Why Did The South Grow Essay

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“The South grew, but it did not develop,” is the way one historian described the South during the beginning of the nineteenth century because it failed to move from an agrarian to an industrial economy. This was primarily due to the fact that the South’s agricultural economy was skyrocketing, which caused little incentive for ambitious capitalists to look elsewhere for profit. Slavery played a major role in the prosperity of the South’s economy, as well as impacting it politically and socially. However, despite the common assumption that the majority of whites in the South were slave owners, in actuality only a small minority of southern whites did in fact own slaves. With a population of just above 8 million, the number of slaveholders was only 383,637. No more than one-quarter of the white population partook in slavery itself, this including all the members of slave owning families and all those living in slave owning families. Given that, however, virtually every…show more content…
For example, small farmers depended on the local plantation aristocracy for access to cotton gins, markets for their modest crops and their livestock, and credit or other financial assistance in time of need. The great cotton economy allowed many small farmers to improve their economic fortunes. Some bought more land, some became slave owners, and some moved into the fringes of plantation society. A typical white southerner was a yeoman farmer, who was also known as “plain folk.” These farmers owned a few slaves, with whom they worked and lived more closely than the larger planters. Many of them felt more secure in their positions as independent yeomen and they embraced the regional loyalty that was spreading throughout the white
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