What factors caused a boom in southern agriculture

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What factors caused the rise of Agriculture?

The factors that caused the rise of agriculture range from genetic circumstances, geographical factors, favorable climatic conditions, and social developments that encouraged greater dependence on agriculture over time.

What caused the growth of industrialization in the southern United States?

Small-scale industry did emerge in Southern towns such as Lynchburg, Virginia. By 1858 three railroad lines intersected there, and like railroad connections in the Midwest, the industrial infrastructure boosted manufacturing in the town.

How does agriculture create new social problems?

In essence, agriculture creates new social problems, whereby greater numbers of people living in more confined spaces need to create new social practices to manage their social interactions.

What was agriculture like in the south during the Civil War?

South, 1860–1940. Agriculture in the South was oriented toward large-scale plantations that produced cotton for export, as well as other export products such as tobacco and sugar. During the Civil War, the Union blockade shut down 95 percent of the export business.

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What were the major economic developments in the South during the postwar years?

Postwar Development. In aftermath of the war, the Southern economy began slowly to diversify and commercialize. Agriculturally, land-use patterns grew even more cotton-intensive as new stretches of upcountry shifted from food production, such as corn and pork, to cotton. But the region (like other parts of the nation) also underwent a boom in railroad construction, and enthusiastic boosters and carpetbaggers also started manufacturing enterprises in the 1860s. The rate of manufacturing growth leveled off in the following decade but redoubled in the 1880s and 1890s. These enterprises included cotton mills, commercial fertilizer manufacturing plants (by 1877 South Carolina phosphate mines were shipping more than 100,000 tons to foreign markets), and iron forges. Whereas antebellum Southern ironmakers had relied on outdated and inefficient charcoal-burning operations, their postwar counterparts ran modernized coal mines, coke ovens, and blast furnaces. The town of Birmingham, for example, became an industrial center during this period. Organized in 1871 as part of a land speculation project by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, the town rapidly developed substantial iron- and eventually steelworks, contributing to a statewide coal output of nearly 200,000 tons in 1877 and pig-iron production of nearly 37,000 tons.


How did slavery affect the South?

As businesses, the plantations channeled economic functions that went well beyond cotton (or sugar or tobacco) cultivation. For example, larger plantation owners either procured or produced on site goods and services that, in the free-labor economy of the Northern states, were produced and exchanged as part of the wider economy. Thus, few towns or villages emerged in the South. Much of the region ’ s commercial exchange operated through the larger plantation owners or through businessmen known as cotton factors, usually agents of Northern or British firms, set up at river landings to market crops and provide planters with imported manufactured goods. The ideology of slaveownership probably inhibited key industrial values , fostering a fiercely defensive agrarianism and a sharp distaste for Yankee commercialism, industry, and wage labor, particularly as proslavery advocacy grew more insistent in the late-antebellum period. More tangibly, slavery cut off the potential immigration of free labor; while strong immigrant flows were feeding into the Northern economy in the 1850s, the South remained a largely closed society. Whether or not slaveowners can be called profit-minded entrepreneurs and capitalists (a question still under debate), the world they made was distinctly preindustrial, even anti-industrial.


What were the most important economic units in the South?

Cotton Farms and Plantations. The image of the large cotton plantation dominates popular impressions of the antebellum South and Southern economy, and to be sure it was the preeminent economic unit of the region, but it was hardly the norm. Nearly three-fourths of free families in the South did not own slaves. The typical Southern white was a small farmer. Many of these families grew cotton, which unlike sugar or rice did not require heavy capital to cultivate. The crop was basically nonperishable and survived relatively rough handling, so it tended to survive transportation to distant markets in better shape than other crops. Small farmers often devoted at least part of their acreage to cotton, and small slaveowners could be found working alongside their slaves in the field throughout the region. Still, most slaves lived on — and the bulk of the cotton crop came from — plantations worked by twenty or more slaves. On the largest plantations, fifty or more slaves were divided into gangs, run by drivers and sometimes, though not always, by overseers. On these large plantations, complex divisions of labor evolved. The most developed plantations came to resemble village economies: one Virginia planter in 1854, for example, owned and managed eight plowmen, ten hoe hands, two wagoners, four oxcart drivers, a carnage driver, a hostler, a stable boy, and various craftspeople, including two carpenters, five masons, two smiths, a miller, two shoemakers, five spinners, a weaver, and the owners ’ household staff.


What was the antebellum South?

The antebellum South was not all cotton plantations and riverboats. Small-scale industry did emerge in Southern towns such as Lynchburg, Virginia. By 1858 three railroad lines intersected there, and like railroad connections in the Midwest, the industrial infrastructure boosted manufacturing in the town.


What was the cotton boom?

The Cotton Boom. While the pace of industrialization picked up in the North in the 1850s, the agricultural economy of the slave South grew, if anything, more entrenched. In the decade before the Civil War cotton prices rose more than 50 percent, to 11.5 cents a pound. Booming cotton prices stimulated new western cultivation …


How many bales of cotton were produced in 1850?

The U.S. cotton crop nearly doubled, from 2.1 million bales in 1850 to 3.8 million bales ten years later.


What was the Southern economy like in 1860?

Not surprisingly, given these figures, the southern economy remained overwhelmingly agricultural. Southern capitalists sank. money into cotton rather than factories or land. More precisely, they invested in slaves; the average slave owner held almost two-thirds of his wealth in slaves in 1860, much less than he held in land.


Why were agricultural workers excluded from the AFL?

Excluded from the American Federation of Labor (AFL) due to their race and “unskilled” status, agricultural workers suffered the worst conditions of any labor sector in California. They commonly worked 16-hour days in the merciless sun for extremely low wages while living in unsanitary temporary camps.


What was the effect of the economic downturn in California in the 1870s?

An economic downturn during the 1870s heightened job competition and encouraged anti-Chinese xenophobia. So-called “anti-coolie clubs” formed throughout the state to denounce Chinese immigration. White mobs attacked Chinese communities up and down California, climaxing in an all-out assault on San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1877.


What were the problems of the Transcontinental Railroad?

One of the many difficulties involved in completing the transcontinental railroad was the problem of finding laborers willing to take on the dangerous, back-breaking work. In 1865, the Central Pacific Railroad turned to Chinese workers, who soon comprised two-thirds of the railroad’s labor force.


Why did Mexicans move northward?

The Mexican immigrants who increasingly dominated agricultural labor in California after 1900 took on the brutal work because farm jobs were often the only ones available to them. Dislocations caused by the Mexican Revolution propelled many Mexicans northward, but once in California these immigrants encountered rampant discrimination. Middle- and upper-class Mexican men and women could often only find work as day laborers, farm workers, and maids. Mexican Californians tended to live in segregated enclaves where constant in-migration invigorated Mexican culture, traditions, and language. In urban barrios and rural colonias.


How did black entrepreneurs find success?

Some black entrepreneurs — including several notable women — managed to find financial success through hard work and good fortune. Former slave Biddy Mason used the money she earned as a nurse to invest in Los Angeles real estate, becoming a wealthy philanthropist. Mary Ellen Pleasant, another former slave, ran several businesses and restaurants in San Francisco and used her resources to fight for African-American civil rights.


Why did Chinese immigrants come to California?

Many Chinese immigrants viewed California as a temporary stopover where they hoped to earn enough money to return to their hometowns wealthy and successful. A song from San Francisco’s Chinatown expressed this desire: “I am returning home with purses and bags stuffed full. Soon I will see my parents’ brows beaming with joy.”


What was the agricultural economy in California?

Although family farming was typical in the Midwest, California agriculture was dominated by large-scale industrial farming, and huge numbers of migratory workers were hired and fired each year . A succession of ethnic groups provided this labor, beginning with Native Americans in the 1850s and 1860s, followed by Chinese, Japanese, Hindustanis, Filipinos, and Mexicans.

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New Wave of Chinese Immigration

  • Genetics in animals and plants are very different, and these differences make domestication more complicated in plants than in animals. In particular, wild varieties of many cereals, such as wheat and barley, can be grown for many generations with only minor or subtle differences notic…

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Booming Agriculture, Migrant Labor


Hispanic Americans


Native Californians


African Americans

  • California’s booming agricultural economy created an endless need for farm labor. Although family farming was typical in the Midwest, California agriculture was dominated by large-scale industrial farming, and huge numbers of migratory workers were hired and fired each year. A succession of ethnic groups provided this labor, beginning with Native A…

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A Widening Gulf

  • The Mexican immigrants who increasingly dominated agricultural labor in California after 1900 took on the brutal work because farm jobs were often the only ones available to them. Dislocations caused by the Mexican Revolution propelled many Mexicans northward, but once in California these immigrants encountered rampant discrimination. Middle- and upper-class Mexi…

See more on calisphere.org


Pre-Colonial Era

  • California Indians found themselves in a similarly dispiriting position — celebrated in the popular imagination while their ongoing plight remained generally ignored. The Native Californian population reached its nadir in 1900 at less than 20,000, the low point of a horrifying demographic decline due to disease, malnourishment, and violence. Less than half lived on reservations — mo…

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Colonial Farming: 1610–1775

  • African Americans made up less than 2 percent of California’s population in the decades before World War I. Numbering about 7,800 in 1900, black Californians maintained a sense of community through memberships in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Urban League, and the Califor…

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New Nation: 1776–1860

  • In the years between 1865 and 1920, California’s booming international population adapted to a newly industrialized, urbanized landscape. Economic inequality ran rampant as the gulf between rich and poor became a chasm. Racial discrimination and segregation belied the California dream of prosperity and equal opportunity for all. But California remained a desirable destination for th…

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Railroad Age: 1860–1910

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Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, the continent supported a diverse range of indigenous cultures. While some populations were primarily hunter-gatherers, other populations relied on agriculture. Native Americans farmed domesticated crops in the Eastern Woodlands, the Great Plains, and the America…

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South, 1860–1940

  • The first settlers in Plymouth Colony planted barley and peas from England but their most important crop was Indian corn (maize) which they were shown how to cultivate by the native Squanto. To fertilize this crop, they used small fish which they called herrings or shads. Plantation agriculture, using slaves, developed in Virginia and Maryland (where tobacco was grown), and S…

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Grange

  • The U.S. economy was primarily agricultural in the early 19th century. Westward expansion, including the Louisiana Purchase and American victory in the War of 1812plus the building of canals and the introduction of steamboats opened up new areas for agriculture. Most farming was designed to produce food for the family, and service small local markets. In times of rapid e…

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World War I

  • A dramatic expansion in farming took place from 1860 to 1910. The number of farms tripled from 2.0 million in 1860 to 6.0 million in 1906. The number of people living on farms grew from about 10 million in 1860 to 22 million in 1880 to 31 million in 1905. The value of farms soared from $8 billion in 1860 to $30 billion in 1906. The 1902 Newlands Reclamation Actfunded irrigation proje…

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1920s

  • Agriculture in the South was oriented toward large-scale plantations that produced cotton for export, as well as other export products such as tobacco and sugar. During the Civil War, the Union blockade shut down 95 percent of the export business. Some cotton got out through blockade runners, and in conquered areas much was bought by northern speculators for shipme…

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1930s

  • The Grangewas an organization founded in 1867 for farmers and their wives that was strongest in the Northeast, and which promoted the modernization not only of farming practices but also of family and community life. It is still in operation. Membership soared from 1873 (200,000) to 1875 (858,050) as many of the state and local granges adopted non-partisan political resolutions, esp…

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1945 Until Present

  • The U.S. in World War I, was a critical supplier to other Allied nations, as millions of European farmers were in the army. The rapid expansion of the farms coupled with the diffusion of trucks and Model T cars, and the tractor, allowed the agricultural market to expand to an unprecedented size. During World War I prices shot up and farmers borrowed heavily to buy out their neighbors …

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