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View Full Version : The ACW and Reconstruction



Shek
25 Nov 09,, 04:50
As per Julie's request, here's a thread to discuss all things Reconstruction: the recovery of the Southern economy following the ACW, the facts and myths of how Reconstruction was executed, and anything else such as the acutal Reconstruction legislation.

Shek
25 Nov 09,, 04:53
Here's a PBS website that 7th SF had linked to in an earlier thread: American Experience | Reconstruction: The Second Civil War | PBS (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/)

Blue
25 Nov 09,, 05:02
Here's a PBS website that 7th SF had linked to in an earlier thread: American Experience | Reconstruction: The Second Civil War | PBS (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/)
I'll be back as soon as i watch it and do some other research.;)

Shek
25 Nov 09,, 05:04
Since Sherman's march to Savannah and then north through the Carolina's often is used to set the stage about the destruction found after the war, here's a map that shows the march route. The width of his columns totaled 50-60 miles, and so that is the swath of "destruction." Most of GA, SC, and NC was therefore untouched by Sherman, and despite his rhetoric, only SC truly saw unencumbered destruction for their role in being the first state to secede.

The state that probably suffered the most was Virginia, and with the exception of the Shenandoah Valley and Sheridan's operations there in 1864, the destruction came from the simple routine of foraging fences/trees/abandoned buildings for firewood and breastworks material and crops/livestock to supplement rations (this was done by both sides). To give a relative measure, the second largest city in the Confederacy during the ACW was wherever the AOP was encamped.

http://www.dean.usma.edu/history/web03/atlases/american_civil_war/JPG/ACW53.jpg

Julie
25 Nov 09,, 05:05
As per Julie's request, here's a thread to discuss all things Reconstruction: the recovery of the Southern economy following the ACW, the facts and myths of how Reconstruction was executed, and anything else such as the acutal Reconstruction legislation.Wow, that was fast. ;)

I gotta read-up before I do any posting. Later. :)

Shek
25 Nov 09,, 05:23
Here's a link with the number of US soldiers stationed in the South during Reconstruction at various periods:

reconstruction: Definition from Answers.com (http://www.answers.com/topic/reconstruction)

April 1865 - 250K
Sep 1865 - 187K*
Dec 1865 - 88K*
Apr 1866 - 39K*
Dec 1866 - 20K*
Oct 1868 - 18K (6K on Texas border)
Fall 1876 - 6K (3K on Texas border)

*Numbers aren't given, but these figures include soldiers who weren't involved in enforcing order in the South and instead were stationed on the Texas border with Mexico to protect against a French invasion.

Shek
25 Nov 09,, 06:04
Here's a work that specifically addresses the economics postbellum:

One kind of freedom: the economic ... - Google Books (http://books.google.com/books?id=kP5qDIDDzFwC&lpg=PA41&ots=G2Y1-C2NNO&dq=southern%20economy%20recovery%20civil%20war&pg=PA40#v=onepage&q=southern%20economy%20recovery%20civil%20war&f=false)

By their statistics, industry and infrastructure were at pre-war levels by 1869/1870 and "recovered." Farmland was cleared and ready for pre-war level production by 1867; however, they had less labor available (emancipation and death) and so they couldn't produce the same yields.

From this, recovery was complete within 5 years with the exception that all money invested in slaves was lost and crop yields would take longer to recover due to the loss of laborers. I've seen another thesis that under sharecropping, you couldn't get the same amount of mileage out of field hands as you could have under slavery, which would be another potential reason for lesser agricultural output.

Julie
25 Nov 09,, 21:39
From what I gather, the railroads were repaired rather quickly after the war and the manufacturing industry in the South did fairly well, but the agricultural sector lacked labor in the fields, and the livestock was devastated during the war. Plantation farming was replaced by tenant-farming. Still reading...

Julie
26 Nov 09,, 06:50
State by State, Virginia to be first.

Virginia

Richmond, the capital city of the Confederacy and an important port city, languished after the war, unable to compete with new railroads. Covered with battle sites, Virginia was one of the states most damaged by war; farm values plummeted from the fifth-highest in the nation to the 10th. The state attempted to attract capital with low taxes and subsidies.

1860

Number of Farms 86,468
Value of Farm Land $371.8 million
Number of Factories 5,385
Value of Manufactured Products $50.7 million

1870

Number of Farms 73,849
Value of Farm Land $213 million
Number of Factories 5,933
Value of Manufactured Products $38.4 million


Data source: University of Virginia Geospatial and Statistical Data Center. United States Historical Census Data Browser.
University of Virginia Library (http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/census/)

Julie
26 Nov 09,, 07:29
Virginia's economic prosperity in the twentieth century depended more on industry and government than on traditional agriculture. Until the 1990s, government was the second largest source of employment in Virginia, but the reduction of the United States military in that decade has meant the loss of thousands of military-related jobs. Tourism had developed into a billion-dollar-a-year enterprise by 1970 and remains an important industry.

In the sphere of Virginia agriculture, which continues to decline in relative importance, the most significant changes came in the development of increasing numbers of dairy farms in the northern part of the state and of truck farms on the eastern shore. Peanut growing and processing centered around Suffolk, and the production of Smithfield hams replaced tobacco as the standard staple among a large number of southside farms.

The significance of manufacturing also has fallen recently in Virginia's economy, with jobs in trade and service increasing to replace it. Nonetheless, the per capita income of Virginians remains almost 10 percent above the national average.

Shek
28 Nov 09,, 04:20
Here's an essay that discusses the counterrevolution that ended Northern will and resulted in the cessation of Reconstruction, both in terms of maintaining a federal presence in the South as well as in terms of ending the enforcement of the newly passed amendments in the South:

http://warhistorian.org/hogue-colfax.pdf

Julie
29 Nov 09,, 13:31
The failure of the United States to implement post-conflict amnesty in a non-partisan manner during the Reconstruction Era exacerbated sectional and political tensions and economic recovery problems. Continuing tensions from this flawed approach led to the near-term failure of reconciliation. That failure led to over a century of social and moral dilapidation in the South and social angst in the rest of the United States.

The failures of political leaders to place the national interest above partisan political agendas led to the return of sectionalism in the United States. Only nation-wide mobilization to fight the Spanish-American War—and later, two world wars—would give the nation unifying causes large enough to overcome sectionalism. The crossing of sectional boundaries for military training helped reconcile the white population.

The use of federalized troops in 1957 to force desegregation of the high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, showed that it took almost a century before the U.S. government was willing to use federal power to make political changes required for true social reconciliation.

But as some degrees of sectionalism and racism linger in this country, current events sometimes lead one to wonder if reconciliation in post-Civil War United States has yet to finish. Certainly, the reconciliation that has occurred appears imperfect to many.

http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/Archives/English/MilitaryReview_20090228_art009.pdf

Julie
29 Nov 09,, 14:20
Reconstruction officially ended in 1877 when the new president, Rutherford B. Hayes, removed the last federal troops from the public and put them back to their barracks. Reconstruction was a noble attempt by Radical Republicans in Congress, along with moderates, to attempt to bring blacks into American society.

However, due to the many obstacles which faced them - reluctant presidents, a vicious and brutal Southern atmosphere, lack of funds, lack of a clear understanding of what was necessary - Reconstruction failed relatively quickly. It was a period when many people from the North had certain zeal to go and right the wrongs of the pre Civil War South, but that too faded quickly as even teachers were harassed for attempting to help the Negroes.

Some people argue that Reconstruction was a period in which Congress abused its powers and overstepped the Constitution in order to get their ideologies put forth. This is possible, depending on which side one is looking at it from. There were many times when it seemed as Northern Republicans were overstepping their boundaries, such as the Third Enforcement Act when there was talk about suspending Habeas Corpus in order to combat the Ku Klux Klan. However, I am sure that the freedmen did not care about the Constitution when it came to their lives being taken by madmen in white sheets.

I see Reconstruction as the United States government attempting to bring a rebel society more in line with, not only the Constitution, but also principles of humanity and the belief that all men should have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It would be about another century, during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s before America began grappling again with the moral questions which were so prevalent during Reconstruction.

I have done alot of reading Shek, and I have concluded that all forms and attempts of reconstruction were a failure, which is why it took a full century until the MLK era.

Your thoughts?

Julie
29 Nov 09,, 19:44
The above is my opinion of social reconstruction.

Economically speaking, economic historians who have examined the immediate effects of the war have reached a few important conclusions:

First, the idea that the South was physically destroyed by the fighting has been largely discarded. Most writers have accepted the argument of Ransom and Sutch (2001) that the major "damage" to the South from the war was the depreciation and neglect of property on farms as a significant portion of the male workforce went off to war for several years.

Second was the impact of emancipation. Slaveholders lost their enormous investment in slaves as a result of emancipation. Planters were consequently strapped for capital in the years immediately after the war, and this affected their options with regard to labor contracts with the freedmen and in their dealings with capital markets to obtain credit for the planting season. The freedmen and their families responded to emancipation by withdrawing up to a third of their labor from the market. While this was a perfectly reasonable response, it had the effect of creating an apparent labor "shortage" and it convinced white landlords that a free labor system could never work with the ex-slaves; thus further complicating an already unsettled labor market. In the longer run, as Gavin Wright (1986) put it, emancipation transformed the white landowners from "laborlords" to "landlords." This was not a simple transition. While they were able, for the most part, to cling to their landholdings, the ex-slaveholders were ultimately forced to break up the great plantations that had been the cornerstone of the antebellum Southern economy and rent small parcels of land to the freedmen under using a new form of rental contract -- sharecropping. From a situation where tenancy was extremely rare, the South suddenly became an agricultural economy characterized by tenant farms.

The result was an economy that remained heavily committed not only to agriculture, but to the staple crop of cotton. Crop output in the South fell dramatically at the end of the war, and had not yet recovered its antebellum level by 1879. The loss of income was particularly hard on white Southerners; per capita income of whites in 1857 had been $125; in 1879 it was just over $80 (Ransom and Sutch 1979). Over the last quarter of the nineteenth century, gross crop output in the South rose by about one percent per year at a time when the GNP of United States (including the South) was rising at twice that rate. By the end of the century, Southern per capita income had fallen to roughly two-thirds the national level, and the South was locked in a cycle of poverty that lasted well into the twentieth century.

How much of this failure was due solely to the war remains open to debate.

http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/ransom.civil.war.us

zraver
29 Nov 09,, 21:04
The result was an economy that remained heavily committed not only to agriculture, but to the staple crop of cotton. Crop output in the South fell dramatically at the end of the war, and had not yet recovered its antebellum level by 1879. The loss of income was particularly hard on white Southerners; per capita income of whites in 1857 had been $125; in 1879 it was just over $80 (Ransom and Sutch 1979). Over the last quarter of the nineteenth century, gross crop output in the South rose by about one percent per year at a time when the GNP of United States (including the South) was rising at twice that rate. By the end of the century, Southern per capita income had fallen to roughly two-thirds the national level, and the South was locked in a cycle of poverty that lasted well into the twentieth century.

Julie its not just well into the 20th century, we are finishign the first decade of the 21st century and income in some regions is still barely 1/3 of the national median.

The landlords were banking under the sharecropper system. In 1930 the average white sharecropper family lived on a cash budget of less than $200 a year while the national median wage was closer to $1400 a year. Even FDR's plans to drive up agricultural prices would not help much. Most farmers had long since lost the deeds to their land and were renters. So the planters go paid not to plant, but the share croppers got nothing. It would take the massive infusion of cash during WWII and the invention of mechanized cotton harvesting to really kill the system. WWII not only built bases, but via the GI Bill provided incentives to go to school and you see the start of an educated class in the South that is not also part of the land owning class.

Of course these were mostly whites, and they moved to the cities or left the region altogether. In the black belt especially the delta, the displaced former black sharecroppers were left with nothing as usual- a state that persist today. The modern delta region has a median income on par with Mexico around $17,000 a year as compared to the national median of around $45,000.

Julie
29 Nov 09,, 21:10
Julie its not just well into the 20th century, we are finishign the first decade of the 21st century and income in some regions is still barely 1/3 of the national median.Yes, and what do you suggest this is a product of? Could you expand on that?

zraver
29 Nov 09,, 21:26
Yes, and what do you suggest this is a product of? Could you expand on that?

The economic system set up by the planter class (including the bankers and store owners) after the end of the war. Thanks to a weak president they were able to get pardoned and maintain control of their land and control of credit. They also created and exploited racial fears to keep a lock on access to the Democrat primaries (the real elections in the south for so many decades).

This they controlled political power, the land and money. They were able to manipulate the system to their will fairly easily. A couple of examples would be buying cotton from the sharecroppers when prices were low via over production, and then storing it until prices rebounded. The farmers would often not get enough to pay off the credit debts that had high interest rates (often double digit) so they would be foreclosed on. The planters would then buy the land from the bank or pay off the farmers debt for the deed and keep farmers on as renters.

Another example is the race riots in Arkansas when blacks tried to form a co-op to negotiate the same rates whites were getting. The planters were able to exploit race tension to smash that idea. This was not only bad for blacks, but bad for whites. Since if for example whites had been getting $35 a ton and suddenly blacks got the same Whites might demand $50 a ton. As long as blacks were kept at $20 a ton, the poor whites could say, at least I am not black. mean while the planters would sell if for $75 a ton since they owned the gin and storage sheds.

prior to WWII, every advance the south made only came when there was a labor shortage the forced the landed class to throw some bones to the lower classes. The remarkable and rapid strides most of the south has made since 1945 occurred after the sharecropping system finally broke down.

Julie
30 Nov 09,, 00:44
Yes, and I would like to add to that as well.

In the early 20th century, invasion of the boll weevil devastated cotton crops in states of the South. This was an additional catalyst to African Americans' decisions to leave the South. From 1910 to 1940, and then from the 1940s to 1970, more than 6.5 million African Americans left the South in the Great Migration to northern and midwestern cities, making multiple acts of resistance against persistent lynching and violence, segregation, poor education, and inability to vote.

Later the southern economy was dealt additional blows by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the economy suffered significant reversals and millions were left unemployed. Beginning in 1934 and lasting until 1939, an ecological disaster of severe wind and drought caused an exodus from Texas and Arkansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle region and the surrounding plains, in which over 500,000 Americans were homeless, hungry and jobless. Thousands left the region forever to seek economic opportunities along the West Coast.

World War II marked a time of change in the South as new industries and military bases were developed by the Federal government, providing badly needed capital and infrastructure in many regions. People from all parts of the US came to the South for military training and work in the region's many bases and new industries. Farming shifted from cotton and tobacco to include soybeans, corn, and other foods.

After World War II, with the development of the Interstate Highway System, household air conditioning and later, passage of civil rights bills, the South was successful in attracting industry and business from other parts of the country. Industry from the Rust Belt region of the Northeast and the Great Lakes moved into the region because of lower labor costs and less unionization. Poverty rates and unemployment declined as a result of new job growth. Federal programs such as the Appalachian Regional Commission also contributed to economic growth.

This growth increased in the 1960s and greatly accelerated into the 1980s and 1990s. Large urban areas with over 4 million people rose in Texas, Georgia, and Florida. Rapid expansion in industries such as autos, telecommunications, textiles, technology, banking, and aviation gave some states in the South an industrial strength to rival large states elsewhere in the country. By the 2000 census, The South (along with the West) was leading the nation in population growth.

In recent decades it has seen a boom in its service economy, manufacturing base, high technology industries, and the financial sector. Examples of this include the surge in tourism in Florida and along the Gulf Coast; numerous new automobile production plants such as Mercedes-Benz in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama; the BMW production plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina; the GM manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee; and the Nissan North American headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee; the two largest research parks in the country: Research Triangle Park in North Carolina (the world's largest) and the Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama (the world's fourth largest); and the corporate headquarters of major banking corporations Bank of America and Wachovia in Charlotte; Regions Financial Corporation, AmSouth Bancorporation, and BBVA Compass in Birmingham; SunTrust Banks and the district headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; and BB&T in Winston-Salem; and several Atlanta-based corporate headquarters and cable television networks, such as CNN, TBS, TNT, Turner South, Cartoon Network, and The Weather Channel. This economic expansion has enabled parts of the South to boast of some of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States.

Julie
30 Nov 09,, 00:47
The remarkable and rapid strides most of the south has made since 1945 occurred after the sharecropping system finally broke down.I think WWII is what stimulated the southern economy the most.

zraver
30 Nov 09,, 00:51
I think WWII is what stimulated the southern economy the most.

No doubt, but the collapse of share cropping meant there was no return to the antebellum status quo again such as after the ACW and WWI.

Julie
30 Nov 09,, 01:22
No doubt, but the collapse of share cropping meant there was no return to the antebellum status quo again such as after the ACW and WWI.Correct. In summary, I would say that the southern economy did not begin any significant rebound until 80+ years after the Civil War.

Shek
30 Nov 09,, 03:46
Julie,

I'd agree that Reconstruction was a failure. The newly passed amendments that protected the rights of blacks were basically voided through non-enforcement. I'd also agree that Reconstruction was implemented in a ham-handed fashion, which certainly didn't help. However, as I stated earlier, I'm not very widely read on this era, and so I'm comfortable with staking out specific causality claims.

I wonder what would have happened in the counterfactual world of Lincoln not being assassinated - in his initial conceptualization, he was going to compensate former slave owners for their capital losses. Would this have simply empowered the class that was the most in favor of secession and thus rooted the plantation economic system even more to the South's further detriment, or would it have gave them funds to push economic revival in another direction? Would Lincoln have even been able to have pushed this through the Radical Republican faction in Congress?

In tracking down scholarly articles on the post bellum South economy, I came across this one, JSTOR: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie (http://www.jstor.org/pss/1942954), which pointed to a lack of higher education as probably the biggest obstacle to the Southern economy being able to modernize. Because of the differing conditions (weather, quality of natural resources, etc.), simply adapting technical solutions from the North didn't necessarily work (and even Northern companies that took advantage of the low-cost white labor in the South failed at this). It took decades for Georgia Tech to ramp up to a point where it was really able to research and devise regional technological solutions that could help push Souther industrialization into a more competitive status.

Just as interesting to me was the following quote from the above article, citing another article:


JSTOR: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie (http://www.jstor.org/pss/2701824)

"In 1940 the raison d'etre of Southern state governments was the
protection of white supremacy and social stability; thirty years later their central purpose was the promotion of business and industrial development."

As I said, I don't have the depth of knowledge on this topic to know how accurate it is, but given the resistance to the Civil Rights movement, I'd tend to believe that it's not far off the mark, and so this is a self-inflicted wound. Even if more effort had been given during Reconstruction to develop infrastructure, social inertia enforced by the governments would have still resulted in a lesser development path postbellum.

zraver
30 Nov 09,, 04:53
Julie,In tracking down scholarly articles on the post bellum South economy, I came across this one, JSTOR: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie (http://www.jstor.org/pss/1942954), which pointed to a lack of higher education as probably the biggest obstacle to the Southern economy being able to modernize.

Hence the impact of the GI Bill in creating a technical and academically skilled base to build on.


"In 1940 the raison d'etre of Southern state governments was the
protection of white supremacy and social stability; thirty years later their central purpose was the promotion of business and industrial development."

This is kind of misleading. White supremacy was a construct in order to preserve the power of the ruling class. Many of the laws that kept blacks out of the political process and thus out of power also disenfranchised poor whites leaving political power in the same hands that had held it since the British sailed away.

The south prior to the WWII although cracking, was still the land of the planter class. it had exactly the infrastructure that class wanted to keep in order to make money and the bare minimum needed to keep the lower classes in line.

Julie
30 Nov 09,, 04:58
As I said, I don't have the depth of knowledge on this topic to know how accurate it is, but given the resistance to the Civil Rights movement, I'd tend to believe that it's not far off the mark, and so this is a self-inflicted wound. Even if more effort had been given during Reconstruction to develop infrastructure, social inertia enforced by the governments would have still resulted in a lesser development path postbellum.I will admit southerners are very patriotic and rebellious people, in that, they do not like to be told what to do, and they do not like Government. However, the South was totally devastated after the War, literally burned to the ground, and I think they knew of no other course to charter but their antebellum ways.

The government was more set on punishing the southerners, moreso than focusing on infrastructure, and salt was added to the open wounds when they sent some black federal militias to govern and collect taxes; then put them in congressional seats when they couldn't read or write, and would give no white southern man a voice at the table, but would collect his taxes. From what I have read lately, that is what initially prompted the forming of the KKK, an organized rebellion of the reconstruction.

After reading in-depth the past few days on this subject, I can more than see why it did not stand a chance of working. The only positive thing I seen was the railroad fully repaired. The economic pitfalls I noted above, were not of anyone's making, and would have been endured no matter what the outcome of reconstruction was.

I, too, often wonder had Lincoln not been assassinated what difference reconstruction would have been, if any.

Now I'm trying to find out why we have such a high poverty level, with such a competitive economy. It makes no sense to me. I can't speak for other southern states, but I know Georgia funnels a huge part of our budget for education.

zraver
30 Nov 09,, 06:01
; then put them in congressional seats when they couldn't read or write, and would give no white southern man a voice at the table, but would collect his taxes. From what I have read lately, that is what initially prompted the forming of the KKK, an organized rebellion of the reconstruction.

Absolute 100% bullsh1t.

Poor whites were often allied with blacks in the Republican party. There was also a small but real negro educated class who for the most part had been freemen or house slaves. Research shows these black legislators were no more corrupt than white democrats.

The KKK was more of an umbrella than movement. It was never highly organized and had a multitude of agendas depending on who, where and when even inside of individual groups. Hoever, blacks suffered the most and were the primary target of the klan groups. It was less a revolt against reconstruction (political order) than it was an attempt to re-establish the social pecking order and engage in some good old fashioned vendetta.


The only positive thing I seen was the railroad fully repaired. The economic pitfalls I noted above, were not of anyone's making, and would have been endured no matter what the outcome of reconstruction was.

The pitfalls had human authors.

That being said, Reconstruction was a hugely important milestone for blacks. You see black property owners, black businesses, black schools, black fraternal organizations, black political identity etc emerge during reconstruction. The progress didn't go far in many cases, but the seeds were planted.


Now I'm trying to find out why we have such a high poverty level, with such a competitive economy. It makes no sense to me. I can't speak for other southern states, but I know Georgia funnels a huge part of our budget for education.

Poverty is concentrated among blacks which are a higher percentage of the population in the South and also concentrated in the black belt. The laundry list of why blacks are still poor is long and embarrassing if your white. If you want I'll list them out in detail, but here are a few

Black communities are poorer and have less money to support local schools. Since most districts still get most funding via property taxes black schools have less money. Less money means they can't retain good educators, stay technologically current, or offer a real richness of experiences. It also means they tend to favor larger schools which inhibit minority learning.

Funding is further pulled away from the general student body to fund AP classes that end up being white dominated.

When a student does make it up and out, and goes to college and succeeds they get poached by the areas with jobs and thus don't go home. This amounts to a tax on poor schools to fund rich schools by sustaining the rich districts talent pool that attracts jobs.

Poor (black) areas are also much more likely to use welfare. Rules for welfare effectively exclude fathers from the family. Any income he brings in will simply cut momma's benefits, while adding another mouth to the mix. This helps the curse of the broken home, yet one more burden and barrier to success.

It doesn't get better in the cities. Black neighborhoods don't get modern schools, are often physically isolated from businesses via interstates and other barriers. When cities bring in good jobs or build new schools they do it in the suburbs which are often not linked by transit. This keeps blacks out of the good schools and keeps them from competing for the good jobs.

JAD_333
30 Nov 09,, 06:53
Absolute 100% bullsh1t.

I was going to say...but I give Julie a pass...this urban legend is found everywhere, even in fairly recent school history books. A really good refutation of it can be found in the book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W. Loewen.

zraver
30 Nov 09,, 07:19
I was going to say...but I give Julie a pass...this urban legend is found everywhere, even in fairly recent school history books. A really good refutation of it can be found in the book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W. Loewen.

I know, its also part of a narrative that was constructed to create a certain consensus and idea.

The sad thing is, Southern history is so much more vibrant when you pull the whitewash down. Yet until just a few decades ago the only story in town for whites was the white man's story. You had to go into the minority communities to get the other side of the story via verbal histories.

Shek
30 Nov 09,, 12:26
I will admit southerners are very patriotic and rebellious people, in that, they do not like to be told what to do, and they do not like Government. However, the South was totally devastated after the War, literally burned to the ground, and I think they knew of no other course to charter but their antebellum ways.

This is wrong, too. The South didn't mind government, as long as it stuck to the exact agenda that the ruling class wanted. Rule of the majority, as long as it was their majority. Maybe that sentiment permeates today, but it's based off a particular narrative that doesn't hold up scrutiny, just as Z pointed out.

As far as destruction, much of the deep South never saw a Union soldier. Sherman's columns at their maximum saw a front of 50-60 miles. However, while he 100% devastated the railroads and factories and took foodstuffs (both livestock and storage), he left much of the other infrastructure intact. In fact, histories are complete with what a difference his path looked like in South Carolina and North Carolina, with South Carolina receiving special treatment for its role as the first state to secede. However, you can also read about how Columbia, SC, was probably put to the torch by the retreating Confederacy and how Sherman's men fought the blaze.

Your claim reminds me of a story I think is pretty funny. An author is getting a tour of a Southern city and the guide in one sentence says that Sherman burned everything and then in the very next sentence points out a fine example of antebellum architecture. I guess everything wasn't burned.

The economic statistics, both in terms of agricultural and manufacturing output show that whatever destruction was caused by the war, it was fixed within about five years. That's recovery from the war. The failure to progress extensively beyond that isn't the fault of the war, but rather the fault of the Southern elites.

Shek
30 Nov 09,, 12:28
Hence the impact of the GI Bill in creating a technical and academically skilled base to build on.

They also had to "import" a lot of folks from other regions of the country to boost their education level.


This is kind of misleading. White supremacy was a construct in order to preserve the power of the ruling class. Many of the laws that kept blacks out of the political process and thus out of power also disenfranchised poor whites leaving political power in the same hands that had held it since the British sailed away.

I'd refer to the part where keeping the same "social status" would be synonymous with keeping poor whites in their proper strata.

Bigfella
30 Nov 09,, 13:02
This is wrong, too. The South didn't mind government, as long as it stuck to the exact agenda that the ruling class wanted. Rule of the majority, as long as it was their majority. Maybe that sentiment permeates today, but it's based off a particular narrative that doesn't hold up scrutiny, just as Z pointed out.


I was reading something the other day about manumission of slaves. Interstingly, it actually became more difficult in southern states as the antebellum progressed, rather than easier. In many states it was necessary for a slaveowner to get the permission of the local legislature in order to dispose of his or her personal property as they chose. The right of states to maintain slavery was worth breaking up the union, but the right of actual slaveowners to free their slaves was unworthy of respect.

zraver
30 Nov 09,, 13:20
They also had to "import" a lot of folks from other regions of the country to boost their education level.

absolutely, but you see a more radical new order in the south as comapred to other regions of the country.The NE and West already had a fairly robust technical/academic base and lower midwest, southwest and Mountain west didn't have the population to do much regardless.




I'd refer to the part where keeping the same "social status" would be synonymous with keeping poor whites in their proper strata.

yes, but it sugar coasts the reality.

Shek
30 Nov 09,, 19:08
I think they knew of no other course to charter but their antebellum ways.

This sounds as if one is excusing the dog for peeing the carpet again because it knows nothing better.

They could have looked to the North for an example. They could have looked to the West for an example. They could have looked to England for an example. I grant that there's inertia to overcome, but they chose to return as much as possible to the status quo antebellum socially, which meant that they returned to a version of King Cotton, except that King Cotton was no longer king.

I just finished reading the Wright piece that I referred to last night, and he provides a very compelling argument about how the South chose to maintain the status quo. As late as the Great Depression, the very powerful Southern bloc in Congress argued against sending federal money into the South to help combat unemployment, in essence, because this money would cause changes that would upset the social status quo. They chose to underinvest in education because they feared that brain drain would cause this newly educated class to flee the South and take their newly acquired knowledge with them, just as Z pointed out has happened to some education approaches in the delta regions.

It took a federal minimum wage law and the Fair Labor Standards Act to end the one major comparative advantage that the South had - cheap labor that had a huge gap on Northern wages, and this, among other things, forced the South to pursue labor-saving technologies and human capital development. This set the stage for economic growth in the aggregate that closed the gap on the rest of the regions of the US.

Julie
30 Nov 09,, 23:12
The auto industry has all but abandoned the North, and is re-located in the South. We have a huge plant here on the river called "The Trade Zone." New cars for miles as far as the eye can see.

Georgia is a right-to-work State, low cost of living, low wages. Is this why these companies are flocking here now?

Not trying to change the subject, just attempting not to pee on the carpet again. ;)

Shek
01 Dec 09,, 00:59
The auto industry has all but abandoned the North, and is re-located in the South. We have a huge plant here on the river called "The Trade Zone." New cars for miles as far as the eye can see.

Georgia is a right-to-work State, low cost of living, low wages. Is this why these companies are flocking here now?

Not trying to change the subject, just attempting not to pee on the carpet again. ;)

Lower wage in a high-tech industry, where unions are the driving force behind the higher, unsustainable wage. The postbellum South chose low-tech industry in an era where unions didn't exist to drive wages above equilibrium rates. A different dynamic altogether.

zraver
01 Dec 09,, 01:31
Lower wage in a high-tech industry, where unions are the driving force behind the higher, unsustainable wage. The postbellum South chose low-tech industry in an era where unions didn't exist to drive wages above equilibrium rates. A different dynamic altogether.

And yet some of the same social factors are in play. HP is building a customer service center in Conway Arkansas with a median income of 40,000 or nearly double the state average. Conway is mostly white, highly educated and has no transit system. Thus an otherwise qualified minority 25 minutes away in Little Rock who does not have reliable transportation cannot compete for these jobs.

Shek
01 Dec 09,, 01:55
And yet some of the same social factors are in play. HP is building a customer service center in Conway Arkansas with a median income of 40,000 or nearly double the state average. Conway is mostly white, highly educated and has no transit system. Thus an otherwise qualified minority 25 minutes away in Little Rock who does not have reliable transportation cannot compete for these jobs.

Why can't they move to where the job is or buy reliable transportation? From looking at the news, the jobs will pay a $40K starting salary, which should be plenty to cover rent and/or a modest car payment.

Was there a deliberate attempt by government to steer this away from Little Rock. Is this systematic across the state? How much money would the state have to spend to induce HP or another corporation to move to an area that the private company finds less desireable? What's the cost-benefit ratio here and does it help or hurt the state?

zraver
01 Dec 09,, 03:12
Why can't they move to where the job is or buy reliable transportation?

That takes money, gotta have it to make it.


Was there a deliberate attempt by government to steer this away from Little Rock. Is this systematic across the state? How much money would the state have to spend to induce HP or another corporation to move to an area that the private company finds less desireable? What's the cost-benefit ratio here and does it help or hurt the state?

I don't know if it was deliberate, who would admit that. The other area under consideration was Benton, part of the LR metroplex but not part of the transit authority. Another recent additon to the Local economy LM Glasfiber which makes turbine blades located in the cities main off track industrial area with no bus service.

To be fair Little Rock does get (some) business, they recently got a turbine blade manufacturing plant. But the city seems to be the cut off point and everything South is a waste land as far as investment goes.

But its not just where businesses locate. At Central High of the Little Rock 9 fame, AP classes in 2007 had 1 black kid in a school that was majority black. magnet schools- mostly white, special ed kids- mostly black.

I will have better data within a few days as I did a survey of all income remedial and honors freshmen at UCA. The remedial class is 50% black and Honors is 98% white.

Shek
01 Dec 09,, 03:35
That takes money, gotta have it to make it.

Where there's a will, there's a way. Seriously, a cheap car as reliable wheels will not stand in the way of someone getting a job. Are the logistics harder for someone coming from a lower socioeconomic class - sure. However, if they are just as qualified, then it shouldn't be a deal breaker unless they let it be so.


I don't know if it was deliberate, who would admit that. The other area under consideration was Benton, part of the LR metroplex but not part of the transit authority. Another recent additon to the Local economy LM Glasfiber which makes turbine blades located in the cities main off track industrial area with no bus service.

To be fair Little Rock does get (some) business, they recently got a turbine blade manufacturing plant. But the city seems to be the cut off point and everything South is a waste land as far as investment goes.

But its not just where businesses locate. At Central High of the Little Rock 9 fame, AP classes in 2007 had 1 black kid in a school that was majority black. magnet schools- mostly white, special ed kids- mostly black.

I will have better data within a few days as I did a survey of all income remedial and honors freshmen at UCA. The remedial class is 50% black and Honors is 98% white.

From what I saw, it wasn't state money that lured HP there, although I may be missing some tax breaks - it was local $$ being used to lure them there.

What other determinants of the lower performance of blacks are involved here? Single-parent households? Cultural aversion to school performance? De facto segregated primary education that results in dramatically different performance by the high school level? Brain drain by highly educated blacks that leave the lesser performing ones behind?

While this socioeconomic status may have roots from the postbellum period, and while many of these potential determinants can be related, to me, there's a difference between the active discrimination that the postbellum period through the Civil Rights era and the lingering effects that residual from the prior period. I think Julie captured it that the Civil Rights Movement finally achieved the goals of Reconstruction, but there's definitely truth to any observation that there's still lingering effects from that century long struggle.

BTW, if you have individual level observations that can try to parse out some of the above, I'd be happy to help you set up and run regressions on it. It will only parse out correlations and you'll have to disentangle causation, but it's always interesting to find out how the data shakes out.

Julie
01 Dec 09,, 04:22
What other determinants of the lower performance of blacks are involved here? Single-parent households? Cultural aversion to school performance? De facto segregated primary education that results in dramatically different performance by the high school level? Brain drain by highly educated blacks that leave the lesser performing ones behind?High School drop out rates. Georgia had the highest dropout rate for this population at 22.1 percent.

More than one in five blacks dropped out of school (21 percent). The dropout rate for whites was 12.2 percent.

In the current global economy, having at least a high school diploma is a critical step for avoiding poverty, and a college degree is a prerequisite for a well-paying job.

'High school dropout crisis' continues in U.S., study says - CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/05/05/dropout.rate.study/index.html)

zraver
01 Dec 09,, 04:46
Where there's a will, there's a way. Seriously, a cheap car as reliable wheels will not stand in the way of someone getting a job. Are the logistics harder for someone coming from a lower socioeconomic class - sure. However, if they are just as qualified, then it shouldn't be a deal breaker unless they let it be so.

That is easy to say, harder in reality. I don't know how poor you've ever been or if you live in an area that is as widely dispersed as Arkansas but its a totally different world down here. In Washington State while i was growing up I could take a bus from Mount Vernon Washington all the way into Tacoma.


From what I saw, it wasn't state money that lured HP there, although I may be missing some tax breaks - it was local $$ being used to lure them there.

There was a lot of state money involved as well, I live here. I went to speaking engagement were Gov Bebe was talking it up. State money to get HP to Arkansas and then the fight between locals as to where.


What other determinants of the lower performance of blacks are involved here? Single-parent households? Cultural aversion to school performance? De facto segregated primary education that results in dramatically different performance by the high school level? Brain drain by highly educated blacks that leave the lesser performing ones behind?

There is a lot of factors, although oft repeated aversion to education is not one of them.


While this socioeconomic status may have roots from the postbellum period, and while many of these potential determinants can be related, to me, there's a difference between the active discrimination that the postbellum period through the Civil Rights era and the lingering effects that residual from the prior period. I think Julie captured it that the Civil Rights Movement finally achieved the goals of Reconstruction, but there's definitely truth to any observation that there's still lingering effects from that century long struggle.

Oh its a lot better, but old habits die hard and white privilege is alive and well.


BTW, if you have individual level observations that can try to parse out some of the above, I'd be happy to help you set up and run regressions on it. It will only parse out correlations and you'll have to disentangle causation, but it's always interesting to find out how the data shakes out.

I can send you my data sets. It was a survey of 50 odd questions covering a variety of areas to gauge family, social and educational supports before entering college. it also tried to grab a demographic picture based on race, sex and home town location. I expect to see the lower end students coming from the poorer and minority dominated areas of the state. I also expect them to show higher levels of social distress like broken homes, witness of victim of crime etc. Honors Freshmen are obviously my control group since they are what society defines as a successful student.

Blue
01 Dec 09,, 05:11
That is easy to say, harder in reality. I don't know how poor you've ever been or if you live in an area that is as widely dispersed as Arkansas but its a totally different world down here.

Thats pretty much what I was going to say, so as a nearby native, I'll just second that. I don't think lots of people understand that outside our modestly sized cities, there is a lot of wide open spaces yet to be civilized.

There is still many places not far from me where there is no rural water or sewers. That may not seem unusual, but the fact tha there where still places here in the 50s and 60s that did not have electricity and I know of a couple settlements not far from you that only got electric in the 70s. Mostly over near whiterock mtn area.

zraver
01 Dec 09,, 14:22
Thats pretty much what I was going to say, so as a nearby native, I'll just second that. I don't think lots of people understand that outside our modestly sized cities, there is a lot of wide open spaces yet to be civilized.

There is still many places not far from me where there is no rural water or sewers. That may not seem unusual, but the fact tha there where still places here in the 50s and 60s that did not have electricity and I know of a couple settlements not far from you that only got electric in the 70s. Mostly over near whiterock mtn area.


Where I live has had city water less than 20 years, an we use a septic system. My wife's family once had to mow the road here. Being friends with a quorum court judge finally got water and gravel. We still lose power 3-5 times a year with at least 1x for a couple days at a time on average.

The county still doesn't have much requirements in the way of land use- just a perc test for building and if you want a family grave yard you need to set aside at least 1 acre.

its not the wild west, but its pretty free out here.

Blue
01 Dec 09,, 15:50
Where I live has had city water less than 20 years, an we use a septic system. My wife's family once had to mow the road here. Being friends with a quorum court judge finally got water and gravel. We still lose power 3-5 times a year with at least 1x for a couple days at a time on average. I hear you there. I live at the very edge of a city limit of about 5000 people, which is a bedroom community for a city of 50,000. Only two years ago where improvements made to the power dist in our area to keep the power on reliably. The first ten years in our house we didn't bother to set any AC powered clocks since the power went out several times a week. Short outages of a few hours usually, but a few went longer. A tornado in May of this year took it out for a week. Folks 5 to 10 miles out of town saw it down for as long as a month in some cases and ice storms are always several days.

Even being inside the city limit, I still have septic and am on rural water. We did manage to get cable TV about ten years ago and internet is still spotty. Point is, I am really living in a very developed area by our standards. My family in Kansas used to give ma a hard time for "moving to the city".:rolleyes:

zraver
01 Dec 09,, 20:56
I hear you there. I live at the very edge of a city limit of about 5000 people, which is a bedroom community for a city of 50,000. Only two years ago where improvements made to the power dist in our area to keep the power on reliably. The first ten years in our house we didn't bother to set any AC powered clocks since the power went out several times a week. Short outages of a few hours usually, but a few went longer. A tornado in May of this year took it out for a week. Folks 5 to 10 miles out of town saw it down for as long as a month in some cases and ice storms are always several days.

Even being inside the city limit, I still have septic and am on rural water. We did manage to get cable TV about ten years ago and internet is still spotty. Point is, I am really living in a very developed area by our standards. My family in Kansas used to give ma a hard time for "moving to the city".:rolleyes:

cable? whats that LMAO. The ice storms are a primary reason I am putting in a 6000w back up propane system.

Shek
01 Dec 09,, 20:56
I don't where to best post this, but it's a fascinating correlation and lines up well with what Z has posted in this thread about the effects of slavery/Reconstruction on current socioeconomics of the South. If you follow the potential causal linkage all the way back, there's a hint of geographic determinism involved.

The first link is a full blog post discussing the maps. The first picture contains the 2008 election results and 1860 cotton production. The second picture overlays the 1860 cotton production over the 2008 election results.

The Vigorous North: The Black Belt: How Soil Types Determined the 2008 Election in the Deep South (http://www.vigorousnorth.com/2008/11/black-belt-how-soil-types-determined.html)

http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/2008-11-11-southvoting21.jpg

http://strangemaps.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/strangemapsoverlay1.jpg

zraver
02 Dec 09,, 03:30
data from my survey of freshmen in the schools remedial program.

Note= anyone who was not white or black under 25 and not paying in state tuition was excluded. I also am rounding percentages to nearest whole number for this post. The sample size is 150 students.

Demographics

White 46%
black 52%
male 44%
female 56%

rural 31%
urban 40%
Suburban 28%

note- whites are the majority in suburban neighborhoods but a minority in the sample I expected suburban to be lowest.

Central Arkansas 59%

Southern and NE Arkansas (black belt and delta) 32%

Northern/NW/W Arkansas 9% (white belt)

Economics

Lower class 14%
Middle class 79%
Upper class 7%
family income $0-25,000 30%
family income$25,001-49,999 32%
family income $50,000+ 36%
family owns home 73%
family does not own home 27%
on scholarship 17%
family paying tuition 20%
grants and loans 60%
family could afford college placement test tutoring 26%

Note- notice the different in perception of social class, high number reporting middle class and home ownership but very low income reports, and low family support for tuition and tutoring.

Social

Positive social engagement (clubs, church, volunteerism etc)

Church 84%
club/organization (non sports) 61%
Volunteerism 45%
organized sports 48%
both biological parents at home 51%
One parent plus a step parent 13%
Has a mentor 47%
someone close to them with a 4yr degree 58%
someone close to them with an advanced degree 36%
culturally diverse group of friends 26%

Note- The kids seem socially involved, but culturally limited.

Negative social engagement

someone close to them incarcerated 27%
someone close to them a victim of violent crime 59%
someone close to them arrested 71%
someone close to them using drugs 71%
someone close to them who is a high school dropout 67%
witnessed discrimination 75%
someone close to them using hard drugs 27%
culturally closed group of friends 73%

Note- The kids report high levels of social disruption and are culturally isolated.

Prior educational experiences

No computer access at all 9%
Computer access limited 24%
No internet access at all 4%
Limited internet access 18%
late class registration (June, July, August) 88%
read for fun 44%
Got C's or worse in high school 23%
A students 21%
high school graduate 92%
GED 7%
took AP classes in high school 44%
No what Pi is (term) 88%
recognize 3.14159... 84%
took a college placement test more than one time 75%
Knew that Lincoln was the 16th president 67%

Note- nearly a 1/3 of students had no or limited technology access in high school

Shek
16 Dec 09,, 02:54
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Shek
17 Dec 09,, 03:01
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