Thursday, January 21, 2010
Was urbanization crucial to southern life after the Civil War?
Although it went contrary to the wishes of Southern whites, urbanization was a fundamental aspect in the transformation of the Old South into a 'New Southern' society. Following the civil war, the formerly agrarian economy of the South was in a shambles; the roots of the plantation economy were pulled up with the emancipation of millions of slave-laborers. The North also began to meddle in the political affairs of the South during this time, as well as bringing northern economic influence. Indeed, while Southern urbanization was a phenomenon that greatly benefitted the destitute economy, Southern whites generally detested urbanization's progressive side-effects, largely wanting a traditional society, reminiscent of the 'Old South'. Yet ultimately, whether or not Southern whites welcomed it or not, the Northern influence over the South was too great and resulted in an urbanization unique to the South, where economic growth was unfortunately accompanied by malignant remnants of the Old South: discrimination and persecution.