Why did the North East region industrialise

Why did the North East Region Industrialise More

Quickly than the South Before the Civil War?

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It is the purpose of this essay to try to analyze some of the many and assorted factors that led the North East to be to a great extent industrialised, comparative to the South, in the pre civil war old ages. Initially we will see the fabrication industry ; this seems an obvious and of import get downing point in any treatment of industrialization. We will so continue to discourse lumber, fabrics and cotton in some deepness, whilst invariably analyzing their impact on industrialization. One of the major elements in this essay will be the consequence and impact of bondage and population denseness as a lesser issue. Slavery has to be considered one of the individual most important factors in this treatment. We will besides analyze the substructure of the two countries to find if a rail web, or so the deficiency thereof as in the instance of the South, can be considered a factor.

The essay specifically states the pre civil war period, I have by and large adhered to this subject but on juncture I have noted the station war period where I believe a comparing is utile or necessary.


Very few historiographers have given any attending to the fabrication and extraction industries of pre-civil war America. [ 1 ] This is, in many ways, apprehensible as they were comparatively undistinguished and lone relevant for what they portended for the hereafter. The obstructions to industrialization in early America were formidable: labor and capital, for illustration, were scarcer [ 2 ] than was land. The economic strength of early America ballad in agribusiness or at least in concerns that were comparatively more resource intensive that fabrication. The markets for merchandises, be they manufactured or adult, was limited ; partially because of the little size and low denseness of colonial populations and partially because of the self sufficiency of early American agriculture. [ 3 ]

It is clear so that, as in the colonial period, fabrication in the antebellum South was still of secondary importance. [ 4 ] Agribusiness was by and large considered to be the fastest manner to do your luck and accomplish some step of societal differentiation. In the cotton provinces in peculiar, the land proprietors used the net incomes from their agribusiness and slaves to buy more land and slaves to work it. The land having category were non dissimilar to the elites of Ancient Greece and Rome in their attitudes to the servile categories.

In malice of this laterality on the portion of agribusiness, fabricating continued to increase in the South. This was particularly true in the Piedmont and Highland parts, but was ne’er on the same graduated table as in the North East. At the eruption of the war, the South had around 20 per centum of the entire fabrication end product of the state as a whole ; barely important sing the country of land under consideration. [ 5 ]

Lumber Industry

Of the industries dependent on wood militias, by far the most of import was the lumber industry. The demand for wood was of all time increasing, peculiarly in the shipyards of the North East. The industry was similar to agriculture in that it required mostly unskilled labor. [ 6 ] In Virginia entirely, between 1810 and 1860 the figure of saw Millss increased from 112 to 779. [ 7 ] Olmsted states that Virginia was besides engaged in an extended industry of Cypress herpes zosters. [ 8 ] In 1834 a Maine company acquired 700,000 estates of land for lumber development, in the mid 19Thursdaycentury ; lumberjacks from North Carolina migrated to Alabama and Florida looking for employment. By 1855, Mobile and Wilmington were each exporting about 18,000,000 pess of lumber yearly. [ 9 ] Whilst the general dogma of the inquiry is true, it is surely non true to state that there was no industrialising in the South before the war, merely that it was of a far lesser graduated table.


Before the civil war, two types of economic administration developed in the southern provinces ; the plantation and the little retention. In the coastal parts the big plantations carried out small fabrication in comparing with that done by little land proprietors. This difference was the original footing for the subsequent agrarianism and industrialization of the South. Thus, when the cotton fabrication civilization became the norm amongst the big land proprietors, the little husbandmans could non, or possibly would non, [ 10 ] compete with slave labor. It should besides be noted that there was, peculiarly in the Piedmont part, an copiousness of H2O power. With this in head, the Piedmontese progressively turned their industrialising attending to the production of fabrics and particularly to cotton Millss. [ 11 ]

In add-on to the cotton [ 12 ] Millss, [ 13 ] there were a important figure of wool Millss in the South. It was estimated at the clip that, during the late 18Thursdayto early 19Thursdaycentury, about 80 per centum of fabrics were home made. [ 14 ] As we approach the civil war, nevertheless, there was a gradual industrialization of wool industry, traveling towards a mill system.

The most extended development of wool fabrication in the South occurred between 1840 and 1860. During this period the Southern wool industry was about 24 % of that of the state as a whole. [ 15 ] A important figure, but clearly merely a fraction of that fabricating capableness of the North ; and peculiarly of the North East. The following table illustrates merely how far the South lagged behind the North in the industrialization of the Wool industry: [ 16 ]



No. of Factories


Male Employees

Female Employees

Value of Merchandises




$ 519,780



$ 672,578



$ 15,245,124



$ 20,024,421



$ 15,764,904



$ 20,696,999




$ 1,150,560



$ 1,898,182



$ 27,968,090



$ 41,309,363



$ 29,118,650



$ 43,207,545




$ 6,561,825



$ 4,596,094



$ 28,958,702



$ 64,269,869



$ 35,520,527



$ 68,865,963

Other Evidence of Industrialisation

During the pre civil war old ages, Flour and repast were high value merchandises, and production in the South was important, but once more, non even shut to the fabrication end product of the North East. In 1860, The South produced $ 55.8 mil of repast, whilst the North produced $ 167.3 mil. [ 17 ] Tobacco industry was rare in the South prior to the civil war, but more common in the North. Leather production shows the same tendency as we have discovered in every other industry, with the South merely bring forthing about 12 % of the entire national end product in the pre war period. We find the same narrative with intoxicant, the South bring forthing 7.2 mil gallons in 1960 [ 18 ] with the North bring forthing 80.8. [ 19 ]

Again and once more it is clear that there was industrialization in the South, even though it was on a far lesser graduated table, than in the North, and peculiarly the North East part.

Bondage and Industrialization

Bondage is by and large, rather justly, regarded as holding been a major factor retarding industrialization and the growing of urban countries in the antebellum South. It does non needfully follow, nevertheless, that bondage blocked efficient division of resources between agribusiness and industry. [ 20 ] Quite the contrary seems, if fact, to be the instance. Slavery may merely hold made it possible for the South to work more to the full its built-in economic advantages in cotton agribusiness. Efficiency inquiries hinge upon such differentiations.

There seems small uncertainty that industrialization and the attendant urbanization proceeded comparatively easy in the South. The two tabular arraies below clearly reveal the big and of all time turning differences between North and South: [ 21 ]

Percentage of Population Living in Urban Areas







New England






Middle atlantic






East North Central






West North Central











East South Central






Table 2 above, table 3 below. [ 22 ]

Manufacturing Investing and Output ( $ /Capita )

Manufacturing Capital

Manufacturing Value






New England





Middle States










Cotton South





United States





The above tabular arraies clearly demonstrate the big, and increasing, differences between North and South. In 1860, for illustration, the South produced less than one 3rd the value of makers per capita of the state taken as a whole. [ 23 ] Less than one Southerner in 10 lived in a metropolis, compared to one New Englander in three. The most executable and sensible account for the failure to industrialize and urbanize in the South, is the tremendous pull of cotton agribusiness created by the environment, export demand, and, of class, bondage. Affluent persons were able to do huge net incomes comparatively easy by puting in plantations and giving much of the land to cotton industry. As celebrated earlier, the net incomes would be ploughed back into the concern in the signifier of buying more land and more slaves to work the land. As has been widely noted and discussed, bondage was the key to big scale operations concentrating attempts on cotton. It can hence be sensible argued that bondage, in a sense, was a necessary, although non sufficient status, for the immense southern committedness to cotton industry. [ 24 ]

The attractive force and the development of cotton in such a major manner, dampened southern industrial growing for many grounds, some obvious, some more elusive. It is possible, as Fleisig argues, [ 25 ] the limited figure of enterprisers wanting and capable of running mills, were lured off to the large plantations, where such apparent managerial endowments were in really high demand ; and the wagess were really moneymaking. It is further probably, as Wright [ 26 ] argues that bondage was indirectly responsible for the sulky demand for machinery to help southern husbandmans. Why, after all, invest in expensive equipment when work forces [ 27 ] were far cheaper, and more readily available.

In the North East, the restraint of the necessity of utilizing household labor made mechanization more desirable, and so more necessary, for husbandmans who wanted to spread out their net incomes. The same statement can be applied to any other industry excessively, mills needed to mechanize in order to cut down the trust upon labor, therefore industrialization was both forced upon, and welcomed by, the dwellers of the North East.

By the 1850’s, a assortment of pieces of mechanized equipment were available to plantation proprietors to cut down labor demands in convulsing and reaping. These were being sold on a really broad graduated table, and much of the mid western urban enlargement that was happening during the ulterior antebellum period was related to husbandmans implementing modern agriculture methodological analysiss, including mechanization.

A farther possible account for the slow gait of southern industrialization is that bondage reduced the demand for manufactured goods by increasing inequalities in the distribution of wealth and incomes. Genoese [ 28 ] was likely incorrect, nevertheless, in asseverating that such income disagreements reduced the demand in the South as a whole for manufactured goods, peculiarly fabrics ; slaved had to be clothed excessively after all.

Can we reason, so, that bondage inhibited efficient resource allotment? Probably non. Efficiency is merely lost if the resources devoted to agriculture would hold had a higher value to society if they had been devoted to industry. [ 29 ] Our accounts are non based upon the failure of any single or persons to utilize their resources to the greatest net income. Nor are they based on clear cut cases of market failure to fit any given resource to its highest value client. Bateman, Foust and Weiss [ 30 ] have uncovered some important grounds that the return to southern fabrication was higher than the return to agricultural capital. They acknowledge, nevertheless, that this does non needfully show quantitatively important market failure. Therefore, to do a instance for inefficiency, it must be argued that society’s economic involvements differed from those of the person who made the cardinal determinations. [ 31 ]

Northern perceivers in the late antebellum period seem to hold had small uncertainty that the Southern opposite numbers were rearward and that the South in general was dead. This point of position was non merely based upon farness and hapless information, because eyewitness testimony from Northerners who had visited the South was some of the most damming. Seward, a politician from New York visited the South three times, and each clip reported that the dirt was exhausted, the towns were old and decaying and that there was, in every regard, a deficiency of endeavor and desire for betterment. [ 32 ] This first manus testimony implies that there was a deficiency of money in the South, and possibly that there was besides a by and large slower gait of life enjoyed by Southerners in general. We can quite easy do the premise that people want to develop and industrialize but are prevented from making so by assorted factors, this may non hold been the instance at all. A deficiency of [ 33 ] industrialization may good hold been, in portion at least, a witting pick on the portion of many Southerners.

Towns and Railwaies

Economists normally explain the move into high hard currency harvests as a response to betterments in transit and selling installations. From the point of view of the single husbandman, whose ability to act upon his ain market is little, this is absolutely right. From the position of the regional economic systems, nevertheless, this sums to explicating one endogeneous variable [ 34 ] in footings of another endogenious variable. [ 35 ] Despite all of the jobs of the cotton economic system, the immediate station war old ages saw a haste of entrepreneurship and new investing in interior towns and in the national transit web.

During the station war period, both North and South shared, how every bit is slightly debateable, in the enlargement of the rail web, this is in crisp contrast to the antebellum period. During the pre war old ages the huge bulk of substructure enlargement occurred in the North, and to a really great extend in the North East. A developing industrial economic system relies to a great extent upon a good substructure web. Factories and industrial installations need natural stuffs on the one manus, and a agency of widely administering their green goods on the other. It is hence something of a virtuous circle, the development of an industrial economic system was necessary because of the societal make up discussed before, this led to a demand for substructure development which made industrial enlargement progressively easy and attractive ( and so necessary as the sum of farm land available in the North East was far less than in the South ) .

Precisely the same statement can be made, merely this clip in contrary, in respect to the South. A deficiency of industrialization meant that a sound substructure, in peculiar a rail web, was non necessary. The deficiency of such a web was a factor in guaranting that industrialization was much slower in the pre war South, as natural stuffs etc. were more hard to transport. Following the civil war, and in blunt contrast to the antebellum experience, the South shared to the full in the national railroad enlargement plan of 1865-75. The really fact that the South industrialised far more quickly after the war, and that this can be so markedly linked to the investing in a rail substructure ; strongly implies that the deficiency of a rail web was a important factor in the comparative industrial deceleration of the South, pre war. [ 36 ]


It can be seen that there were a figure of really important factors that led to the North East being comparatively industrialised, and the South less so by comparing. The monolithic copiousness of land in the South, and the chances for agribusiness on a expansive graduated table [ 37 ] meant industrialization was non necessary ; the antithesis of this was true in the North East. Accompaniment with the monolithic sweep of available farming area in the South was the ready handiness of inexpensive labor on the signifier of slaves. Slaves were one of the most important factors in industrial deceleration in the South, and conversely their deficiency of handiness in the North East that led straight to the opposite consequence.


W. H. Cartwright & A ; R. L. Watson Jn. ( ed’s. ) ,The Reinterpretation of American History and Culture( Washington 1973 )

P. David, H. Gutman, R. Sutch & A ; G. Wright,Thinking With Slavery( Oxford 1976 )

L. E. Daviset Al,American Economic Growth

R. Evans Jn. , The Economicss of American Negro Slavery inNational Bureau for Economic Research, Aspects of Labour Economicss( Princeton 1962 )

E. Q. Hawk,Economic History of the South( New York 1934 )

F. L. Olmsted,Seaboard Slave States( New York 1856 )

J. J. McCusker & A ; R. R. Menard,The Economy of British America1607-1789 ( London 1985 )

D. North,The Economic Growth of the United States 1790-1860( London 1966 )

W. Parker ed. ,The Structure of the Cotton Economy of the Antebellum South( Washington 1970 )

P. Passell & A ; S. P. Lee,A New Economic View of American History( London 1979 )

G. Wright,The Political Economy of the Cotton South( New York, 1978 )

G. Wright,Old South, New South( New York 1986 )

R. B. Zevin, in Fogel & A ; Engerman,The Reinterpretation of American Economic History


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