Confederate Populist Backlash

OldReliable1862

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Location
Georgia
It's a somewhat prevalent opinion that, had the Confederacy survived, it would have turned into a banana republic, dominated by the planters.

While I mostly agree that it would have become a banana republic of some sort, could have actually been anti-planter? Although it may be delayed, Confederate industry will continue to develop, and will make the necessary connections in the political realm. By the 1890s-1900s, I expect you could have a coalition of railroad men, industrialists, and poor white farmers. Resentment of planters could become quite heavy as they supposedly deny poor whites factory jobs. In this case, I expect you could see Confederate emancipation come about not as a humanitarian venture, but to deny planters their use.
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
It's a somewhat prevalent opinion that, had the Confederacy survived, it would have turned into a banana republic, dominated by the planters.

It would also have industrialized.

1. At the start of the Civil War the Confederacy had more railroad mileage than any country except the USA.

2. Absence of protective tariffs would have boosted the South's export economy. It also would have resulted in internationally competitive industrialization since Confederate manufacturers could not be subsidized or sheltered by protective tariffs. War ravaged railroads could rebuild at lower cost w/o tariffs. In 1866, for example, Yankee railroad iron was $80 a ton as compared to $32 in Great Britain.

3. In 1915 a Federal Trade Commission study revealed that Birmingham's steel manufacturing costs were the lowest in the country and 26% below those in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, U.S. Steel had earlier purchased the southern mills and penalized them with artificial costs.

First, all shipments from Birmingham had to pay freight from that city plus a phantom charge as if shipped from Pittsburgh. Second, Birmingham steel had an artificial mark-up, termed the Birmingham Differential, of $3 a ton which was raised to $5 a ton in 1920. It was simply an added cost that the buyer had to pay when buying steel from the Southern mills as opposed to Northern ones. When it ended in 1939, Mobile and Pascagoula announced major shipbuilding expansions.

4. There was significant Southern industrialization during the war that the Yankees destroyed. The Augusta powder works was the second largest such facility in the World. It might have eclipsed DuPont which later became America's biggest company.

5. A Texas city could have become North America's beef-packing center instead of Chicago.

6. Texas would have become the petroleum center. Her oil companies would not be owned by Northerners. For decades, Texas would be the world's low cost producer of oil just as the rest of the South was with cotton. There would have been no Standard Oil monopoly. Texas companies would have expanded the industry internationally.

7. The South would have rebuilt its own banking capabilities instead of being shut out by restrictive national bank regulations that favored the North.

8. In sum, the South could have developed an independent industrial economy instead of being exploited as an internal colony of the states north of the Ohio and Potomac rivers. Coupled with future mechanization in the cotton fields, such industrialization would likely have rendered slavery impractical, causing it to end. Southern slaveowners, however, would not have been able to profit by selling their slaves down the river as the Northerners did when they decided to abandon slavery in their own states.
 
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RobertP

Major
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Location
Dallas
6. Similarly, Texas would have become the center of the petroleum industry. Her oil companies would not be owned by Northerners. For decades, Texas would be the worlds low cost producer of oil and there would have been no Standard Oil monopoly. Texas companies would have expanded the industry internationally.

Absolutely. The discovery of the massive East Texas oil field in 1930 was a difference maker in WW2 when the Big Inch pipeline connected it to Philadelphia area refineries, ending the threat of U-boats to petroleum shipping.
 

RobertP

Major
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Location
Dallas
It's a somewhat prevalent opinion that, had the Confederacy survived, it would have turned into a banana republic, dominated by the planters.

While I mostly agree that it would have become a banana republic of some sort, could have actually been anti-planter? Although it may be delayed, Confederate industry will continue to develop, and will make the necessary connections in the political realm. By the 1890s-1900s, I expect you could have a coalition of railroad men, industrialists, and poor white farmers. Resentment of planters could become quite heavy as they supposedly deny poor whites factory jobs. In this case, I expect you could see Confederate emancipation come about not as a humanitarian venture, but to deny planters their use.
I contend that the post-war North basically turned the South into its own dependent banana republic for 75 years or so.
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
6. Similarly, Texas would have become the center of the petroleum industry. Her oil companies would not be owned by Northerners. For decades, Texas would be the worlds low cost producer of oil and there would have been no Standard Oil monopoly. Texas companies would have expanded the industry internationally.

Absolutely. The discovery of the massive East Texas oil field in 1930 was a difference maker in WW2 when the Big Inch pipeline connected it to Philadelphia area refineries, ending the threat of U-boats to petroleum shipping.
And Spindletop was in 1901.
 
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jackt62

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
The prevailing wisdom seems to be that slavery would have eventually become extinct under an independent Confederacy. That might have occurred at some future date, but since chattel slavery was such an integral part of Confederate identity, and was the reason that southern states seceded to begin with, I tend to be of the opinion that slavery in the south would have lasted at least into the 20th century, by which time the south might have expanded its economic base, developed greater ties with the United States, and found it harder to resist the world wide trend towards emancipation.
 

BillO

Captain
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Location
Quinton, VA.
The prevailing wisdom seems to be that slavery would have eventually become extinct under an independent Confederacy. That might have occurred at some future date, but since chattel slavery was such an integral part of Confederate identity, and was the reason that southern states seceded to begin with, I tend to be of the opinion that slavery in the south would have lasted at least into the 20th century, by which time the south might have expanded its economic base, developed greater ties with the United States, and found it harder to resist the world wide trend towards emancipation.
I suspect mechanization and the Boll Weevil would have killed it a little earlier than that. In my fantasy world the south would have gone the way of the Swiss but with the addition of a large professional navy, a small professional army backed by massive militia.
 

steve59p

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
It's a somewhat prevalent opinion that, had the Confederacy survived, it would have turned into a banana republic, dominated by the planters.

While I mostly agree that it would have become a banana republic of some sort, could have actually been anti-planter? Although it may be delayed, Confederate industry will continue to develop, and will make the necessary connections in the political realm. By the 1890s-1900s, I expect you could have a coalition of railroad men, industrialists, and poor white farmers. Resentment of planters could become quite heavy as they supposedly deny poor whites factory jobs. In this case, I expect you could see Confederate emancipation come about not as a humanitarian venture, but to deny planters their use.

OldReliable1862

I think especially if there was a long war before independence was won then its likely there would be a strong challenge to the planter elite's political if not their economic power. After all it was the ordinary whites that did the vast bulk of the fighting and dying and generally after long and bloody wars there are pressures for social and political change.

This could be doubled further if as suggested in some threads the planters had tried expanding slavery, by seeking to seize territory, normally part of Mexico or Cuba being suggested. As this is likely to be unsuccessful as Britain and quite possibly the north would oppose it this could cause a political crisis if it didn't occur after the war. Hence you could see a fairly popular movement to remove at least the political power of the planters and probably moves to reduce their economic power.

The problem is I think this is probably unlikely to lead to major pressure for the ending of slavery in the south. The planters want slavery to continue because their wealth and power depends on it. However I suspect the bulk of the ordinary whites wouldn't want a lot of freed blacks around because of both racism and also the economic threat they would be seen to be. Hence you could see slavery in some form being maintained to prevent blacks having any economic let alone political power. If there was a way of sending the blacks somewhere else it might be different but I doubt that would be possible. A "return to Africa" would be very expensive and I don't think there's anywhere in N Anerica or the Caribbean that would welcome them, at least in any large numbers.

Steve
 

RobertP

Major
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Location
Dallas
OldReliable1862

I think especially if there was a long war before independence was won then its likely there would be a strong challenge to the planter elite's political if not their economic power. After all it was the ordinary whites that did the vast bulk of the fighting and dying and generally after long and bloody wars there are pressures for social and political change.

This could be doubled further if as suggested in some threads the planters had tried expanding slavery, by seeking to seize territory, normally part of Mexico or Cuba being suggested. As this is likely to be unsuccessful as Britain and quite possibly the north would oppose it this could cause a political crisis if it didn't occur after the war. Hence you could see a fairly popular movement to remove at least the political power of the planters and probably moves to reduce their economic power.

The problem is I think this is probably unlikely to lead to major pressure for the ending of slavery in the south. The planters want slavery to continue because their wealth and power depends on it. However I suspect the bulk of the ordinary whites wouldn't want a lot of freed blacks around because of both racism and also the economic threat they would be seen to be. Hence you could see slavery in some form being maintained to prevent blacks having any economic let alone political power. If there was a way of sending the blacks somewhere else it might be different but I doubt that would be possible. A "return to Africa" would be very expensive and I don't think there's anywhere in N Anerica or the Caribbean that would welcome them, at least in any large numbers.

Steve
Why wouldn’t the US have welcomed them?
 

Desert Kid

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Arizona
It's a somewhat prevalent opinion that, had the Confederacy survived, it would have turned into a banana republic, dominated by the planters.

While I mostly agree that it would have become a banana republic of some sort, could have actually been anti-planter? Although it may be delayed, Confederate industry will continue to develop, and will make the necessary connections in the political realm. By the 1890s-1900s, I expect you could have a coalition of railroad men, industrialists, and poor white farmers. Resentment of planters could become quite heavy as they supposedly deny poor whites factory jobs. In this case, I expect you could see Confederate emancipation come about not as a humanitarian venture, but to deny planters their use.

Yes!

My moment has arrived to talk about this. After independence, the white, blue-collar, lower class, Jacksonian Confederate citizen is going to demand a bigger piece of the pie.

First and foremost, you have to look to the 1890s to see the first real rumbles of it. Confederate politics is going to be dominated by the old money, war hero class like Breckinridge, Longstreet and Hampton for the first few decades after independence. The first populist POTCS, a strong contender for it, would be Benjamin "Pitchfork" Tillman of South Carolina and James K. Vardaman of Mississippi. Both of them were avowed white supremacists. But neither of them came from aristocratic backgrounds. In fact, Tillman was instrumental in creating land-grant colleges in South Carolina, Winthrop University being his baby. As well the candidate of the populist Farmer's Alliance. Vardaman heavily appealed to the common man in Mississippi. Tillman may very well be the guy who enables Confederate versions of Texas A&M, Auburn and Mississippi State University to exist for working class whites.

Some areas of the Confederacy, like Eastern Tennessee, Northern Louisiana, North Georgia, South Alabama, rural Texas and the North Carolina piedmont were very heavily active political hotbeds for Southern "cracker" populism. So in my mind, a further empowered Huey Long and/or George Wallace analogue is inevitable in the CSA. But you may not see that until the 1950s or so.
 

Desert Kid

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Arizona
At the time during the war you also had Zebulon Vance who is bound to create a populistic, centrist third party out of North Carolina.

Thomas Watson was also born before the war in Georgia, so a Farmer's Alliance of sorts can still happen.
 

OldReliable1862

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Location
Georgia
At the time during the war you also had Zebulon Vance who is bound to create a populistic, centrist third party out of North Carolina.

Thomas Watson was also born before the war in Georgia, so a Farmer's Alliance of sorts can still happen.
Don't forget the arch-Populist himself, Leonidas L. Polk.

As reformers go, a newspaperman like Henry W. Grady is a great asset. I keep seeing him as almost a Confederate William Randolph Hearst.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
It would also have industrialized.

1. At the start of the Civil War the Confederacy had more railroad mileage than any country except the USA.

2. Absence of protective tariffs would have boosted the South's export economy. It also would have resulted in internationally competitive industrialization since Confederate manufacturers could not be subsidized or sheltered by protective tariffs. War ravaged railroads could rebuild at lower cost w/o tariffs. In 1866, for example, Yankee railroad iron was $80 a ton as compared to $32 in Great Britain.

3. In 1915 a Federal Trade Commission study revealed that Birmingham's steel manufacturing costs were the lowest in the country and 26% below those in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, U.S. Steel had earlier purchased the southern mills and penalized them with artificial costs.

First, all shipments from Birmingham had to pay freight from that city plus a phantom charge as if shipped from Pittsburgh. Second, Birmingham steel had an artificial mark-up, termed the Birmingham Differential, of $3 a ton which was raised to $5 a ton in 1920. It was simply an added cost that the buyer had to pay when buying steel from the Southern mills as opposed to Northern ones. When it ended in 1939, Mobile and Pascagoula announced major shipbuilding expansions.

4. There was significant Southern industrialization during the war that the Yankees destroyed. The Augusta powder works was the second largest such facility in the World. It might have eclipsed DuPont which later became America's biggest company.

5. A Texas city could have become North America's beef-packing center instead of Chicago.

6. Texas would have become the petroleum center. Her oil companies would not be owned by Northerners. For decades, Texas would be the world's low cost producer of oil just as the rest of the South was with cotton. There would have been no Standard Oil monopoly. Texas companies would have expanded the industry internationally.

7. The South would have rebuilt its own banking capabilities instead of being shut out by restrictive national bank regulations that favored the North.

8. In sum, the South could have developed an independent industrial economy instead of being exploited as an internal colony of the states north of the Ohio and Potomac rivers. Coupled with future mechanization in the cotton fields, such industrialization would likely have rendered slavery impractical, causing it to end. Southern slaveowners, however, would not have been able to profit by selling their slaves down the river as the Northerners did when they decided to abandon slavery in their own states.
It's very unlikely that the Confederacy would have industrialized any faster than the South did in real life. There was resistance before the war to industrialization (See De Bows Review from 1846 until the war), and after the war the South recovered to its unimpressive pre-war industrial level quickly.

But the Southern culture never embraced industrialization, which is why it stagnated until the New Deal bailed it out.
 

RobertP

Major
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Location
Dallas
It's very unlikely that the Confederacy would have industrialized any faster than the South did in real life. There was resistance before the war to industrialization (See De Bows Review from 1846 until the war), and after the war the South recovered to its unimpressive pre-war industrial level quickly.

But the Southern culture never embraced industrialization, which is why it stagnated until the New Deal bailed it out.
You’re an expert on Southern culture?
 
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