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Life in the old south before the civil war

So it's not surprising that the South's economy came to depend on agriculture.

5e. Life in the Plantation South

By the 1820s, the South produced and exported rice, sugar, and especially, cotton. The South felt no need to develop factories.

And it remained rural; New Orleans was its only large city. Crops like cotton were best grown on plantations - large landholdings.

One more step

They also required a large labor force. For this, the old South depended on slaves, who were originally brought from Africa. Slavery was the basis for the South's economy; it was also what, more than anything, made the South different from the rest of the country.

By 1820, the other states had ended slavery. People often think that whites in the old South lived an elegant life - something like the beginning of the famous movie Gone With the Wind.

  • Start at sunrise and spend a day with farmer Jefferson;
  • The bottle neck in growing this crop had always been the labor needed to remove the seeds from the cotton fibers.

In fact, very few whites lived on plantations. Most whites were small farmers who did not own any slaves. But these small farmers also favored slavery; it gave them someone to look down on.

  • The distance from one plantation to the next proved to be isolating, with consequences even for the richest class;
  • Like in New England, women were completely excluded from the political process;
  • I repeatedly rode through the lines at a canter, without producing the smallest change or interruption in the dogged action of the laborers, or causing one of them, so far as I could see, to lift an eye from the ground;;;
  • He is acknowledged as the father of American landscape architecture.

But the basic fact was that slaves had no real control over what happened to them. A husband and wife could be sold to different owners and never see each other again. Slaves often worked for long hours in the fields and received insufficient food, clothing, and shelter. Slaves were able to survive because they developed a strong culture of their own.

This culture combined African and American elements. Songs and stories, religion and community were all important. For a long time, the North and the South each developed differently but without conflicts.

The conflicts came when the nation began to expand west. Southern states said the new areas that were being settled should allow slavery; the Northern states disagreed.

  1. Well over half of the richest 1 percent of Americans in 1860 lived in the South. In 1860 only 11,000 Southerners, three-quarters of one percent of the white population owned more than 50 slaves; a mere 2,358 owned as many as 100 slaves.
  2. Mary's City has a working farm as part of the museum's attractions. After years of over-planting and subsequent depletion of the soil's nutrients, the tobacco fields were becoming less productive and less profitable.
  3. Old South Day[ edit ]. Southern states said the new areas that were being settled should allow slavery; the Northern states disagreed.
  4. After some further questioning, she said her father accidentally locked her in, when he went out in the morning. By the 1820s, the South produced and exported rice, sugar, and especially, cotton.

In the 1840s and 1850s Congress passed a series of laws that were compromises between the North and the South. In the end, the compromises failed.

  • According to the popular stereotype, the cavalier, unlike the Yankee, was violently sensitive to insult, indifferent to money, and preoccupied with honor;
  • I repeatedly rode through the lines at a canter, without producing the smallest change or interruption in the dogged action of the laborers, or causing one of them, so far as I could see, to lift an eye from the ground;;;
  • Slave ownership was relatively widespread.