Thursday, January 28, 2010
Railroads and the South
The innovation of the railroad was revolutionary for the entire country, but particularly for the South. The antebellum period was famously one of agriculture, dominated by the big business of plantation crops. Though the plantation as it was known then would never again exist in the same format, agriculture was still a major player. The part where railroads enter this picture is the change in exportation of crops through and from the South. The transcontinental system combined with the use of refrigerated cars meant that trains could transport Southern products throughout the nation far faster and far more efficiently than ever before. While the South certainly suffered much economic turmoil in the era, this format made up much of the southern economy regardless. The side of this was the gradual industrialization of the region. Many resisted the change, but there was enough interest from both Northern and Southern investors to make the growing cities home to important corporations, such as Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta.