Initial Southern Views: Its Economy, and Slavery

Flag of the Confederacy
Since Colonial times, the South's economic state had been primarily agricultural based, which continued into the Antebellum period.
  • North had five times the factories of the South
  • Labor market of the South mainly adapted for agricultural work
  • Majority of Southern workers were slaves working on small farms, picking cotton
  • Abundance of slaves in the South at the time
  • Freeing the slaves and creating an open labor market would create an extremely low wage rate
  • Explains lower class opposition towards abolitionism
  • South unable to separate its economy from enslaved labor
  • Leads to conflict with the North
  • Tariffs: major economy issue that divided the two regions
  • South mostly exported its cotton, and imported all other necessities
  • Voted for low tarrifs that would put a low tax on imported goods
  • Harmful for the overall economy because it would lower the demand on American made products
  • Southerners weren't makers of American products and could care less about the national economy
  • Another reason why the South had reasons for not wanting to be part of the Union

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy
"An agricultural people, whose chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country, our true policy is peace, and the freest trade which our necessities will permit. It is alike our interest, and that of all those to whom we would sell and from whom we would buy, that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon the interchange of commodities. There can be but little rivalry between ours and any manufacturing or navigating community, such as the Northeastern States of the American Union. It must follow, therefore, that a mutual interest would invite good will and kind offices. If, however, passion or the lust of dominion should cloud the judgment or inflame the ambition of those States, we must prepare to meet the emergency and to maintain, by the final arbitrament of the sword, the position which we have assumed among the nations of the earth." 

- Jefferson Davis Inaugural Address