Thursday, January 21, 2010

Was Urbanization Crucial to Southern Life after the Civil War?

Urbanization was crucial to southern life after the Civil War because its infrastructure and economy were in ruins and racial relationships were left in an indeterminate state. Abolition made room for a transition period in which changes had to be made to ensure that both whites and blacks alike could survive. Following the war, a large part of southern infrastructure was destroyed, livestock were killed, crime increased, some Confederates were stripped of their land, and former slaves had neither places to live nor sources of income. The urbanization of the south was led by the textile industry, followed by the tobacco industry, and lumber, sugar, and iron industries; this “New South” offered work opportunities to white and black southerners as well as investment opportunities for northerners. Urbanization was the first step in trying to restore and improve the economy of the southern states; however, there were still tremendous racial issues and for many blacks this new industrialization did not offer significant improvement in their lives.

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