The post-Civil War South has been called the “New South.” In what ways did it succeed in reinventing itself? In what ways did it fail?
After the war, the South was devastated and it was going to take a lot of money and a lot of rebuilding for it to be self-sufficient again. It financially and architecturally succeeded in reinventing itself and in the thirty five years following the war, Southern iron, steel and textile industries emerged, with Railroads leading the South’s industrial expansion. The Southern economy grew and prospered, although it could never quite compete with the North in innovations or wages. Now that there were almost 4 million freed slaves living in the South and a huge population of poor white people, there was plenty of cheap labor and business owners took full advantage of the fact. What kept the South from a strong Industrial development was the inability of the White men to work alongside the freed slaves. Attitudes toward the freed slaves had not changed and were getting progressively worse. Black Southerners were barred from working in industrial jobs and only a small percentage of White Southerners were employed in these jobs, therefore expansion could not take place. The South started on the right course and for a period of time it looked like the New South had risen but hatred towards the Black Southerners was the industrial development downfall with The South still strongly depending on agriculture as the economy stabilizer.
Supposedly, the New South was based on rich natural resources, economic opportunity and increased racial equality, but after the North removed military control in the South in 1877, the Southern White Democrats went to work at changing their states constitutions and establishing legal barriers that kept the Black Southerners from voting. By 1913 new laws had been enacted, known as the Jim Crow laws, the made it unlawful for Black Southerners to comingle with White Southerners everywhere....
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