Restricted Economic Historians: the South was a prosperous agricultural region

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The cotton growers were doing great. But the rest of south mainly went up and down with the rest of the US economy, selling sugar, tobacco and pork.
Which made a war solution extremely hazardous. After about 18 months it became clear to many people in the 8 border states that their stake in the war was very thin.
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
The value of a lot of assets exist on paper. The value of homes exists on paper. The value of stock exists on paper. It's not until, for example, that an asset is sold can we know the real or realized value of an asset. (Of course, the realized value which can also be affected by things occurring at the time of the negotiated transaction that can make the realized value different from the actual value ~ for example, someone who is desperate for cash from a home sale might do a "fire sale" and take less money for the home than it's actually worth.)

The fact that the value of assets fluctuates with supply and demand does not mean that their value as wealth is "nominal." It just means that the actual value of the wealth is subject to change.

If people are selling slaves and getting something for them, or using slaves as collateral, then this is proof that the value of chattel was not merely nominal. And I do understand that slaves were being sold and used as collateral when the Civil War began.

It is absolutely true that economic conditions can wipe out the value of an asset. Was the value of chattel property "wiped out" when the war began, such that their value was nominal? I haven't seen such evidence. In the secession declaration of the state of Georgia, the value of slave property was put at $3 billion, in their dollars. (See the section the declaration which says "by their declared principles and policy they have outlawed $3,000,000,000 of our property in the common territories of the Union".)

Was that valuation correct? I've seen different numbers in different places, but $2-4 billion seems to be the range of aggregate value for slave property, as put forward by people of the era. And the behavior of the secessionists was based on their perceived value of chattel property. Now, perception might not match reality, but people act on what they believe. So their perception of the value of chattel is key to know, even if those valuations were technically faulty, or even, totally baseless.

- Alan

You didn't read my post exactly. I said slaves made plantation owners wealth. But the value of it all was exaggerated in a big manner. Did you read where I said that "outside" the south the slave value was nominal?

To be very specific again, the slave values inside the south was the polar opposite of the slave's value outside the south. It doesn't matter what the secessionists believed what the value of the slave was, outside the south that value did not hold its value, not even close.

It is not the supply of something that produces value, it is the demand for the supply that makes said supply worth something. To whom was buying the slave outside the south? There was no demand for slaves outside the south, which means outside the south the slaves would have been a White Elephant investment. Nobody was going to buy slaves at their 1860 value? Why didn't the government buy emancipation? The actual emancipation revealed the slave value diminished once it was dislodged from picking cotton.

They had their problems internally also, slaves held their value on how much cotton they picked and then how much cotton was exported, period. The blockade Lincoln implemented of southern ports is indicative that the aforementioned statements are dead on. They couldn't export cotton to save their economy, the southern economy crashed within months. If slaves held their real value or if there was any real value they could have used that collateral to buffet that economic storm. But they didn't hold their value, once cotton couldn't couldn't be exported the value of it dropped, and the value of the slave dropped right along with with it. I can prove anytime, anywhere to anyone that the southern economy collapsed with six months of the CW, and the so-called slave's real value didn't save it.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The census methods of 1860 were insufficient to measure the wealth of the northern states. They could not measure the production of the building trades, and the output of men and women that ran small businesses under the $500/yr reporting limit.
The other distortion was that the census takers had physical limits in getting to the remote but fast growing areas of the west, from Texas all the way north to Wisconsin.
Historians and economists should have checked whether Lincoln was correct. Did more men vote in 1864 than in 1860, despite the war casualties?
Its only by the 1870, when the census was much better, that the full complexity and rapid progress of the northern cities became apparent.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Except the cotton boom took place mainly in the 7 cotton states, with extensions into Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Moreover the census data did not survey the indebtedness. Thus we only know the gross values.
The facts were that the only four major cities of the 15 slave states were all connected to the northern economy. Those cities were Baltimore, Louisville, St. Louis and New Orleans. Even New Orleans was beginning to experience the shift towards west to east railroading in the northern states. Wheat, pork, lumber, wool and coal, no longer had to go down river and by ship to New York. There was by 1860 a third alternative, that was weather resistant.

New Orleans was looking West as to the Southern Route of the TRR. New Orleans, Charleston and other Southern Ports wanted what NYC and Chicago had. Both SC and LA were tied to the Plantation Economy. But Charleston and New Orleans had different objectives, Commerce.

There was no Grand Union in 1860. The Civil War made the Union. It wasn’t just about the North and South. CA was a prize. Whoever got there first with the TRR had a huge advantage. Mid West was tied to the East. South wanted Empire and Expansion. Other objectives along with Slavery. Many Confederates along with Davis thought a War would end Slavery whether they won or not. They chose War regardless.

South wanted something other than AG. Thought the best way to do that was to be separated from the North. After what happened during Reconstruction. I fully understand why they Seceded. Bless them for it.
 
Last edited:

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
You didn't read my post exactly. I said slaves made plantation owners wealth. But the value of it all was exaggerated in a big manner. Did you read where I said that "outside" the south the slave value was nominal?

OK, so, I have a house in the USA, in the Washington DC metro area. The USA has just 4% of the world population. And the DC area is a small portion of that.

Outside the USA, there is no interest in my house. I know that people in Peru and Italy and Nigeria and North Korea are not in the market for a house in the DC metro part of the US.

But here's the thing: the fact that 96%+ of the world population has no interest in my house... is irrelevant to me. It doesn't matter. The fact that people outside the USA/DC metro area will not be looking to buy my house is irrelevant to the tax assessor who sets the value of my house for my property tax bill. The assessor merely looks at the prices of recent home sales in the area, perhaps with some kind of adjustments, determines a value for my house, and then sends me a property tax bill.

The point is that, the fact that a market is geographically or demographically small, that doesn't mean there is no market. All markets are constrained by physical or other factors. But they exist nonetheless. Eppur si muove. The value of something is determined by the marketplace for it, simply put. My tax assessor does not say, there is not market for your house in Peru and Italy and Nigeria and North Korea, your house has nominal value to them. That's not what they care about. You should see my property tax bill...

The thing, we don't have to debate the value of slave property. Just as with the tax assessor, we can look at data concerning chattel property sales; or the uses of chattel for collateral; or other such things to get to the value. I get it, there are a lot of factors which affect the value of chattel, and it's correct to cite them. But we have data and tools by which we estimate the value of chattel within the market for it. I don't see how saying an asset has no value outside its given market ~ which is universally true of any good or service ~ is that useful in this discussion of properity... do you see what I mean?

- Alan
 
Last edited:

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The prosperity of the slave section of the US is overstated. There was a lucrative period, starting with the recovery from the 1837 crash lasting to the world textile expansion after the Crimean war.
But it happened quickly and drew capital and energy into cotton expansion before southern businessmen had much chance to do the other things that would have diversified their economy.
It was concentrated in the cotton belt, and the price of cotton on the English market was starting to put soften and put pressure on the smaller and more heavily leveraged producers.
The section of the country committed to the wealth of the cotton producers did not include Baltimore, Louisville and St. Louis. The pork farmers of Kentucky and Tennessee were tied to Cincinnati and Covington just as much as to Richmond, Charleston and Savannah.
New Orleans had a complex trade network of which cotton was only a component.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The census system was set up to measure population and agricultural wealth. Before 1820, that was all there was to measure. The rise of the railroads and the cities was so rapid, that the census was far behind in measuring the value of the building trades and small business.
Whole industries, like ice, and agricultural sectors such as eggs and poultry, were not even part of the census.
And the biases turned out to be important. Because men from the cities who had gone through the sequence of childhood diseases, and were mentally accustomed to factory discipline, were a key military asset for the United States. It also became clear, that no matter what the Confederates destroyed, the US could rebuild or replace it.
The war that was ruining the southern areas was only accelerating the growth of Chicago and the Midwest.
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
The prosperity of the slave section of the US is overstated. There was a lucrative period, starting with the recovery from the 1837 crash lasting to the world textile expansion after the Crimean war.
But it happened quickly and drew capital and energy into cotton expansion before southern businessmen had much chance to do the other things that would have diversified their economy.
It was concentrated in the cotton belt, and the price of cotton on the English market was starting to put soften and put pressure on the smaller and more heavily leveraged producers.
The section of the country committed to the wealth of the cotton producers did not include Baltimore, Louisville and St. Louis. The pork farmers of Kentucky and Tennessee were tied to Cincinnati and Covington just as much as to Richmond, Charleston and Savannah.
New Orleans had a complex trade network of which cotton was only a component.

Just a note. There are many subjective ways to define prosperity. One way is to look at the aggregate wealth of an area, compare it to others, and see if there is more wealth per capita in one place versus the other. There are many other ways to define it.

One critique of Southern wealth is that it was concentrated among a small number of people. According to the US Census, almost 40% of the states that became the CSA were enslaved people. That population was essentially destitute. Meanwhile, the wealthiest slave owners were among the wealthiest people in the United States.

Earlier in this thread I posted this from the book by Roger Ransom, The Confederate states of America: What Might Have Been:

…the enormous boom in cotton production had breathed new life into the slave system of the South. Far from dying out, slavery flourished in the years after 1790 as a never before. …In 1805 there were just over 1 million slaves whose collective value was worth about $300 million; 55 years later there were 4 million slaves worth close to $3 billion, an amount equal to roughly half the total value of all the farms in the slave south. On the eve of the Civil War nearly 4 out of 10 people in the 11th states that were to form the Confederacy were slaves, and they accounted for more than half the agricultural labor in those states.​

To see the extent to which this exploitation of labor produced enormous levels of wealth for slaveholders, one need only look at map 1.2 which shows the distribution of wealth per free adult reported for households in the 1860s census of population. All the counties in the United States reporting an average per capita wealth of $2000 dollars or more were in the slave areas of the South. The map clearly shows why Southerners in 1860 where willing to risk so much to protect the value of their slave assets.​
… by the end of the 1830s cotton accounted for almost two-thirds of all exports from the United States. The income from these cotton exports provided a huge stimulus to the economies of states along the Atlantic seaboard, a stimulus that soon spilled over into the old Northwest.​
Economic historians in the late 20th century have tended to view the South as a prosperous agricultural region spearheaded by the production of cotton and tobacco in the plantation regions.

It is key to note, if it hasn't already been noted, that these measures of per capita wealth or prosperity exclude the enslaved population from their computation. If that population was counted in these measures, then regional wealth or prosperity of the South would be lower, perhaps much lower. Comparisons of Northern and Southern prosperity are something of an apples to oranges thing, because a huge chunk of the Southern population is excluded from the equation.

- Alan
 
Last edited:

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Just a note. There are many subjective ways to define prosperity. One way is to look at the aggregate wealth of an area, compare it to others, and see if there is more wealth per capita in one place versus the other. There are many other ways to define it.

One critique of Southern wealth is that it was concentrated among a small number of people. According to the US Census, almost 40% of the states that became the CSA were enslaved people. That population was essentially destitute. Meanwhile, the wealthiest slave owners were among the wealthiest people in the United States.

Earlier in this thread I posted this from the book by Roger Ransom, The Confederate states of America: What Might Have Been:

…the enormous boom in cotton production had breathed new life into the slave system of the South. Far from dying out, slavery flourished in the years after 1790 as a never before. …In 1805 there were just over 1 million slaves whose collective value was worth about $300 million; 55 years later there were 4 million slaves worth close to $3 billion, an amount equal to roughly half the total value of all the farms in the slave south. On the eve of the Civil War nearly 4 out of 10 people in the 11th states that were to form the Confederacy were slaves, and they accounted for more than half the agricultural labor in those states.​

To see the extent to which this exploitation of labor produced enormous levels of wealth for slaveholders, one need only look at map 1.2 which shows the distribution of wealth per free adult reported for households in the 1860s census of population. All the counties in the United States reporting an average per capita wealth of $2000 dollars or more were in the slave areas of the South. The map clearly shows why Southerners in 1860 where willing to risk so much to protect the value of their slave assets.​
… by the end of the 1830s cotton accounted for almost two-thirds of all exports from the United States. The income from these cotton exports provided a huge stimulus to the economies of states along the Atlantic seaboard, a stimulus that soon spilled over into the old Northwest.​
Economic historians in the late 20th century have tended to view the South as a prosperous agricultural region spearheaded by the production of cotton and tobacco in the plantation regions.

It is key to note, if it hasn't already been noted, that these measures of per capita wealth or prosperity exclude the enslaved population from their computation. If that population was counted in these measures, then regional wealth or prosperity of the South would be lower, perhaps much lower. Comparisons of Northern and Southern prosperity are something of an apples to oranges thing, because a huge chunk of the Southern population is excluded from the equation.

- Alan
The fact was that the wealth was geographically concentrated. It also left out, as you note, the enslaved population. That was going to become a critical weakness, if a war solution was substituted for a political solution.
The wealth of the northern states was in its people, but there were no price tags attached to them. The wealth was farmers adjusting to changing markets. There were experienced factory hands male and female. But there were 10s of thousands of carpenters, plasters, masons and painters, whose output could not be measured with the 1860 methods.
And if a war solution is chosen, the things listed and estimated in the preliminary report of the 1860 census, turned out to be critical.
The steamship and steamboat building industry was located in the NE cities, along the Ohio River and in St. Louis.
Railroads could pump supplies into the mobilized armies at a rapid rates, making Civil War armies hard to destroy.
Despite the concentrated wealth of the cotton industry, the economy ran on corn and pork, then flour, sugar and salt.
Everything but sugar, that ran the economy, was in the northern and border states.
The census methods of 1860 had a difficult time measuring the fast growing urban economy. But it did depict the dynamic process at work in what was about to emerge as one of the major industrial countries in the world.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Post #107: “The Prosperity of the slave section of the US is overstated.”

Recon why it is overstated. Same period Rich Yankee Merchants are Dope Trading with China. Participating in the Coolie and Slave Trading. Charging Southern Planters Interest, Shipping Fees, facilitating Slavery in every way Possible. Factors move South and Loan the Planters money to grow the next seasons crop. Yankees spin Cotton. Built Cities based on Spinning Mills. Ship Cotton to Europe, 60% of the Countries Exports. Trade Cotton for Gold, which reduces the Countries Trade Deficit. Then Post War Invest these gains in building the Northern Route of the TRR. Murder Indians and give all the best lands to RR Speculators and Land Speculators. Yankee comes South during Reconstruction and pillages the South. Grant fills his pockets along with all the Rest. These Aristocrats make Southern Planters look like Hobos. Poor Immigrants are living in Squalor. Abolitionist Trip over a half dozen on the way o their Anti Southern Meeting. Post war the Immigrants get the same Labor Contract the X Slaves do. Labor reformers are Gunned Down. And nobody seems to care about the Rich Yankee. Quite Humorous. Yankee Aristocrats are as pure as the Driven Snow.
 
Last edited:

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
1596225757860.png

There was a substantial amount of private wealth owned by white people in the south by 1860. But despite that wealth, the four most populous states in the US were NY, PA, OH and IL. The four states of the coerced labor section of the country that ranked among the top 10 states were VA, KY, TN and MO. None of those four were unqualified supporters of secession. Thus Hammond could brag about the wealth of the 7 most southern cotton states. But the wealth was contradicted by the fact that a very large part of white population of the 15 slave states wasn't not sharing in that wealth. Many businessmen and farmers knew being connected to the US market was essential and slavery was only valuable.
 

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
View attachment 368011

There was a substantial amount of private wealth owned by white people in the south by 1860. But despite that wealth, the four most populous states in the US were NY, PA, OH and IL. The four states of the coerced labor section of the country that ranked among the top 10 states were VA, KY, TN and MO. None of those four were unqualified supporters of secession. Thus Hammond could brag about the wealth of the 7 most southern cotton states. But the wealth was contradicted by the fact that a very large part of white population of the 15 slave states wasn't not sharing in that wealth. Many businessmen and farmers knew being connected to the US market was essential and slavery was only valuable.

I think TN and VA Qualified! Vast majority of the Civil War Battles were Fought there.

KY and MO were treated like red headed step children by The Yankee. Treated the same as any other Southern State after it was All Said and Done. They must of been Less Yankee than Assumed.

NYC had a Draft/Race Riot. Flirted with Independence pre War. Copperhead movement’s in OH, IL and IN. Recruiting Dries up with the Native Yankee. Immigrants Death Insurance and Bounties stop working in 64 and before. Desertion rate 7K a month in 64. Ended up Forcing and Manipulating Blacks to fight. End of War you would think the Yankee would want to participate for the Ending Glory. 90 Days were too long when you march will Grant. Full Flung against Fixed Positions.

Maybe a few North of 36/30 weren’t Fully Qualified Yankees?
 

lurid

First Sergeant
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
OK, so, I have a house in the USA, in the Washington DC metro area. The USA has just 4% of the world population. And the DC area is a small portion of that.

Outside the USA, there is no interest in my house. I know that people in Peru and Italy and Nigeria and North Korea are not in the market for a house in the DC metro part of the US.

But here's the thing: the fact that 96%+ of the world population has no interest in my house... is irrelevant to me. It doesn't matter. The fact that people outside the USA/DC metro area will not be looking to buy my house is irrelevant to the tax assessor who sets the value of my house for my property tax bill. The assessor merely looks at the prices of recent home sales in the area, perhaps with some kind of adjustments, determines a value for my house, and then sends me a property tax bill.

The point is that, the fact that a market is geographically or demographically small, that doesn't mean there is no market. All markets are constrained by physical or other factors. But they exist nonetheless. Eppur si muove. The value of something is determined by the marketplace for it, simply put. My tax assessor does not say, there is not market for your house in Peru and Italy and Nigeria and North Korea, your house has nominal value to them. That's not what they care about. You should see my property tax bill...

The thing, we don't have to debate the value of slave property. Just as with the tax assessor, we can look at data concerning chattel property sales; or the uses of chattel for collateral; or other such things to get to the value. I get it, there are a lot of factors which affect the value of chattel, and it's correct to cite them. But we have data and tools by which we estimate the value of chattel within the market for it. I don't see how saying an asset has no value outside its given market ~ which is universally true of any good or service ~ is that useful in this discussion of properity... do you see what I mean?

- Alan

Your assertions in bold from your OP state a different attitude than a housing market analogy, which they totally contradict each other. First excerpt you posted: Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery - the greatest material interest of the world. How does this statement correlate with your "housing" analogy?" If we cobble together the above-mentioned excerpt in conjunction with your housing market analogy your house what have been on the international market, and it would have been one of the most sought after houses in the world. According to this logic, your D.C. house would have been equivalent to the $1 billion home Antlia in Mumbai, India. Therefore, how can you say that 96% of the world's population's disinterest in your house is irrelevant to you?

You went from posting an excerpt that stated that the institution of slavery was the greatest material interest in the world to posting this: The point is that, the fact that a market is geographically or demographically small, that doesn't mean there is no market. All markets are constrained by physical or other factors. But they exist nonetheless. Eppur si muove. The value of something is determined by the marketplace for it, simply put. My tax assessor does not say, there is not market for your house in Peru and Italy and Nigeria and North Korea, your house has nominal value to them. That's not what they care about. You should see my property tax bill... Now you are saying the size of the geographic and demographic sphere doesn't matter as long as there is a market for it. We know that, but this is not what you posted in your OP or any post afterward, and that's what I initially responded to.

Here is another excerpt from your OP: These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.

Posting an excerpt that states a blow to slavery is a blow to commerce and civilization is rather universal and comprehensive and seems to contradict your housing market analogy that was relegated to a small region in one country. A blow to slavery is a blow to commerce and civilization??? Did slave's produce the world's sustenance for survival? Are we to believe the end of slavery could have caused the end of civilization? The only problem is that case study was already conducted, and proves it was not true.

Here's what I concluded in post 85: In conclusion, there was no doubt that slaves/cotton accrued a lot of wealth for a few people, but how real was it? I think a lot that wealth was on paper, which means a lot of it was nominal wealth.

I never said there wasn't a market for slavery, I just said there wasn't a market for it outside the southeast, which tried to counter with a housing market analogy. My prior posts were responses to these excerpts that stated slavery was indispensable for civilizations survival. Or how slavery built the United States of America. Nonsense.

Here's another quote of mine to confirm my above mentioned authenticity from post#85: The bottom line, slaves were the south's center of gravity and it's a small wonder why the south went to war. In the seven states where most of the cotton was grown, almost one-half the population were slaves, and they accounted for 31 percent of white people’s income; for all 11 Confederate States, slaves represented 38 percent of the population and contributed 23 percent of whites’ income. The threat of ending of slavery was a potential catastrophic threat to the south's entire economic system. But ending slavery did not remotely end the United States of America's economy, not even close.

Stating the south's entire economic system depended on slavery is hardly saying there was no market for slavery. I said there was real wealth created from slavery, and I added the percentages of income blacks replaced for white people. That's real wealth. However, do you notice the last sentence of my above-mentioned excerpt how I said "ending slavery did not remotely end the United States of America's economy?" Actually, the Gilded Age comprehensive prosperity clearly shows that slavery was nothing but a drag on the U.S. economy.

Here's another excerpt you posted in this thread that clinches how erroneous this thread is: The thing, we don't have to debate the value of slave property. We don't? Do we just have to take your word for the value of a slave that you posted in post #6 of this thread?

Below is post #6:

Value of wealth of the United States per economic sector, 1860

Category /Estimated $ Value
Slaves: $3,000,000,000
Value of farms: 6,638,414,221
Value of farm implements: 246,125,064
Investment in manufacturing: 1,050,000,000
Investment in railroads: 1,166,422,729
Bank capital: 227,469,077
Home productions: 27,484,144
Value of livestock: 1,098,862,355

Total: 13,452,000,000

In post #58 I already explained in my terms the real value for slaves, so I'll refrain from reiterating. However, I can add to post #58: Slave's value increased with the increase of cotton production. The cotton crop in 1860 was higher than normal. The effect from this is mild, but it is enough to shave off a few decimal points to the initial estimates of growth for the southern states. Economic historian Gerald Gunderson also suggested that the census of 1840, which was used to estimate output in that year, was known to be one of the most poorly conducted in census history. This lead, in his opinion, to an inaccurate starting point that also contributes to overstating southern growth between 1840 and 1860.

Add in how economists use dollar signs to mimic utility. Add in slavery was tax on leisure time: If one is coerced into working more than he would have at the compensation offered, he will increase economic output. As that person would have derived more utility from leisure than from work at the offered compensation, the coercion changes output in a manner that divorces it from the change in utility (greater output, lower utility). The coercion of a greater labor supply creates a dead-weight loss. In other words, people would have gained more utility without the coercion. This dead-weight loss can be approximated and be given a monetary value that does speak to utility. I don't think the author factored in any of these economic variables into his total sum, which is very deceptive. Slaves were policed 24/7, which lowered their value. Perhaps autonomy could have held some their value.

Insert the fact that the slave-holder paid to support those who worked as well as those who were either too young, too old, or too infirm to work, the cost advantage of slave labor relative to free labor wasn’t that great. Planters knew that collectively they were into a seam of gold, but so long as they acted independently they were at the mercy of market prices. Production rose, land values increased, and slave prices remained elevated so long as the price of raw cotton was over 10 cents per pound. Planters went bankrupt when it sold for much less than 8 cents, as it did for much of the 1840s, which devalued the slave. Moreover, Roger Fogel's Without Consent or Contract pointed out that slave owners experimented with their work weeks. It settled in at about 58 hours per week, which meant slaves worked about 400 fewer hours per year than the average yeoman farmer on his own land, which lowered the value of a slave.

Therefore, how in the world did that author estimate the value of slaves at $3 billion? I think that's overestimation to say the least after factoring in everything. There's no way those above estimates are correct. Value of the slave "supposedly" ran parallel with cotton exports, and cotton exports accounted for 5% of the real GDP, at its zenith. However, the United States was already the second-largest economy in the world and was investing every year between 13 and 15 percent of GDP in new capital. The U.S. was investing 5-10 percent more of the GDP than entire cotton exports contributed to the GDP. According to the estimates you posted, $13.4 billion was the total value of wealth for the United States of America economic sector and slavery held $3 billion of that wealth, which equates to 10% of the total value. Nonsense.

The entire theme of this thread was not worked from the an econometric model premise but with the tools of a historian.
 

wilber6150

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Location
deep in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York
New Yorkers were good Boot Lickers. NYC was Charlestown North. The South was a big part of their economy.
Boot lickers? New York provided more men and money to the war effort then any other state. NYC alone provided almost 200,000 men to the Union and in the first three months raised almost 150 million dollars for the war effort
 

Borderruffian

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Location
Marshfield Missouri
The Planter Class was prosperous as were some merchants and brokers that played their wares and services to the Planter Class. Those below the Planter Class strove to be included in that class, like Bedford Forrest.
The increase in human chattel can be traced to births from those held as slaves, but by region can also come from debt to slave holders forcing them to sell off all or portions of their slaves. Kentucky and Missouri were markets for slave dealers like NBF to buy and then sell in the deep South, and Texas. If one believes the Wanderer did much in the way of importing illegal slaves that to could account for some increase.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The problem with slaves as a source of wealth was that that form of wealth was not recognized in New York, London, Paris or Frankfurt.
The second problem was that it was mobile, it wasn't real estate or a factory. Slaves were more like automobiles, and could be difficult to locate when the time came to repossess.
After March 2-3, 1859 it became obvious that making good on slaves as security meant auctioning human beings.
Slaves were not a merchant vessel, a revenue producing RR right of way, an iron factory, or recognized paper security. They had no value except if the economic system of the 7 cotton producing states was viable, economically and politically. Anything that created doubt about that viability decreased the value of slaves.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
A good deal of the wealth of the southern areas was based on New Orleans. The problem was that the best cotton areas had been rapidly developed leading up to 1860 and there was only so much territory with a long enough growing season to produce sugar. The easy things had been done, and expanding production after 1860 was going to take drainage and fertilizer.
But the railroad network of 1860 was already eating into the New Orleans trade network. The boom times and the ability to pay a premium for free labor and slave labor was not going to last.
 
Last edited:

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Another aspect of the slave/cotton combination was that in 1860 cotton cultivation in India & Egypt was starting an exponential expansion. Cotton prices were headed for a steep decline as more & more production came online.

The ultimate fate of the slave/cotton connection is told by a man I know whose family has owned several cotton plantations since the early 1800’s. On one of their places in Mississippi, they had 300 individuals drawing on the commissary. After they bought tractors & a three row cotton picker, thirty people drew from the commissary.
 
Top