Restricted Labor, Race, and Technology in the Confederate Iron Industry

Stratagemo

Corporal
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
@USS ALASKA Thanks very much for the book recommendation, that looks immensely interesting!

I also heartily recommend this book, while it's not specific to the iron industry it's a very interesting look at the development (or lack thereof) of Southern manufacturing as a whole:
  • A Deplorable Scarcity: The Failure of Industrialization in the Slave Economy; by Fred Bateman and Thomas Weiss

Cheers!
 

Stratagemo

Corporal
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Which one in particular, sir? I think I post up about 8 different ones... :smile:
499

Cheers,
USS ALASKA

Sorry, I mean Arming the Confederacy particularly. Looks very good!

I’ve read or was at least familiar with most of the others suggested, which are brilliant books.

Thanks again!
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
The Antebellum U.S. Iron Industry: Domestic Production and Foreign Competition
by Joseph H. Davis
The Vanguard Group & NBER
Douglas A. Irwin
Dartmouth College & NBER
This Draft: 19 June 2007

Abstract: This paper presents new estimates of annual U.S. production of pig iron dating back to 1827. These estimates are used to assess the vulnerability of the antebellum iron industry to foreign competition and the role of the tariff in fostering the industry’s early development. Domestic pig iron production is found to be highly sensitive to changes in import prices. Although import price fluctuations had a much greater impact on U.S. production than changes in import duties, the tariff permitted domestic output to be about one-third to one-half larger than it would have been without protection.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/74de/aadb6af19965d91eaa4188b44d0c6a79cd4b.pdf
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Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

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wbull1

First Sergeant
Official Vendor
Joined
Jul 26, 2018
And if you were an enslaved person making weapons to oppose forces that aimed to keep you in bondage while the opposing force, at a minimum, might emancipate you, would you put forth your absolute best effort?
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
And if you were an enslaved person making weapons to oppose forces that aimed to keep you in bondage while the opposing force, at a minimum, might emancipate you, would you put forth your absolute best effort?

I believe another country ran into that issue in about the 1944-45 time frame...
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Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Disciplining Slave Ironworkers in the Antebellum South: Coercion, Conciliation, and Accommodation
by CHARLES B. DEW

WHEN JOHN C. CALHOUN learned in 1845 that his son-in-law, Thomas Clemson, was planning to break up his plantation and rent out his slave force, Calhoun promptly reminded him of the probable human consequences of such a move. The hirer of the slaves would have no incentive to "take good care of them," Calhoun warned. "The object of him who hires, is generally to make the most he can out of them, without regard to their comfort or health," he continued, and Calhoun was so convinced of the evils of slave hiring that he offered to buy the slaves himself if Clemson could not find other decent masters who would purchase them.' Several historians of American slavery who have commented recently on slave hiring, and particularly on the hiring of slaves for industrial purposes, share Calhoun's bleak assessment of this phase of the South's peculiar institution. "The overwork of hired slaves by employers with only a temporary interest in their welfare was as notorious as the harsh practices of overseers," notes Kenneth M. Stampp. "Slaves hired to mine owners or railroad contractors were fortunate if they were not driven to the point where their health was impaired." In the view of Stampp and a number of other scholars, slave hiring and industrial slavery were among the most brutal and exploitive aspects of the American slave system; these historians tend to see hiring out and industrial employment, like slave trading, as areas where the business aspects of the institution were most highly developed and where the humanity of the slaves was most likely to be ignored.

http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/slavery/AHR-1974.pdf
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Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

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Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
I suggest "Ironbound" by Charles Dew. The model there was a core of enslaved, highly skilled workers, with some hired enslaved workers. The owners only used white workers, who they considered poorly disciplined as a last resort.
The real limitation to the ironmasters in the book were: exhausting iron ore supplies in the region. That they were producing hammered iron as they had been for decades, and unlike Tredagar, a modern rolling mill.

Coincidentally, I am reading this book right now. It's actually titled Bond of Iron: Master and Slave at Buffalo Forge and is for the truly dedicated reader only. The detail is incredible and can become tedious at times. But I am not finished reading yet, and am reserving judgement until have read through to the end.
 

USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
As a Union counter-point...

Geography, Timing, and Technology: A GIS-Based Analysis of Pennsylvania’s Iron Industry, 1825–1875
by ANNE KELLY KNOWLES AND RICHARD G. HEALEY

This article examines key questions about the development of Pennsylvania’s mid-nineteenth-century iron industry. The analysis is based on new data and exhaustive examination of previously underutilized sources within the framework of a geographic information system (GIS). Hypotheses are tested on the timing of adoption of mineral-fuel technologies across the state; the temporal relationships between investment in ironworks, business cycles, and tariff policy; the substitutability of different types and qualities of iron; how transport costs affected iron prices; and the geographical segmentation of iron markets in the antebellum period. The findings reveal complex and dynamic patterns of regional economic development.

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/52395557.pdf
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Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

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USS ALASKA

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 16, 2016
Industrial Intersection: Slavery and Industry in Late Antebellum Virginia
by David Hamilton Golland

B.A., City University of New York, 2000
A Thesis Presented to the Graduate Faculty of the University of Virginia in Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Arts

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
August, 2002

“Of all the parties engaged or interested in its transportation and manufacture, the South is the only one that does not make a profit. Nor does she, as a general thing, make a profit by producing it.” “We have reference only to those who are not too perverse, or ignorant, to perceive naked truths—that free labor is far more profitable than slave labor.” So wrote Hinton Rowan Helper in 1857, thus proving himself not only the most vociferous of the southerners who demanded slavery’s eradication, but also one outspoken in his contention that slave-driven industry was inefficient and unprofitable because it employed slaves.

The Border States were, by their very geographical position, caught between two competing visions of America, two competing ways of life. But they were a middle ground not only in the fact of political geography, separating the free North from the deep South, but also in their outlook on the various methods of achieving economic prosperity. Virginia was a crucial border state in this regard, again not simply because it strode the geographical middle ground between the north of Ohio and Pennsylvania and the South of North Carolina and Tennessee, but because it was both the visionary of a rich industrial future and the champion of a modern anomaly, the peculiar institution. The present study does not presuppose that the facts as they pertain to Virginia would hold true elsewhere in the Border States, but it does pose questions which scholars focusing on those other states may find prudent to investigate.

There is also a larger, more hypothetical, question at play here, one with ominous portent. And that question pertains to the incompatibility of industrialization (and therefore modernization) with American slavery. The present study has postulated that American slavery may indeed have been compatible with industrialization. Sadly, slavery in Virginia was proving to be a very adaptable institution.

http://davidgolland.com/Golland/Publications/industrial_intersection.pdf
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Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

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mobile_96

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ill.
In 1847 Tredegar’s white workers struck in protest of Anderson’s requirement that they labor beside and train slaves; Anderson fired the strikers, increasing the number of slaves at Tredegar from 41 to 117 in a year. But profits plummeted from nearly $58,000 in 1846 to $9,000 in 1848, returning to earlier levels only when Anderson could attract more skilled white laborers. From 1850 to 1860, as the number of white workers tripled from 250 to 750, the number of slaves declined by 20 percent, from 100 to 80.
1st: From Starobin's Industrial Slavery in the Old South Anderson had hired white workers, in a 5 year contract, specifically to train slaves to work as puddlers and I would suppose, other areas in the factory. The contracts ended in 1847. The regulars workers in the puddling (area) then went on strike. And got them selves fired.
2nd: Anyway, I'm have a bit of confusion on some numbers. Starobin claims that within 3 years of employing the slaves he was using about 100 slaves alongside150 white workers. By 1861 Tredegar employed 900 workers, half of them slaves, to transact 1 million dollars worth of business. Starobin also said that Tredegar averaged annually better than 20% returns from 1844 to 1861. His source for the profits was from Tredegar Stockholders' Minutebook, reports for 1838-1848 and Tredegar Corporate Holdings, 1866, pg 7-9 (VSL)
I haven't had time yet to read the studies posted in this thread, but am wondering...how can I figure out which set of numbers is more accurate. They somewhere in between?? Seems odd that they are so far apart.
Inquiring minds want to know.
Am finding the study of southern industry, both before the war, and during it very interesting.
 
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