Why Didn't the South Recover Economically After the War?

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peteanddelmar

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This topic never concerned me about Missouri after the war because my hometown and county exploded into economic activity driven my mining marble, etc. and agriculture.

But why not the South in general? Materially 90% of things were still standing.
I know they were starting over after the loss of their value of slaves and its free labor but you cant make me believe with their sharecropping and neoslavery that they still couldn't have been millionaires again soon.

Did they all leave? Was it Reconstruction Obstruction? Did they assign Northern owners over the plantations?

I have not read on this subject.

Philip
 

brass napoleon

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They destroyed a generation of fine young men in order to protect "property worth thousands of millions of dollars". But they lost that property anyway. And while much of that ex-"property" did remain as laborers, tens of thousands of them left for the North and the West. All at a time when the South desperately needed labor to rebuild an infrastructure that was severely damaged by losing a major war.

Beyond that, the South wasn't as prosperous before the war as might be thought. The wealth was centered around King Cotton, but as subsequent history has demonstrated, King Cotton was just the emperor who wore no clothes.
 
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peteanddelmar

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My county in Missouri and farther north in the Burnt District both just burst into economic activity. Especially my home county and it was burnt repeatedly and stripped bare.

Was it just the lesser loss of young men. And the lesser dependence before the war on slavery?
 
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brass napoleon

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My county in Missouri and farther north in the Burnt District both just burst into economic activity. Especially my home county and it was burnt repeatedly and stripped bare.

Was it just the lesser loss of young men. And the lesser dependence before the war on slavery?
Probably, combined with the lesser dependence on cotton.
 

Rebforever

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They destroyed a generation of fine young men in order to protect "property worth thousands of millions of dollars". But they lost that property anyway. And while much of that ex-"property" did remain as laborers, tens of thousands of them left for the North and the West. All at a time when the South desperately needed labor to rebuild an infrastructure that was severely damaged by losing a major war.

Beyond that, the South wasn't as prosperous before the war as might be thought. The wealth was centered around King Cotton, but as subsequent history has demonstrated, King Cotton was just the emperor who wore no clothes.
Do you have the census to show these 10's of thousands?
 

brass napoleon

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DR_Hanna

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Loss of breadwinners. A fortune in slaves gone. Money worthless. Manufacturing capability destroyed. Plantations no longer viable - split off into tennant farms and/or sold off to pay taxes. It seems that some urban places that had a large influx of Northerners and Northern money bounced back quickly enough (like Atlanta), but such places represented the minority of Southerners where rural life still dominated.
The South didn't really bounce back completely until the invention of Air Conditioning and Bug Spray.:smile coffee:
 
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Rebforever

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Yea, it took a while before the Yankees started taking over again during the 80's and 90's.
But it doesn't make one be to critical, I guess. They brought their money with them this time! :sneaky:
 

peteanddelmar

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So the planters lost their farms by and large? I still cant see why in 3 years cotton wasn't up and running again. I guess the money all went North?
I don't understand why it took decades.

Parts of Missouri were entirely depopulated.(More than you can read about in major publications) But Missouri bounced back.

Was there no reconstruction government in Missouri? And there was the rest of the south?
 

RobertP

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This topic never concerned me about Missouri after the war because my hometown and county exploded into economic activity driven my mining marble, etc. and agriculture.

But why not the South in general? Materially 90% of things were still standing.
I know they were starting over after the loss of their value of slaves and its free labor but you cant make me believe with their sharecropping and neoslavery that they still couldn't have been millionaires again soon.

Did they all leave? Was it Reconstruction Obstruction? Did they assign Northern owners over the plantations?

I have not read on this subject.

Philip
It wasn't a lack of labor but a lack of capital. As a result of the War the South became an economic colony of the the North-- see FDR's report in the late 1930's -- and didn't begin to recover until after WW2.
 
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peteanddelmar

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It wasn't a lack of labor but a lack of capital. As a result of the War the South became an economic colony of the the North-- see FDR's report in the late 1930's -- and didn't begin to recover until after WW2.

Why didn't all those sharp Northern merchants, industrials, and capitalist run down there and buy cheap and turn it all around? Quickly? Seems like lots of opportunity just going to waste for the right men?
 

brass napoleon

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Why didn't all those sharp Northern merchants, industrials, and capitalist run down there and buy cheap and turn it all around? Quickly? Seems like lots of opportunity just going to waste for the right men?
They did. They were called "carpetbaggers" and were scorned by the local populace. Those locals who assisted them were called "scalawags" and were scorned even more. Meanwhile there were plenty of opportunities in the North and the West where they didn't have to deal with the scorn. C'est la vie.
 

peteanddelmar

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They did. They were called "carpetbaggers" and were scorned by the local populace. Those locals who assisted them were called "scalawags" and were scorned even more. Meanwhile there were plenty of opportunities in the North and the West where they didn't have to face the scorn. C'est la vie.
I guess it just took 8 decades to start making a difference? I don't get it.

I need to hear these comments but also read up on the post war south...something aint right. Man
 
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brass napoleon

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I guess it just took 8 decades to start making a difference? I don't get it.

I need to hear these comments but also read up on the post war south...something aint right. Man
For decades prior to the Civil War, Southerners, Northerners, and foreigners alike were recognizing the South's dependency on slavery, and the calamities it would face if it went away. And that's not even taking into account the devastation of losing a major war, which can take decades to recover from just itself. Consider the French political scientist, Alexis de Tocqueville, in his seminal study of American democracy in the 1830s:

The population of Kentucky, which has been peopled for nearly a century, grows slowly. Ohio only joined the Confederation thirty years ago and has a million inhabitants. Within those thirty years Ohio has become the entrepot for the wealth that goes up and down the Mississippi; it has opened two canals and joined the Gulf of Mexico to the North Coast; meanwhile Kentucky, older and perhaps better placed, stood still.

These differences cannot be attributed to any other cause but slavery. It degrades the black population and enervates the white. Its fatal effects are recognized, and yet it is preserved and will be preserved for a long time more. Slavery threatens the future of those who maintain it, and it ruins the State; but it has become part of the habits and prejudices of the colonist, and his immediate interest is at war with the interest of his own future and the even stronger interest of the country.

So nothing shows more clearly than the comparison I have just made that human prosperity depends much more on the institutions and the will of man than on the external circumstances that surround him. Man is not made for slavery; that truth is perhaps even better proved by the master than by the slave." [Italics original]

- Alexis de Tocqueville

Source: http://www.tocqueville.org/oh3.htm
Now consider that this had been going on for centuries, and Southern leaders steadfastly refused to face or prepare for the possibility that it might not last "for all future time", and the fact that it only took 80 years to recover is actually pretty good. Certainly a lot better than what John C. Calhoun predicted would happen if slavery ended, even if through peaceful abolition:

"He who regards slavery in those states simply under the relation of master and slave, as important as that relation is, viewed merely as a question of property to the slaveholding section of the Union, has a very imperfect conception of the institution, and the impossibility of abolishing it without disasters unexampled in the history of the world. To understand its nature and importance fully, it must be borne in mind that slavery... involves not only the relation of master and slave, but also the social and political relations of two races, of nearly equal numbers, from different quarters of the globe, and the most opposite of all others in every particular that distinguishes one race of men from another. Emancipation would destroy these relations - would divest the masters of their property, and subvert the relation, social and political, that has existed between the races from almost the first settlement of the Southern States...

To destroy the existing relations, would be to destroy this prosperity, and to place the two races in a state of conflict, which must end in the expulsion or extirpation of one or the other. No other can be substituted compatible with their peace or security."

- John C. Calhoun, February 4, 1836

Source: <http://books.google.com/books?id=CotLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA195
 

CSA Today

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They destroyed a generation of fine young men in order to protect "property worth thousands of millions of dollars". But they lost that property anyway. And while much of that ex-"property" did remain as laborers, tens of thousands of them left for the North and the West. All at a time when the South desperately needed labor to rebuild an infrastructure that was severely damaged by losing a major war.

Beyond that, the South wasn't as prosperous before the war as might be thought. The wealth was centered around King Cotton, but as subsequent history has demonstrated, King Cotton was just the emperor who wore no clothes.
Seeing that it is generally understood that the importance of cotton, whether the growth thereof or the cotton textile industry, economically affected not only just the South but was vital to the economies of the North and Europe, will you please give sources to support your contention that it really wasn’t?
 

brass napoleon

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Seeing that it is generally understood that the importance of cotton, whether the growth thereof or the cotton textile industry, economically affected not only just the South but was vital to the economies of the North and Europe, will you please give sources to support your contention that it really wasn’t?
The Confederate embargo on cotton during the Civil War, for one. The North and Europe got along just fine without it, and other cotton producing countries stepped in to fill the void.

The boll weevil, for another, slayer of "Kings":

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favedave

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Southern cotton had been to some degree supplanted by Indian and Egyptian cotton for the mills in Britain and France by the time the war was over. Southern plantation owners had lost their land, had their labor system undone and their credit to hire free labor destroyed. Nobody knew quite knew how to get things going again. In states like South Carolina the population was 57% African American in 1860. With the war lost that percentage was even higher. The entire Confederacy was working at subsistence levels, individually rather than as a unified people. That's why it took so long for a New South to emerge, which itself did not really happen until the 1970s.
 

southern blue

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I have been told that the Shenandoah Valley did not completely recover until the 1950s. I have not however researched that. Its just something I have heard various tour guides say.

I just finished reading Defend the Valley which is one family's story of the war. Many of them men who made it home were not able bodied. There were fences to be replaced, barns and mills needed to be rebuilt. Many were missing limbs or their general overall health deteriorated from living the harsh life of a soldier and I suppose PSTD entered into it. There were no more slaves so they either had to do it themselves as best they could and it was hard to hire people as everyone who had anything was trying to repair their own business. Women and children lent a hand as best they could but it still fell short. Taxes had to be paid and homes were mortgaged and lost.

Now around here there were no cotton farms. Wheat was the cash crop.
 
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