Thursday, January 21, 2010

Was Urbanization Crucial to Southern Life After the Civil War?

After the Civil War, the South was left in economic and social ruin. With the end of slavery and the destruction from the war the south had to virtually start over. This led to the emergence of a "New South." This "New South" was created through an industrialization process that penetrated all aspects of Southern society. Some of the industries that became the biggest producers in the south were textiles, tobacco, railroads and iron. Other popular areas of production were in natural resources such as lumber and sugar. For many, urbanization did not really affect them. Many people still worked on farms through the crop lien system. tenants, many of whom already owed goods as sharecroppers, bought goods by promising future crops for credit. The South, however, was made up of more than just rural areas and these urban areas were also crucial to Southern life. Atlanta became an industrial and railroad node, allowing for increasing access and markets around the country. Also, industrial cities such as Birmingham (known as the "Pittsburgh of the South" became huge centers of growth. These cities were crucial in helping the economic growth of the south and encouraging the investment of Northern capital.

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