is perceived through the lack of innovation, racial division, and the lack of economic diversity through single crop agriculture.

X= Racial Division
Y= Lack of economic diversity/single crop agriculture
Z= Lack of Innovation

X1= Tensions on plantations between slaves and slave owners.
X2= White Southerners kept blacks from educating themselves to keep their social power.
X3= White Southern views on the institution of slavery. (Primary Source)

Y1= Economic deprived culture in Southern states.
Y2= Cotton being the one crop the South produced, did not have anything to fall back on after the war.
Y3= Due to not having a strong economy they can not pick themselves up after the war and fall behind economic advancements.

Z1= The war torn economy and slaves leaving plantations to find proper jobs.
Z2= White slave owners try to hold on to the “old south”. They are stuck in the past and can not look forward.
Z3= Blacks do not have to work on plantations anymore, therefore they need new jobs. White plantation owners need to sustain their way of life. What do they do now? They do not have the man power to keep the planation going, therefore they must find a different income.

I. Introduction: Prior to the Civil War the South was a very turbulent area in the United States. The Southern white plantation owners thought that they were growing the Southern economy through the institution of slavery, but in reality they were damaging it almost to obliteration. The institution of slavery had a negative effect on the Southern plantation economy prior to the Civil war. This is perceived through the lack of innovation, racial division, and the lack of economic diversity through single crop agriculture.

Historical Context

Historiography

Body
Racial Division
Through the tensions on the plantations between slaves and slave owners it kept a divide between races in the deep South.
Evidence: How people lived on an everyday basis in the Southern culture. Statistics are given as to how many slaves were owned at the time and how much land was worked.

Digital history. The Old South: Images and Realities. University of Houston press. 2014.

Due to the white southerners obsession with keeping blacks out of society and keeping their social power they wanted to stifle their education.
Evidence: The racial issues that blacks had to deal with everyday while facing slavery. Accounts of what was going on and how they were treated by whites in society.

Blight, David W. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2001. Print.

The white southerns had very strong views on the institution of slavery and how the rest of the country should have reacted to it.
Evidence: A speech that the governor of South Carolina gave on Southerners views about slavery and the Southern way of life.

“THE SLAVERY QUESTION.” New York Times (1857-1922) Nov 06 1858: 2. ProQuest. 24 Sept. 2014.

Lack of economic diversity/single crop agriculture
Due to the fact that the South lacked economic diversity they had an economic deprived culture.
Evidence: Information is given on natural resources used throughout the Civil War. It also insight into the economic status of the South prior to the Civil War.

Ron, James. Paradigm in Distress? McGill University press. 2005. Print.

One of the only resources that was produced throughout the South was cotton.
Evidence: Information about the trade of cotton and how it effected the economy short and long term throughout the South.

Aiken, Charles S. The Cotton Plantation South since the Civil War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1998. Print.

Due to the fact that the South only had one source of economic income, they got behind after the war and could not recover after surrendering to the North.
Evidence: Information is given about how backwards the economy was just after slavery was abolished and reconstruction started.

Abramovitz, Moses. Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870. NBER, 1956. http://www.nber.org/chapters/c5650

Lack of Innovation

The South was so torn apart from the war and because slaves were leaving the plantations to find sustainable jobs, the plantations were dying out.
Evidence: This gives great insight into why the South lost the Civil War. It gives insight into how life was after the Civil War. The struggles that both blacks and whites faced trying to get their lives back together.

Beringer, Richard E., Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and Still N. Jr. William. Why the South Lost the Civil War. Athens: U of Georgia, 1986. Print

While the culture and life changed drastically after the emancipation of the slaves the white Southerners could not adapt to the new life that they faced.
Evidence: Insight is given about how divided the South was among the people who lived there. It also talks about damaging it was to the Southern regain and the rest of the country.

Boritt, G. S., and David W. Blight. Why the Civil War Came. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.

Former slaves no longer had to work the plantations and hoped to be able to make a life for themselves.
Evidence: This gives insight into the racial division that plagued the South even more after the end of the war.

Selcer, Richard F. Civil War America, 1850 to 1875. New York: Facts On File, 2006. Print.

Conclusion

Historiography

Historians look at many different types of history throughout their research process. They investigate a variety of variables when studying a certain time period in history. One such topic would be the negative effect that slavery had on the Southern Plantation economy prior to the American Civil War. There are many factors that contributed to the downfall of the Southern way of life and culture but several are at the forefront. Three things that Civil War historians suggest led to this is the lack of economic diversity, racial division, and lack of innovation.
One important factor that contributed to the plantation economy to die out was the lack of economic diversity in the South. The South limited the resources that were produced in the Southern states to a monoculture agriculture. Cotton was the one product that they focused on producing. According to Charles S. Aiken, author of The Cotton Plantation South Since the Civil War, “during the twentieth century the plantation system in the American South took two divergent directions. One route led to mechanization and modernization, the other to decline and the demise of plantation agriculture” (63). Due to the fact that the agriculture business died out after the Civil War and a majority of the labor force becoming free, the plantation owners did not have a way to support their lifestyles. These white, high society families certainly would not want to start working in their own fields to support themselves. The slaves were no longer forced to work the cotton plantations so the south could not recover, not only from the blow that this gave to the economy but also effects of the war, which tore the South apart.
Another element that historians considered is the racial division between the slaves and later former slaves and the tensions they had with their white owners and former owners. According to historian David W. Blight, author of Race and Reunion, “virtually everyone confronted its meaning in one way or another, whether they were traveling journalists, famous writers, defeated Southern planters, freed people trying to adjust to new labor arrangements, soldiers commemorating their experiences, or politicians in Congress debating Reconstruction policy. The struggle ensued not only over whose understanding of the Civil War would determine the character of Reconstruction, but also over whose definition of regeneration would prevail in the emerging political culture of the postwar era” (32). Because of the tensions built up in the South before and during the war, people did not know how to address the problems that they now faced. The white southerners did not want to admit defeat on an issue that they believed to be just. The formers slaves, now having been set free under the Emancipation Proclamation, were legally treated now as citizens of the United States. This fact alone caused racial and power tension between the high societal white families and the lower class black families.
The last important factor that contributed to the souths downfall was the lack of innovation, prior to and during the Civil War. Many historians feel that this is a major turning point in the effect that slavery had on the Southern economy. According to Richard Beringer, Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and William N. Still Jr., authors of the novel Why the South Lost the Civil War, “in the antebellum era and throughout most of the war, the desire to preserve slavery exemplified this constant concern. And slavery turned out to have a far-reaching effect on the strategy of the Civil War, for it made unlikely a Confederate resort to its most promising means of resistance, “general insurrection” (437). The South had put so much of their resources into the institution of slavery and the cotton industry that they had nothing to fall back on after they had lost the war. Due to the fact that the South was in a way stuck in the past, and was not modernizing their industries like the North, they were behind in the technology. They could not support themselves when slavery was no longer a way for the South to have an income. Not only did their way of supporting themselves for the last 200 years die out but they could not pick themselves up from the devastation that the war had caused them. The South was doomed once it was clear that they did not have the capability of winning the war, even though they had the most to lose in that situation.
Civil War historians find that the lack of economic diversity, racial division, and lack of innovation were three of the biggest components contributing to the South’s economic downfall. Through these three points it becomes clear that slavery had a very negative effect on the Southern states. After the Civil War Southerners had a very hard time rebounding from this devastating event. It would take years for the South to recover from this blow and they would never again have as good of an economy as they did prior to the Civil War.

Aiken, Charles S. The Cotton Plantation South since the Civil War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1998. Print.

Beringer, Richard E., Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and Still N. Jr. William. Why the South Lost the Civil War. Athens: U of Georgia, 1986. Print

Blight, David W. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2001. Print.

Primary Source # 2

Historians use a great number of resources when searching through research. One great piece of research to use is a primary document. Primary documents can give thoughtful insight into a specific event or it can provide a different view of an event that happened in the past. Although a primary resource can be very helpful, one must take the following into account, who the author is and what is their view on the incident. Their view of the account can be biased and not give an all around honest opinion of the event. In the following newspaper article dating back to 1858, Senator J.H. Hammond of South Carolina is giving a speech on the Southern view and opinion regarding the institution of slavery.
This document is a newspaper article that was printed on November 6, 1858 in which a speech that Senator J.H. Hammond gave on October 29, 1858 in Barnwell, South Carolina. He was speaking to his fellow white male plantation owners. The town of Barnwell is in rural southwest South Carolina where there were many plantations and slavery was a way of life. Those that came and were listening to J.H. Hammond talk supported slavery and in favor of it continuing so they could make a living. Since J.H. Hammond was a prominent figure and advocate in the community of slavery, his opinion on it was very biased. He states at one point in his speech that he is relieved that the people of the state are in charge, and the only way to change that is if the government did not hold up the constitution and that would lead to another revolution. He spent much his time in the Senate campaigning to keep slavery and what he thought was the ideal Southern nation and way of life. In his speech J.H. Hammond was a big proponent of keeping slavery but also expanding it to the new territories that the U.S had claimed in recent years. Since his audience was of a similar background as Hammond, they were the article, and the speech comes off as bias and raciest although it would not have been thought of in that way given the time.
This document was written to tell the rest of the country, mainly the North, how the Southern states felt about slavery and the racial division that they had created through the plantations. It takes the form of a newspaper article that printed the speech given by Senator Hammond. Not only would those in the South that had not attended the Senator’s speech see it in newspaper form but also those that lived above the Mason-Dixon line. In this form more people would have read it and the message would have reached people with very different views on the political issue at hand. The content of the article and speech were biased towards what the South thought to be the right way of life. The white southern plantation owners saw nothing wrong with what they were doing. This source fits best as a source for qualitative analysis. It is describing a southern mind set and culture of the early to mid 1800s. Given the period when this speech took place and the article was published, the article gives a good indicator of how many would feel about this issue. The speech was given almost two years to the day before the first state succeeded from the Union. It is very ironic that this speech was presented in South Carolina because they were the first state to succeed from the Union on December 20, 1860, which lead 10 other southern states to succeed the following year.
J.H. Hammond is the author, and white southern plantation owners who are for the majority are the intended audience. They and their actions are causing the tensions that lead to the start of the Civil War. His speech was a strong catalyst that sparked the idea that the Southern states should succeed from the Union. Since the documentation is the speech itself J.H. Hammond was in the position to have knowledge of the event since he was the one giving the speech. The newspaper took the transcript of the speech and printed it in the paper. It is most likely that the newspaper reported the speech correctly since it was the written text from the actual speech. Although the newspaper reported what was given to them, J.H. Hammond could have twisted his words to get more people to listen and agree with his cause. He has no reason to avoid telling the truth but he does have cause to embellish the situation. His cause would be helped if he could pull those who were on the fence about the institution of slavery over to the pro slavery side. Furthermore, although he does say that the slave trade cannot be reopened, the South cannot abolish slavery for the ramifications would be too great. He states that slavery as a practice is too ingrained into society and it would be very hard for the South to recover its economy and support itself. Throughout his speech he twisted his words to approve of keeping slavery as an institution for the consequences would be detrimental.
Over all, this document is very useful in research for how the South viewed and demonstrated slavery before the Civil War. It gives good insight into why the white southerners wanted to keep African Americans under their rule and what would happen if the institution were to crumble. Since this source is coming from white males that are in a position of power other sources that would be helpful are those that give the other side of slavery. Documents that gave detail into the African American perspective, or the perspective of a white Northerner who deemed the going on in the South to be despicable, were not included. Another good source would be the reaction to J.H. Hammond’s speech throughout the country but especially the South where these issues were the most prevalent.

Primary Source

Historians use a great number of resources when searching through research. One great piece of research to use is a primary document. Primary documents can give thoughtful insight into a specific event or it can provide a different view of an event that happened in the past. Although a primary resource can be very helpful, one must take the following into account, who the author is and what is their view on the incident. Their view of the account can be biased and not give an all around honest opinion of the event. In the following newspaper article dating back to 1858, Senator J.H. Hammond of South Carolina is giving a speech on the Southern view and opinion regarding the institution of slavery.
This document is a newspaper article that was printed on November 6, 1858 in which a speech that Senator J.H. Hammond gave on October 29, 1858 in Barnwell, South Carolina. He was speaking to his fellow white male plantation owners. The town of Barnwell is in rural southwest South Carolina where there were many plantations and slavery was a way of life. Those that came and were listening to J.H. Hammond talk supported slavery and in favor of it continuing so they could make a living. Since J.H. Hammond was a prominent figure and advocate in the community of slavery, his opinion on it was very biased. He states at one point in his speech that he is relieved that the people of the state are in charge, and the only way to change that is if the government did not hold up the constitution and that would lead to another revolution. He spent much his time in the Senate campaigning to keep slavery and what he thought was the ideal Southern nation and way of life. In his speech J.H. Hammond was a big proponent of keeping slavery but also expanding it to the new territories that the U.S had claimed in recent years. Since his audience was of a similar background as Hammond, they were the article, and the speech comes off as bias and raciest although it would not have been thought of in that way given the time.
This document was written to tell the rest of the country, mainly the North, how the Southern states felt about slavery and the racial division that they had created through the plantations. It takes the form of a newspaper article that printed the speech given by Senator Hammond. Not only would those in the South that had not attended the Senator’s speech see it in newspaper form but also those that lived above the Mason-Dixon line. In this form more people would have read it and the message would have reached people with very different views on the political issue at hand. The content of the article and speech were biased towards what the South thought to be the right way of life. The white southern plantation owners saw nothing wrong with what they were doing. This source fits best as a source for qualitative analysis. It is describing a southern mind set and culture of the early to mid 1800s. Given the period when this speech took place and the article was published, the article gives a good indicator of how many would feel about this issue. The speech was given almost two years to the day before the first state succeeded from the Union. It is very ironic that this speech was presented in South Carolina because they were the first state to succeed from the Union on December 20, 1860, which lead 10 other southern states to succeed the following year.
J.H. Hammond is the author, and white southern plantation owners who are for the majority are the intended audience. They and their actions are causing the tensions that lead to the start of the Civil War. His speech was a strong catalyst that sparked the idea that the Southern states should succeed from the Union. Since the documentation is the speech itself J.H. Hammond was in the position to have knowledge of the event since he was the one giving the speech. The newspaper took the transcript of the speech and printed it in the paper. It is most likely that the newspaper reported the speech correctly since it was the written text from the actual speech. Although the newspaper reported what was given to them, J.H. Hammond could have twisted his words to get more people to listen and agree with his cause. He has no reason to avoid telling the truth but he does have cause to embellish the situation. His cause would be helped if he could pull those who were on the fence about the institution of slavery over to the pro slavery side. Furthermore, although he does say that the slave trade cannot be reopened, the South cannot abolish slavery for the ramifications would be too great. He states that slavery as a practice is too ingrained into society and it would be very hard for the South to recover its economy and support itself. Throughout his speech he twisted his words to approve of keeping slavery as an institution for the consequences would be detrimental.
Over all, this document is very useful in research for how the South viewed and demonstrated slavery before the Civil War. It gives good insight into why the white southerners wanted to keep African Americans under their rule and what would happen if the institution were to crumble. Since this source is coming from white males that are in a position of power other sources that would be helpful are those that give the other side of slavery. Documents that gave detail into the African American perspective, or the perspective of a white Northerner who deemed the going on in the South to be despicable, were not included. Another good source would be the reaction to J.H. Hammond’s speech throughout the country but especially the South where these issues were the most prevalent.

“The Slavery Question: Speech of Senator J.H. Hammond. of South Carolina, at Barnwell, S.C., The South Still to Rely upon the North for Justice and Slavey. Important Statement of Southern Views and Opinions.” New York Times, November 6, 1858. Accessed September 24, 2014. libproxy.uww.edu:4064/myresearch/documents?accountid=14791.

Annotated Bibliography

Thesis Question: What negative role did slavery have on the economic life prior to the Civil War?

Thesis Statement: Slavery had a negative effect on the Southern plantation economy prior to the Civil War.  This is represented through the lack of invention, racial division, and lack of economic diversity through the production of monoculture agriculture.

 

Abramovitz, Moses.  Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870.  NBER, 1956.  http://www.nber.org/chapters/c5650

This source has information about how our economy has grown and thrived since the Civil War.  It also gives statistics of how backwards the economy was just after slavery was abolished and reconstruction started.

 

Aiken, Charles S. The Cotton Plantation South since the Civil War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1998. Print.

This source gives good information about the trade of cotton and how it effected the economy short term and long term.

 

Beringer, Richard E., Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and Still N. Jr. William. Why the South Lost the Civil War. Athens: U of Georgia, 1986. Print

This source gives great information as to why the South lost the Civil War.  It also gives chronological order and accounts to the wars progress.

 

Blight, David W. Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2001. Print.

This book gives good insight into life and racial issues that blacks faced during slavery.

 

Boritt, G. S., and David W. Blight. Why the Civil War Came. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.

This book gives ideas as to why the Civil War started and how the South was divided among its people.  It also has information on how damaging this was to the rest of the country.

 

Digital history.  The Old South: Images and Realities.  University of Houston press.  2014.

This gives good information into the people who lived prior and during the Civil War.  It gives good information into the everyday Southerners live.  It gives statistics of how many slaves were owned by the plantation owners and how much land they had to work.

 

Foner, Eric. The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.

This book has great information on what Abraham Lincoln’s take on slavery was.  It also gives the effects of his decision and how others took it.

 

Hunter, Tera W. To ‘joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors after the Civil War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1997. Print.

This is a great book that has primary sources in it talking about women’s lives after the civil war.  The women struggle with going from slave hands to now being free but work as domestic help for their former masters.

 

“THE SLAVERY QUESTION.” New York Times (1857-1922) Nov 06 1858: 2. ProQuest. 24 Sep. 2014 .

This is a newspaper article from 1858 that gives information on a speech that the governor of South Carolina was giving on what the South thought of Slavery has an institution in the Southern way of life.

 

Ron, James.  Paradigm in Distress?  McGill University press.  2005.  Print.

This source has information on natural resources used during the Civil War. It gives good insight into the economic status of the south prior to the Civil War.

 

Selcer, Richard F. Civil War America, 1850 to 1875. New York: Facts On File, 2006. Print.

This source is good for showing what the race division was like prior to the Civil War.  It also gives information about slavery as an institution.

What is History

History is often thought of as nothing more than fact and events that happened long ago.  Many people believe that they have to spend their time memorizing dates and know where certain battles in wars took place, but history is so much more than that.  As a society we try to interpret the past based on historical evidence and knowledge.  A question that is asked by historians is what is history?  History is focused and derived through economic, cultural, and social events and ideas through change over time.

One insightful offshoot of history is through economic history.  According to Michael J. Galgano, author of Doing History: Research and Writing in the Digital Age, “historians eager to understand the conditions that shaped past lives often look to economic history.  This approach not only provides information about past economic trends and conditions, but borrow methodology from economists offering a higher threshold of certainty in the claims one could make about the past” (Galgano, 14).  Historians want to become aware of economic circumstances that shaped not only the culture but also views that society had during a certain period.  This type of history lets someone gain knowledge of how an everyday citizen would have lived their lives, or wished to have lived.  It also clears up ways that may have contributed to global economic history and views.

Another branch that examines what the idea of history is social history.  This history examines the everyday hardworking people of society.  According to Galgano, “although initially written as a narrative to describe the everyday lives of people, in the last 40 years social historians have sought to understand history from the bottom up as well as trying to understand the demography, social structures, and mentalites within a society” (Galgano, 14).  Many groups are often written into history because of social history.  The everyday people and minority groups are the majority of the population in society, therefore writing the events and changes needed for fellowship to survive.  There are those that use social history such as politics to their advantage.  They try to manipulate and sway ideas toward their own agendas.  Social history helps explain the common man and the struggles that they may have had to face while they lived.

The last type of history that provides an idea what history is, is cultural history.  Galgano states that “cultural history, as practiced by followers of the Annales school and more recently by proponents of postmodernism, has emerged as an important approach to understanding the past.  The interpretation of cultural artifacts carefully placed within a historical context has offered profound new insights into the historical past” (Galgano, 14).  One of the most important aspects of history are the artifacts themselves.  The artifcacts give historians such an insight into what events shaped the time.  Not only as a people but also as a country what was taking place of significance, and what was radically changing the norms of everyday society.  Documents give a first hand account of some of the pressing issues going on or something as simple as what was going on in someone’s life.

Through three very different but equally important types of history, economic, social and cultural, historians are able to determine what history is.  History is an ever changing story of events, people and countries through the ages.  Historians are always finding new evidence and drawing new conclusions about how the human race has evolved and adapted throughout time.  People need to know what history was on both a basic and deeper level or we as a civilization are doomed to repeat not only the worthy but also the disastrous affairs.

Arndt, J. Chris, Galgano, J. Michael, Hyser, M. Raymond. 2013.  Doing History.