Economic causes of the Civil War

Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,770
Location
Denver, CO
#1
Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/cooper.htm

This is a quote from Lincoln's 1860 Cooper Union speech. He clearly states that his party opposes the extension of slavery into the territories.
Since Kansas was very far progressed in admission with an anti-slavery constitution, there was 19-15 ratio of free states to slave states.
If Abraham Lincoln was elected as President, 15 was going to be the maximum number of slave states.
If slaves could not be utilized in the territories, the slave economy was not going to expand, and the demand for slaves was going to depend on economic conditions in the south's agricultural economy. The value of slaves was most likely going to go down.
Lincoln was elected and 7 of the slave states seceded before he was sworn in as President.
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,770
Location
Denver, CO
#2
The other very large economic interest involved was the very likely construction of the transcontinental railroad based on the model of the Illinois Central Railroad.

In the 1830s, Illinois began a program of internal improvements to open its prairie to agriculture and settlement. It was a failure, but in 1851 the state chartered the Illinois Central Railroad (IC) and selected a consortium of Eastern capitalists to construct and own the railroad. Federal land grants of nearly 2,600,000 acres provided the economic incentive; the initial investment of $27 million came largely from British and Dutch interests.

The IC completed its “Charter Lines” (705 miles in Illinois) in September 1856. The “Chicago Branch” (from Centralia to Chicago) opened a year earlier, giving that city its most important link to the South. The trunk of the railroad extended from the Mississippi River at Cairo northwest to the Mississippi opposite Dubuque, Iowa. The company founded dozens of new towns in Illinois and made “colonization work” (attracting settlers from Europe and other parts of the United States) part of its corporate strategy.

http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/627.html

The fact that this model of government subsidized railroads was strongly supported by northern Democrats and the newly formed Republican Party put the southern states at a huge disadvantage.

Richard Cobden, the British liberal politician was one of the major investors in the Illinois Central Railroad, and that fact should not be controversial.

The Central Route
In early 1861, Theodore Judah, a rail construction engineer and Daniel Strong, a local miner, surveyed what became the western portion of the route. They proposed a rail line in the Sierra Nevada mountains through Clipper Gap, Emigrant Gap, and Donner Pass, then south to Truckee.

Collis Huntington was inspired by a Theodore Judah lecture on the possibilities of a railroad. Huntington found four partners who initially invested $1,500 each. The partners included Leland Stanford, a grocer, the future governor of California, and founder of what became Stanford University. These investors became known as the Big Four and their venture was called the Central Pacific Railroad.

The fabled Pony Express, which provided mail service from the East to California, only operated in 1860 and 1861. In that short time the riders learned that the central route was usable despite the winter snows. With the weather worries cleared away and Texas joining the Confederacy, the central route, always the more favorable economically, became the chosen route.

The House of Representatives voted for the line on May 6, 1862, and the Senate on June 20. Lincoln signed it into law on July 1. Two companies were hired -- the Central Pacific would build from the west and the Union Pacific from the east.

Besides land grants along the right-of-way, each railroad was paid $16,000 per mile ($9,940/km) that was built over an easy grade, $32,000 per mile ($19,880/km) in the high plains, and $48,000 per mile ($29,830/km) in the mountains. These terms encouraged the companies to construct many extra miles of track, direct the line toward property they owned, and in many other ways exploit the poorly written law to their benefit.

http://tcrr.com/

The United States spent a large amount of money to build this railroad. People who invested in property in Omaha and Council Bluffs, made money on the real estate. The country arguable overspent on the railroad due to the corrupt way Congress funded the construction cost, with no auditing procedure in place. However, the economic growth created by the railroad, and the demonstration of continental political power, which reverberated throughout the world, probably made the cost of the railroad barely relevant.

With the election of Abraham Lincoln, it was clear that the central route was going to be the route chosen for the transcontinental railroad. The southern states had lost this political issue.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,770
Location
Denver, CO
#3
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/march-2-1861-the-morrill-tariff-signed-into-law.22450/

See this thread for a discussion of tariffs. Morrill's tariff bill and the fact that Pennsylvania was solidly Republican in the 1860 election is also a demonstration that the coal:iron/steel industries of Pennsylvania and the rest of the Great Lakes region were a pivotal part of the Republican alliance. It was demonstrated over and over again in the next 30 years.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
28,934
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
#4
The Economic Cause of the Civil War.

Four BILLION dollars in 1860s currency in slaves.

Worth more than all the railroads, all the factories, all the gold in circulation, all the banks, all the shipping, in the entire United States at that time.

Anyone remember how much the cotton exports were worth in 1860? Throw that amount in too.

Follow the money and it will lead you to the most valuable economic reason for the war.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,770
Location
Denver, CO
#5
If slavery declines and is eliminated, then agricultural labor in the southern states has to be paid, or managed.
If the value of labor goes up, the value of other agricultural inputs goes down. The share of black share croppers goes up, the rent paid to the land owner goes down.
If the trans-Atlantic slave trade to Cuba and Brazil, and illegal smuggling of slaves into the United States, is eliminated, slavery begins to decline in Cuba and Brazil. If a Republican government begins to co-operate with Britain to suppress the slave trade, the 52 year movement to eliminate slavery continues.
 



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top