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Slavery, the Civil War, and the New South Environment

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Shawn Schwaller

on 4 September 2017

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Transcript of Slavery, the Civil War, and the New South Environment

1. The Climate & Slavery
a) Black Enslavement, Early 1525-1866
- 12.5 million crossed Middle Passage
- 10.7 million survived –arrived to Americas
Enslaved Black Pop. in U.S., 1860:
3.9 Million
b) Climate central role in growth of slavery
c) Indentured servants to slaves, 1600s
- Land rotation
- More cost effective
d) Cotton, Rice, & Tobacco --American South
2. Rice & Tidal Irrigation
a) South Carolina & southeast coast
b) Tidal irrigation system
- Reduced hoeing and weeds
- Developed by enslaved Africans
- Connection between increased cultivation of rice and higher rates of malaria
Rice Cultivation on the Ogeechee River, near Savannah, Georgia
by Art Ward,
Harper's Weekly
(January 5, 1867)
3. “King Cotton”
a) Throughout the South
- Relied on removal of Native Americans
- 75% of world’s cotton, 1860
- 65% of American exports at a value of $200 million per year
- More millionaires in Miss. Valley than anywhere else in U.S., 1860
- Owned 4 million slaves worth about $3.5 billion, 1860
- Connected to industrial revolution
4. Monoculture
a) Stripped soil of nutrients
b) More susceptible to pests and disease
c) Lack of fertilizer & modern pesticides
As stated by Steinberg in "Down to Earth"
“thus the stage was set for the brutal cycle of clearing, ecological degradation, and eventual abandonment that characterized southern agriculture in the 60 years after 1780…Slavery created favorable conditions for this abusive pattern of land use to emerge. But it was the market orientation of planters, especially the great profits that could be made by growing cotton, that drove them forth on a reckless tear through the land, leaving a trail of gullies to show for their efforts. In this respect, the South and the North were not all that dissimilar. In both regions, agriculture answered to a higher force, be it the price of wood, furs, tobacco, or cotton” (87).
5. The Civil War & the Built Environment
a) 1861-1865
b) Environmental advantages
c) Differences in North & South
d) South (Agricultural Slave Society) Continued...
- Little manufacturing capability (pred. agricultural)
- Lack of mechanization in agriculture (farms turned to weeds)
- 29% of nation’s railroad tracks & 13% of banks
e) North (Industrializing & Urbanizing)
- More food per person than any other army in the history of warfare/better variety of foodstuffs during the war
- Produced wheat, corn, beef, and pork and benefited greatly from mechanization
- Mechanization in the North allowed women to take over the roles of men in agriculture production
- By 1860, the North had nearly twice the value of farm machinery per acre and per farm worker as did the slave states, leading to increased productivity.
- By 1860, 90% of the nation's manufacturing output came from northern states.
- As a result, in 1860, the Northern states produced 50% of the nation's corn, 80% of its wheat, and over 87% of its oats.
- The North produced 17 times more cotton and woolen textiles than the South, 30 times more leather goods, 20 times more pig iron, and 32 times more firearms.
f) Southern and Northern built environments
- Determining factor in the outcome of the war
In addition, and as stated by Steinberg
"The emphasis on free soil and labor in the north and plantation-based slavery in the South had implications in the ground itself. Early in the war, the South’s commitment to staple agriculture, to the production of cotton, hindered the ability of the Confederacy to feed itself. The more varied agriculture practiced in the North – a region not centered exclusively around one main crop for market – provided both its soldiers and its citizens with a better and more diverse set of dietary options" (98).
6. The New Southern Environment
a) Post-Civil War South, late 1800s-early 1900s
b) Good portion of South was destroyed
- Urban & Agricultural
Slavery, the Civil War,
& the New South Environment

Confederate solider taking aim
Dead horses surround the damaged Trostle House, results of the Battle of Gettysburg, in July of 1863.
During the Battle of Gettysburg 1,500 horses were killed
Residents walk through the ruins of Richmond, Virginia, in April of 1865.
Destruction of Atlanta during Civil War
“the South emerged from the war – its fields and livestock plundered, its forests cut down for firewood and barrack timber – as an economically crippled region and persisted that way for at least the next half century”
As stated by Steinberg in the opening lines of chapter 7
c) Agriculture & food production
- Cotton remained dominant cash crop
- By 1880, per capita corn and hog production in the Deep South decreased to nearly half of 1860 levels, forcing farmers to import food from the Midwest
- Sharecropping & “cycle of indebtedness”
d) Boll Weevil
- Larva ate cotton/destroyed crops
- Into Texas & South Carolina, 1890s-1917 (from Mexico)
- Devastated cotton industry (In one Georgia county for example, picked bales of cotton decreased from 11,845 in 1916 to 333 in 1922)
- Contributed to “Great Migration”
“the weevil broke cotton’s grip on the region, heralding the move to a more diversified form of agriculture centered on corn peanuts, and hogs. Some farmers even went so far as to thank the weevil for creating a way out of one-crop farming”
As stated by Steinberg
- The Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise, Alabama
- "Boll Weevil Song" by Leadbelly, 1929
Well if anybody should ask you
Who it was who sang this song
Say a guitar picker from a-Oklahoma city
With a pair of blue jeans on
Just a-lookin' for a home, just a-lookin' for a home
Boll Weevil Song
performed by Tex Ritter
e) Racism against African Americans
- Built & natural environment
- Fall of Reconstruction
- Plessey vs. Ferguson, 1896 & “separate but equal” doctrine
- Jim Crow segregation (public/built enviro.)
- Black Codes: limited fishing and hunting rights, and livestock ownership, and made African Americans pay fines if they worked in non-agricultural jobs
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