Southern Economy Culture and Politics Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1678 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: American History

Southern Economy Culture and Politics

The American South is one of the most fascinating areas regarding the history of the U.S. And really the history of the world, as in many ways it was the locust of change regarding economy, culture and politics from the early 1800s to the beginning of WWI in 1939. The massive changes that have taken place in the South are a rich ideological story of the greater nation. The history of the American South in many ways constitutes a formulation of social, political and economic change in both isolation from the Northern genesis but in collaboration with the whole of the nation in building and bridging the ideas and practices of a new nation. Many issues that had their genesis in the American South as well as in North South relationships demonstrate the basis for the development of the nation's greater understanding of social and political control, in companionship with individual and state's social freedoms and rights, in a political, social and economic sense.



Though the American South is often thought of as the genesis region of slavery, this is certainly not the case as slavery existed before its settlement and developed in many other regions. The American South was however one of the last vestiges of the institution, where the economy and social situation of slavery lasted far past the illegalization of the slave trade.

Duignan, and Clendenen 16)

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From the late 18th cent. To the eve of the Civil War, more than a million slaves were moved from the Eastern Seaboard to the Deep South, where many labored in the sugar and cotton fields. This vast internal slave trade, which often tore slave families apart, was the South's second largest enterprise; only the plantation system itself surpassed it in size.


Term Paper on Southern Economy Culture and Politics Assignment

Realistically the issue is a sore spot on the history of the U.S. And the legacy of slavery can still be felt today. Furthermore, this is not to say that slavery and the slave economy was the only characteristic of the South, it was not the only social, political and economic reality, just the most dominant for many years, mostly as a result of the entrenched economic system that demanded the retention of the assets that were embodied by the physical slave and the peculiar economic demand for the labor of slaves.


The prewar economy, culture and politics was seriously dominated by slavery, and the postwar economy, culture and politic was dominated by an attempt to reassert social order, including the development of segregation. Though it is also clear that the Civil War was not a war to determine the future existence of slavery in the U.S. economy, it was a war embarked upon to reassert the unity of the South and North. As the war progressed Lincoln's personal politic and the lobbying of many abolitionist passions demanded and won the emancipation of slavery, yet it must be made clear that the war was not about slavery but about states rights, individual rights and the economic future of the nation.

Rawley 117-119)

Sectional opposition, which involved even broader questions than slavery, including the constitutional issue of states' rights, grew more passionate as the two sections became more and more hostile. The Ostend Manifesto and the proposed annexation of Cuba, the fugitive slave laws, the operations of the Underground Railroad, the furor caused by the Dred Scott Case, the Wilmot Proviso all heightened the tension. Sporadic armed conflict erupted in Kansas and in the Harpers Ferry raid of John Brown. The struggle became more clearly defined as the Republican party was formed with a definite antislavery platform.In the victory of the Republican presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln (1860), the South saw a threat to Southern institutions, and the Southern states in an effort to secure those institutions resorted to secession and formed the Confederacy. The Civil War followed, and the victory of the North brought an end to slavery in the United States. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation (issued in 1863, it declared all slaves in the Southern secessionist states free) was followed by other legislation, especially the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.


The Emancipation Proclamation signed in 1863 was really a secondary sentiment of the war, that became, in retrospect a broadening of the general purpose of the war itself.

Rawley 142)

2007) as one historian puts it "The war was serving as an express train of history," and clearly slavery was not the only issue at stake.

Rawley 120)

The development of the future social, political and economic character of the south was in fact dominated by the resolution of the Civil War, which included not only emancipation but extreme social duress, resulting from the destructive nature of the war on land economy and the social order.

The development of the Democratic one-party system in the 1890s was largely a response to the trauma of Civil War defeat and Reconstruction and the eventual determination of many of the region's political leaders to restore a social, economic, and political system based on white supremacy.

Steed, Clark, Bowman, and Hadley 235)

To a large degree the inclusion of white supremacy as a post-war principle in fact spread through the U.S. In the form of what was popularly termed, Jim Crow Laws, and was a de facto representation of legal segregation throughout the U.S. The economy of the south had to redevelop itself, without the status quo of legal slavery and without many of the prewar resources of people, land or money. The economy, politic and culture of the south transformed as one that was highly separated by color lines, some would argue even more so than it was prior to the war, as those peoples who had formerly lived together as a part of the same economy now had to recreate an entire social, political and economic parallel existence for blacks and whites.

This black world had emerged in the three decades since emancipation. At the end of the Civil War, Richmond's black newspaper proudly reminded its readers in 1890, the black man "had no lawyers, doctors, theologians, scientists, authors, editors, druggists, inventors, businessmen, accredited representatives to foreign countries, members of Congress, legislators, commonwealth attorneys, sheriffs. He has them now." In new cities, such as Durham, leading blacks tended to be businessmen

Ayers 43)

Though the North had been the source of much abolitionist duress, it was not either innocent of slave holding or labor use and was not innocent of the application of many of the same segregation laws enacted in the south, additionally the western frontier which ad been at the center of the states rights debate also embraced segregation.


The end of the Civil War did not result in the integration of the former slaves into American life. Although there were gains toward this under Reconstruction, these were subsequently reversed by the Jim Crow laws. Generally easily identified by the color of their skin, African-Americans were subjected to segregation and other forms of discrimination practiced by most white Americans and legislated in many jurisdictions.


The development of the American South can in many ways be seen as the acme of the political, social and cultural development of the nation. The Economy of the south was peculiar to the economy of the North, though they intermingled aggressively in many ways, the perception of difference defined the collective of the nation.

The American South saw remarkable changes in the years between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 [the end of reconstruction] and the Atlanta race riot of 1906. The landscape was transformed by the beginnings of large-scale industry, the emergence of small-town life, the spread of general stores, the sudden dominance of the railroad, and the decline of the countryside. Southern politics were redefined by segregation, disfranchisement, the Populist… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Southern Economy Culture and Politics" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Southern Economy Culture and Politics.  (2008, March 15).  Retrieved September 20, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Southern Economy Culture and Politics."  15 March 2008.  Web.  20 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Southern Economy Culture and Politics."  March 15, 2008.  Accessed September 20, 2020.