Thursday, January 21, 2010

Was urbanization crucial to southern life after the civil war?

Yes, urbanization was crucial to Southern life after the Civil war, although the effects were not necessarily positive. Towards the end of the 19th century, many industries grew rapidly in the South including, but not limited to, textiles, tobacco, railroads, and iron. It is even mentioned in our reading that in 1990 “the south built railroads faster than any other region in the country” (Liberty, Equality, Power 557). Although at this time the South was in the shadow of the highly industrialized North, the South made great strides toward industrialization and was beginning to become competitive. Although there was growing success for the south financially, that did not mean equality. The southern segregation worsened and those working in the mills and industries were primarily whites. Whites were being encouraged to work for these mills by the promise of feeling superior to blacks, a strategy known as “wages of whiteness” (Liberty, Equality, Power 557). Urbanization increased the racial separation in the South and many blacks were forced to once again work in agriculture due to the harmful effects of urbanization.

1 comment:

  1. Urbanization was crucial to Southern life after the Civil war. The South had yet to evolve into an accepting community and therefore the former slaves had nowhere to go but back to plantations to work, except this time for money, also known as sharecropping. Given the lack of need for cotton, the economy was in the dirt and the South was in need of change. Without change discrimination would have continued to be very prevalent and Urbanization wouldn’t have been as successful.