The Cause of the American Civil War - The American Industrial Revolution


(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,442
Location
Denver, CO
#22
See table 1 on page 62, https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/14956/RickyDaleCalhoun2012.pdf?sequence=1
The price of cotton had fallen from 7.06 in 1857 to 5.66 in 1860, and the world markets were full of unsold textiles by 1860.
The booming factories of Manchester could only expand sales by driving the price of cotton down further, to about 3.
British textile producers wanted the production of cotton to be detached from the expansion of US slavery.
The industrial revolution in its first phase had produced the US cotton boom, and in its second phase, it was going to dismantle it.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,442
Location
Denver, CO
#23
While the Civil War did follow the first part of the industrial revolution, and hence a cause and affect relationship did exist, in fact most of the northern economy was agricultural at the time of the Civil War. Farm ownership, children and livestock were the primary features of economic security.
Sherman's final marches through Georgia and South Carolina had basic similarities to Caesar's marches through Gaul.
Grant relied eventually on a British strategic sense, and heavy cavalry.
 

matthew mckeon

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Messages
13,155
#24
The industrial revolution was the most transformative event of the modern era, with implications to every aspect of people's lives. However it isn't the cause of the Civil War.

The war wasn't between a traditional society and an industrial society. The antebellum South was not a traditional society, it was an expanding, striving and innovating society. The prewar period was marked to mass movements of people and capital, the introduction of new political norms and practices, and economic change. The North too was an expanding, striving and innovating society.
 

matthew mckeon

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Messages
13,155
#25
The industrial revolution was the most transformative event of the modern era, with implications to every aspect of people's lives. However it isn't the cause of the Civil War.

The war wasn't between a traditional society and an industrial society. The antebellum South was not a traditional society, it was an expanding, striving and innovating society. The prewar period was marked to mass movements of people and capital, the introduction of new political norms and practices, and economic change. The North too was an expanding, striving and innovating society.
But slavery was such a big fact: big economically, big socially, ideologically and psychologically, made it too rigid to be reformed. It could be used in different ways, but not changed in any significant way.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
6,620
Location
Southeast Missouri
#26
The American Industrial Revolution went on for many years well beyond the war, so while it might have had an impact on the war, it was just a player at that time. Maybe we need to discuss a small part of it before the war. They argument can be made that the revolution is still ongoing and not something which has a real end.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,442
Location
Denver, CO
#27
But slavery was such a big fact: big economically, big socially, ideologically and psychologically, made it too rigid to be reformed. It could be used in different ways, but not changed in any significant way.
Slavery had been working for the south. The cotton areas were not receiving much immigration from Europe or the United States.
Population growth of the enslaved population was not creating a labor surplus in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. The cotton economy was selling mainly to Britain and France. Therefore the cotton growers did not see how their economic interest lined up with the self sufficient economy of the rest of the US. Nor was the cotton south attractive to English or US investors. Thus they could not see in 1860 how the growth of the US would help them. It clearly would hurt their political power in the US.
The paid labor states, in contrast, were attractive to both foreign immigrants and foreign capital. And the growth rates in the paid labor states showed it.
The north had only a ocean between it and England. The south had an ocean and domestic slavery distinguishing it from England.
The north did have railroads, which was the first phase of the industrial revolution.
Both sections were still primarily agricultural. The total value of all farms was in the $6.6B range.
https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1860/agriculture/1860b-09.pdf?#
The slave economy was profiting on exports to the world textile industry. The exporters thought their future was not connected to the growth of the United States.
The non-cotton areas of the 15 slave states did not see the compelling attraction of secession.
It really wasn't industry v agriculture, it was a rapidly growing domestic economy, that was about to accelerate, against a colonial export structured economy that was seeing the price of cotton fall four years in a row.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,442
Location
Denver, CO
#28
If the cotton growers had been selling to New England mills, and American consumers, and their own workers had been part of a growing consumer economy, they would have had different incentives. But they did not know that the US population would double in 30 years.
 
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
14,525
Location
los angeles ca
#29
Florida State University Libraries
Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations The Graduate School
2015
Industrial Modernization and the American Civil War
by Corey Patrick Gray
For more information, please contact lib-ir@fsu.edu

The central question of this thesis is what caused the American Civil War. I have sought to show in this study that the American Industrial Revolution provides the explanation. After the Industrial Revolution took hold in America, the country's social, political, and military landscape changed. The nation was transformed from holding a generally uniform mindset to one separated along ideological lines. This investigation explores positive correlations between social, political, and military events of the period and the threads that connect them. The narrative of a consistently visible ideological clash between traditional and modern rationales is not meant to create a cause-and-effect relationship between industrialization modernization and the Civil War. Yet, in light of these correlations, the ideological conflict between traditionalism and modernization does help explain how and why the period was characterized by such profound change.

Modernization and traditionalism provide vehicles for understanding the transitions that occurred after the Industrial Revolution. The impact of industrialization touched all aspects of American life. This study reviews the effects in separate social, political, and military sections to show the depth and breadth of change that occurred in those days. Each section in this study gives examples that reflect a common thread of ideological friction and change. The adversarial relationship between modernity and tradition provides predictable patterns that can be confirmed or disconfirmed by the same group of events. The pattern has three general phases: cohesion, instability, and ultimately a fracture.

The social impact of industrialization began in cities. Before the Industrial Revolution in America, the social landscape was predominantly agrarian. Most Americans looked to agriculture to define the relationship with the world and to each other. It was a culture that relied on religion and proven habits of the past to understand the present and the unknown of the future. The technological advantages of industrialization changed the definition of nature for those working in and around factories. The creation of an alternative ideology, even in its infancy, produced social challenges and changes. Industrial population centers took on a new ideological rationale: modernization.

Modernization was based on an industrial nature which looked towards of the future with little regard for the past. Urban areas took the first steps toward social realignment by questioning and redefining traditional mores and norms. As rural traditionalists and modernizing urban areas began to clash, economics came to the fore. The newfound economic influence of northern cities, combined with their position on free wage labor, was a threat to those in the agricultural South.

Before the revolution, most Americans viewed politics as a necessary evil to accomplish large general tasks. Political parties emerged due to mounting economic tensions between agricultural and industrializing sections of America. The main economic question was how much support should be diverted from agriculture to industry. Agricultural traditionalists viewed the question as an affront to their economic livelihood and way of life. A secondary question that emerged was whether the nation should be a free wage labor society or a slave owning society. As political parties grew in importance, they began to splinter and realign along geographic lines. The realigned parties became densely packed geographic entities that struggled to compromise on social, economic, or
political issues. In the final stages before the outbreak of the war, earnest attempts to form compromises were unsuccessful. In the wake of the retreating political middle ground, the final attempts at compromise resulted in secession.


The military was an institution little affected by the turmoil sweeping through the country. The result was a military that began the war fighting in a traditional fashion despite the advances of industrialization. Traditional strategy and tactics gave way to necessity as the war dragged on. Social and political pressure from both sides forced field commanders to break from traditional tactics. They exploited the advances of modernization to achieve decisive victories to bring the war to a close.

By the end of the 1862, there was intense social and political pressure from both sides to bring the war to a close. In an effort to break the enemy's will and destroy his army, generals on both sides increasingly relied on industrialization to gain decisive military advantages. The initial result of incorporating industrialization into the war expanded the battlefield to include civilians who supported the effort. Incorporating industrialization dramatically increased the size and scope of battles in the war. From the beginning of 1864 to the end of the war, some generals were able to effectively employ the industrial modern
military rationale to exploit the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the industrial of warfare.


Two generals highlighted in this study are Ulysses S. Grand and William Tecumseh Sherman. They were central figures in the latter half of the war and their final campaigns reflect the war's transformation from traditional to modern. Their application of hard war was not a new military tactic; but why they employed it was novel. They ultimately rejected the traditional military rationale in favor of a modern one. Sherman in particular aligned his thinking with industrial modernization and was able to understand the inherent weaknesses of a military wedded to civilian industrialization. Sherman's successes in
destroying the South's economic and industrial centers, communication, and railway lines helped bring the war to a close. Evidence of the impact of industrialization modernization can clearly be seen in the fact that it was the destruction of the industrial centers that produced decisive results, not slowly traditional victories on the battlefield.


Up to this point I have provided evidence of the impact of industrialization through a three-phase linear approach from pillar to pillar. To conclude the study, let us now step out of the linear presentation and overlay the three phases of the pillars on top of one another. It is at this point that the significance of the American Industrial Revolution comes to the forefront. We can see from this vantage point that its impact was highly disruptive to every significant facet of American life—all at the same time. Industrialization was the revolutionary driving force behind the transformation that occurred in America's values, mores, economy, and ultimately in the war itself. I have striven in this study to show through a multi-disciplinary approach that the American Industrial Revolution effectively explains what caused the American Civil War.

https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu:253076/datastream/PDF/view

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
Not sure by what the author means by new modern military techniques. Wasn't the Civil War basically similar to the Napoleonic Wars other then better weaponry?
Yes there was,a lot of guerrilla warfare in the ACW but there was plenty of guerrilla warfare in Spain during the Napoleonic wars.
I suppose ironclad ships would be an example. The US didn't necessarily invent steam powered ironclads but no navy previously used them to the same extent.
Yes repeating rifles while not the norm were issued by the thousands. Not sure though about new military techniques.
Leftyhunter
 

WJC

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
9,586
#30
***Posted as Moderator***
The topic is "The Cause of the American Civil War- the American Industrial Revolution".
Rather simple: agree or disagree and why?

Please stay on topic and respect the opinions of others.
 

thomas aagaard

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
3,383
Location
Denmark
#31
The big question was not if the factory workers should be slaves or free men.

The question was if the workers in agricultural sector should be free or slave.

The big expansion in the old north west was by family farms. If the poor people coming from Europe where dreaming about working in a factory they could have stayed in their own country. What that the US had to offer was plenty of "free" land to farm...
(and in some cases more political rights)
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
7,442
Location
Denver, CO
#32
As @thomas aagaard notes, it wasn't Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin that seceded. Oregon might have seceded if it was a revolt of the small farmers. But it was a revolt mainly of the cotton growers, starting in South Carolina. The odd thing was that South Carolina had a good port and a decent set of railroads. But the economy was oriented toward exports sent to the world capitalist economy.
Outside of the states contiguous to the Gulf of Mexico, and even in places like Vicksburg, MS people wondered how detaching from the US economy was going to help them, or their children.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Messages
9,933
#33
What jumped off the screen to me, was the curious(to me at least) use of the words political, social and military,, in most studies of that sort, it is usually political, social and economic. it makes me wonder if the author has a thing about the military-industrial complex of modern(20th-21st Century) America?
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2018
Messages
37
Location
Texas
#34
Ahh, I don't think so.

To see about the American Revolution, read American Insurgents, American Patriots. By T. H. Breen

One author stated that Jefferson Davis could see the possibility of a Civil War as early as 1849.

A book The Year of Decision - 1846 by Bernard DeVoto (1943) makes an excellent case for the clouds of war as early as 1846.
(incidently, then Lt Grant and others thought that this unjust Mexican War was a ruse to extend slavery westward) The cotton plantations were not viable west of the frontier line or west of San Antonio, Austin or Dallas / Fort Worth based on the technology that existed in that day and age.

The cotton gin made slavery (on the wane) a viable economic institution. There was a Tariff Law that did not seem to affect the value of cotton selling at 10 cents a pound until the European Mills produced clothes which were then highly taxed, meaning the cotton growers faced high prices for finished goods that were made of this product

Industrialization and the influx of immigrant manpower (replacing massive combat loses and adding to the productive labor pool) coupled with the naval blockade ensured the North would win a protracted war. Cotton, grown, harvested and ginned by slave labor was the lynch pin of the South's main economic engine (King Cotton). Neither the North nor Europe could do without it to feed their industrial fabric mills. By industrialization, the mouth that need to be fed (northern industries) demanded more and more of this product. Both sides traded in it throughout the war.

So, my personal opinion: Industrialization worsened the war but was not the cause unless it was the increased appetite coupled with the harsh taxes. In that it may have been a contributing cause.
 



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