Confederate Industry: Manufacturers and Quartermasters in the Civil War

By Harold S. Wilson | Go to book overview

8
Forging the New South

Radical Reconstruction began the process of political integration anew.1 The Radicals reestablished new military districts, created new state constitutions on the basis of the Fourteenth Amendment, and replaced Andrew Johnson's officialdom with new biracial legislatures and governments. However, the attempt by Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, and their congressional supporters to force racial equality upon the South was short-lived in most states, ending in 1870 in Virginia and 1877 in South Carolina. When the last Federal troops were withdrawn, the new industrial order was clearly taking shape upon the earlier foundations. After Redemption, or restoration of home rule, American manufacturing dramatically moved southward, until half of the cotton spindles in the United States lay within the former Confederacy. Southern manufacturers who attempted to stay secession, who gave reluctant support to the Confederate war, and who strongly endorsed Andrew Johnson's Presidential Reconstruction finally claimed a predominant role in the intellectual and political leadership of the South. The rise of the cities, the extension of railroad networks, and the development of extraction industries, banks, and commerce found them at the forefront of Southern development. One of their number, Henry Grady, formalized the credo of the New South: that the Southerners must diversify, must manufacture, must join the modern world of industry or be hewers of wood and drawers of water for those who did.2 The Confederacy perished, in part, for want of a single horseshoe factory, and the omnipresent poverty and deprivation of the region could be cured only by economic development. The message harkened back to the great cotton mill campaigns of the antebellum era but took on new rationalizations as Radical Recon

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