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dissertation l inflation legislative

dissertation l inflation legislativeDissertation l inflation legislative -Small wonder that Southerners — even those who did not own slaves — viewed any attempt by the federal government to limit the rights of slaveowners over their property as a potentially catastrophic threat to their entire economic system.The costs could be reduced substantially if instead of freeing all the slaves at once, children were left in bondage until the age of 18 or 21 (Goldin 19).As they looked for the keys to American growth in the nineteenth century, these economic historians questioned whether the Civil War — with its enormous destruction and disruption of society — could have been a to industrialization.In the cotton regions the importance of slave labor was even greater.As manufacturing of all kinds expanded at home and abroad, the need for food in cities created markets for foodstuffs that could be produced in the areas north of the Ohio River.By the mid 1830s, cotton shipments accounted for more than half the value of all exports from the United States.Under such a scheme, the federal government would purchase slaves.To illustrate the extent to which the rise of urban centers and increased market activity in the North led to a growing crisis in economic policy, historians have re-examined four specific areas of legislative action singled out by Beard and Hacker as evidence of a Congressional stalemate in 1860 (Egnal 2001; Ransom and Sutch 2001; 1989; Bensel 1990; Mc Pherson 1988). The manner in which the federal government distributed land to people could have a major impact on the nature of farming in a region.By itself, the South’s economic investment in slavery could easily explain the willingness of Southerners to risk war when faced with what they viewed as a serious threat to their “peculiar institution” after the electoral victories of the Republican Party and President Abraham Lincoln the fall of 1860.Note that there is a marked similarity between the trends in the export of cotton and the rising value of the slave population depicted in Figure 1.The cost of any “compensated” emancipation scheme was so high that even those who wished to eliminate slavery were unwilling to pay for a “buyout” of those who owned slaves.In the 11 states that eventually formed the Confederacy, four out of ten people were slaves in 1860, and these people accounted for more than half the agricultural labor in those states.Recent research by economic, social and political historians has reopened some of the arguments first put forward by Beard and Hacker that economic changes in the Northern states were a major factor leading to the political collapse of the 1850s.Southerners complained that even this level of protection was excessive and that it was one more example of the willingness of the West and the North to make economic bargains at the expense of the South (Ransom and Sutch 2001; Egnal 20-52). In 1834 President Andrew Jackson created a major furor when he vetoed a bill to recharter the Second Bank of the United States.With the formation of the Whig Party in the 1830s, a number of key economic issues emerged at the national level. Settlement of western lands had always been a major bone of contention for slave and free-labor farms.Here again, the western states were caught in the middle.Figure 1 plots the total value of all slaves in the United States from 1805 to 1860.By the time of the Second World War, Louis Hacker could sum up Beard’s position by simply stating that the war’s “striking achievement was the triumph of industrial capitalism” (Hacker 1940: 373).By contrast, less than 7 percent of people in the 11 Southern states of Table 2 lived in urban counties.Charles Beard labeled it “Second American Revolution,” claiming that “at bottom the so-called Civil War – was a social war, ending in the unquestioned establishment of a new power in the government, making vast changes – in the course of industrial development, and in the constitution inherited from the Fathers” (Beard and Beard 1927: 53).dissertation l inflation legislativeA major finding of the research into the economic dynamics of the slave system was to demonstrate that the rise in the value of slaves was not based upon unfounded speculation.The efforts to explain regional patterns of economic growth and the timing of the United States’ “take-off” into industrialization, together with extensive research into the “economics” of the slave system of the South and the impact of emancipation, brought economic historians back to questions dealing with the Civil War.Western agriculture with its emphasis on foodstuffs encouraged urban activity near to the source of production.It seems unlikely that anyone will ever be able to show that the “gains” from the war outweighed the “costs” in economic terms.Yet even if the payments were spread over 25 years, the annual costs of such a scheme would involve a of federal government outlays (Ransom and Sutch 1990: 39-42)!This reconsideration of the Civil War by economic historians can be loosely grouped into four broad issues: the “economic” causes of the war; the “costs” of the war; the problem of financing the War; and a re-examination of the Hacker-Beard thesis that the War was a turning point in American economic history.The value of capital invested in slaves roughly equaled the total value of all farmland and farm buildings in the South.This all came to a head with the “Homestead Act” of 1860 that would provide 160 acres of free land for anyone who wanted to settle and farm the land. The need for government- sponsored improvements was particularly urgent in the Great Lakes region (Egnal 2001: 45-50).The region along the north Atlantic Coast, with its extensive development of commerce and industry, had the largest concentration of urban population in the United States; roughly one-third of the population of the nine states defined as the Northeast in Table 2 lived in urban counties. Cotton cultivation with slave labor did not require local financial services or nearby manufacturing activities that might generate urban activities.Douglass North, in his pioneering study of the antebellum U. economy, examined the flows of trade within the United States to demonstrate how all regions benefited from the South’s concentration on cotton production (North 1961).The growth of an urbanized market society in the North produced more than just a legislative program of political economy that Southerners strongly resisted.The 11 states of the Confederacy had only 51 urban counties and they were widely scattered throughout the region.Southerners required far fewer internal improvements than people in the Northwest, and they tended to view federal subsidies for such projects to be part of a “deal” between western and eastern interests that held no obvious gains for the South.Figure 2 charts the growth of cotton exports from 1815 to 1860.In his 1955 textbook on American economic history, Ross Robertson mirrored a new view of the Civil War and economic growth when he argued that “persistent, fundamental forces were at work to forge the economic system and not even the catastrophe of internecine strife could greatly affect the outcome” (1955: 249).Economic policy had played a prominent role in American politics since the birth of the republic in 1790.In 1860 6.1 million people — roughly one out of five persons in the United States — lived in an urban county.The evidence above certainly lent strong support for those arguing that it made sense for the South to fight if a belligerent North threatened the institution of slavery.However there were far more small towns scattered throughout settled regions of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan than in the Southern landscape.A leading historian of the Civil War, James Mc Pherson, argues that Southerners were correct when they claimed that the revolutionary program sweeping through the North threatened their way of life (1983; 1988). dissertation l inflation legislative And the primary force at work was the economic stimulus from the export of Southern Cotton.Obviously, such a large sum could not be paid all at once.Banks were a relatively new economic institution at this point in time, and opinions were sharply divided over the degree to which the federal government should regulate banks.A glance at either the map or Table 2 reveals the enormous difference in urban development in the South compared to the Northern states.But in the South, which had little need for local banking services, there was little enthusiasm for such a proposal.Like the agricultural South they disliked the idea of a high “protective” tariff that raised the cost of imports.People in the West were caught in the middle of this controversy.The low price of raw cotton produced by slave labor in the American South enabled textile manufacturers — both in the United States and in Britain — to expand production and provide benefits to consumers through a declining cost of textile products.In the years after World War II, a new group of economic historians — many of them trained in economics departments — focused their energies on the explanation of economic growth and development in the United States.The term most historians have used to describe these changes is a “market revolution.” : United States Population Census, 1860.They were, after all, in the midst of an unparalleled rise in the value of their slave assets.(The 1860 Census Office defined an “urban place” as a town or city having a population of at least 2,500 people.) Table 2 presents some additional statistics on urbanization by region.The Civil War has been something of an enigma for scholars studying American history.Harold Faulkner devoted two chapters to a discussion of the causes and consequences of the war in his 1943 textbook (which was then in its fifth edition), claiming that “its effects upon our industrial, financial, and commercial history were profound” (1943: 340).In 1805 there were just over one million slaves worth about $300 million; fifty-five years later there were four million slaves worth close to $3 billion.By 1860 many were inclined to support the Republican proposal for a National Banking System, however Southern opposition killed the National Bank Bill in 1860 (Ransom and Sutch 2001; Bensel 1990).Historical research has a way of returning to the same problems over and over.Beard and Hacker focused on the narrow economic aspects of these changes, interpreting them as the efforts of an emerging class of industrial capitalists to gain control of economic policy.Slave labor was the foundation of a prosperous economic system in the South.More than two-thirds of all urban counties were in the Northeast and West; those two regions accounted for nearly 80 percent of the urban population of the country. dissertation l inflation legislative Jackson’s veto ushered in a period of that was termed “free banking” in the United States, where the chartering and regulation of banks was left entirely in the hands of state governments.Northern and western congressmen strongly favored the bill in the House of Representatives but the measure received only a single vote from slave states’ representatives. The appearance of the railroad in the 1840s gave added support for those advocating government subsidies to promote transportation.Over the next two decades, this became the dominant view of the Civil War’s role industrialization of the United States.By the 1990s a new generation of economic history textbooks once again examined the “economics” of the Civil War (Atack and Passell 1994; Hughes and Cain 1998; Walton and Rockoff 1998).No one seriously doubts that the enormous economic stake the South had in its slave labor force was a major factor in the sectional disputes that erupted in the middle of the nineteenth century.A major problem here was that the costs of such a scheme would have been enormous.James Huston (1999) carries the argument one step further by arguing that Southerners were correct in their fears that the triumph of this coalition would eventually lead to an assault by Northern politicians on slave property rights.Northern merchants gained from Southern demands for shipping cotton to markets abroad, and from the demand by Southerners for Northern and imported consumption goods.Northerners wanted to encourage the settlement of farms which would depend primarily on family labor by offering cheap land in small parcels.However the tariff was also the main source of federal revenue at this time, and Westerners needed government funds for the transportation improvements they supported in Congress.Claudia Goldin estimates that the cost of having the government buy all the slaves in the United States in 1860, would be about $2.7 billion (1973: 85, Table 1).The high cost of emancipation was not the only way in which economic forces produced strong regional tensions in the United States before 1860.The “Beard-Hacker Thesis” had become the most widely accepted interpretation of the economic impact of the Civil War.Several historians have taken a much broader view of the market revolution and industrialization in the North.The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed an enormous increase in the production of short-staple cotton in the South, and most of that cotton was exported to Great Britain and Europe.The bill that best illustrates the regional disputes on transportation was the Pacific Railway Bill of 1860, which proposed a transcontinental railway link to the West Coast. Southerners, with their emphasis on staple agriculture and need to buy goods produced outside the South, strongly objected to the imposition of duties on imported goods.There could be little doubt that the prosperity of the slave economy rested on its ability to produce cotton more efficiently than any other region of the world.When James Hammond exclaimed in 1859 that “Cotton is King! With so much to lose on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, economic logic suggests that a peaceful solution to the slave issue would have made far more sense than a bloody war. One “economic” solution to the slave problem would be for those who objected to slavery to “buy out” the economic interest of Southern slaveholders.As a result, a compromise reached by western and eastern interests during in the tariff debates of 1857 was to support a “moderate” tariff; with duties set high enough to generate revenue and offer some protection to Northern manufacturers while not putting too much of a burden on Western and Eastern consumers. The federal government’s role in the chartering and regulation of banks was a volatile political issue throughout the antebellum period.“Except for those with a particular interest in the economics of war,” claimed Robertson, “the four year period of conflict [1861-65] has had little attraction for economic historians” (1955: 247). dissertation l inflation legislative As they looked for the keys to American growth in the nineteenth century, these economic historians questioned whether the Civil War — with its enormous destruction and disruption of society — could have been a to industrialization. dissertation l inflation legislative




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