Three major industries emerged: cotton, tobacco and iron. Its arguable that the cotton and tobacco industries did not stray far from their antebellum roots; however, the majority of the factories were funded by Northern investors. No different was the emerging iron and steel industry of the post-Civil War South – by the early 1900s, the factories were owned almost exclusively by the Northern Andrew Carnegie (Schultz, Tishler).
The emergence of factories did more than impact society as a whole with a race to the cities; race relations were impacted as well. The majority of the new factory jobs were held by whites, with blacks doing only unskilled labor. Mill owners justified the hiring of all whites as making up for the antebellum disparity that had existed when blacks had the majority of agricultural “jobs,” if their former slave labor could be called that. At the political level, after the ratification of the XIII Amendment, many Southern states passed “Black Codes” forbidding the owning of property by blacks (Schultz, Tishler). Many white Southerners also claimed that blacks werent citizens, and blacks were not permitted to vote until the passage of the XV Amendment. Even after blacks were considered citizens, groups of white Southerners acted to keep them from voting or from having the same rights as white citizens. The Ku Klux Klan, or KKK was one such group aimed at intimidating blacks from voting or exercising their other legal rights. Jim Crow laws were enacted in many Southern states, declaring separate facilities for blacks and whites in everything from courts, schools, restaurants and rest rooms.
Needless to say, this racial tension continued to exist, and arguably still exists today even after the Civil Rights era of the 1960s and the overturning of Jim Crow.
There is no denying that the post-Civil War South bore little resemblance to the antebellum South. Still, some things, such as segregation, preferential treatment towards whites, and the reliance upon cotton as a major industry did not change. It is doubtless now, as we reflect upon history, that much changed for the better after the war. But it is just as irrefutable that the war for equality and for the elimination of discrimination and poverty was an uphill one, and echoes still remain in the South today. It is the duty of our generation, and of every subsequent generation, to work towards a more equal, and more prosperous, America, South and North together.
Ransom, Roger L. “The Economics of the Civil War.” University of California, Riverside, 02-01-2010.
Retrieved from: http:/ / the.net/encyclopedia/article/ransom.civil.war.us
The Reconstruction Acts: 1867. Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved from:
Schultz, Stanley K., and Tishler, William P. “The New South.” University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Retrieved from: http://us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/lectures/lecture02.html.