Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the years leading up to the Civil War, there was some Southern investment in manufacturing and transportation, but the vast bulk of Southern capital, and there was plenty of it, was tied up and thrown into land and slaves. Historians are divided as to whether this uniquely southern obsession with owning slaves and the agricultural land on which they worked was rational from an economic viewpoint. A case can be made on either side of the issue. Discounting any moral argument, in the 1850s the average investment return on the purchase of a field hand has been calculated to have been around 8%, which is not too shabby in an era of low taxes. Nevertheless, such investment would hardly prepare the region to wage modern warfare. One frustrated Mississippi industrial promoter lamented that this was what drove the lawyer to pour over his books and the merchant to stretch his tape – to buy land and slaves.

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

Download [102.45 KB]