From Slave South to New South: Public Policy in Nineteenth-Century Georgia

By Peter Wallenstein | Go to book overview

10
RICH MAN'S FIGHT

HOLD THE LINE as it might on normal expenditures, Georgia had to find extraordinary means to finance its wartime endeavors. The state financed its spending with railroad earnings, massive borrowing, and increased taxation. Shifts in the relative importance of these sources reflected significant changes in the ways the state financed operations before, during, and after the war (see table 4). In particular, the wealthy paid a much larger share of taxes in war than in peacetime.


State Revenue

The Western and Atlantic Railroad continued to contribute to the state treasury. It also proved useful in transporting corn from Southwest Georgia to soldiers' families and the other poor in North Georgia. Governor Brown, as he explained, ordered the state railroad's freight rates "raised from time to time, so as to keep them nearly as high as the freights on other Roads. This enables the State to raise, by the use of the Road, a considerable amount of revenue in a manner less burdensome to the people of this State than it could be done in any other way, and to transport freights necessary for the support of the poor without charge." In late 1863, Brown ordered rates doubled on Confederate freight: "With the heavy increase of expenses, it will not be possible to make the Road a source of much revenue and charge less." As the war continued, however, the Western and Atlantic produced less revenue, and other sources supplied much more.1

Borrowing proved especially important in the middle years of the war. Indeed, half of the state government's total revenue in the years 1861-65 resulted from the creation of various forms of public indebtedness, particularly state bonds and state treasury notes. After the war, as one of the conditions of readmission to the Union, Georgia repudiated its wartime indebtedness, and thus the value of those bonds and treasury notes vanished. Georgia's wealthier wartime citizens lost all the funds they had gambled on the war effort through loans to the state and Confederate governments.

Georgia issued state bonds for the 1861 military appropriation ($867,000) and the state's assumption of the Confederate war tax for the same year ($2,441,000), for a total of $3,308,500. After 1861, as Governor Brown explained, the state favored "Treasury notes, bearing no interest, in place of

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From Slave South to New South: Public Policy in Nineteenth-Century Georgia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps, Figures, and Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Society And Politics 7
  • 2 - State Power And Tax-Free Finance 23
  • 3 - The Accommodation Of The Public 32
  • 4 - Tax Upon The Time And Labor Of Our Citizens 40
  • 5 - Creating A New Revenue System 49
  • 6 - What Disposition Shall Be Made Of The Money? 61
  • 7 - Great Objects Of The State's Charity 74
  • 8 - Depriving A Whole Race 86
  • 9 - Rich Man's War 99
  • 10 - Rich Man's Fight 110
  • 11 - Confederate Context 121
  • 12 - Power And Policy 131
  • 13 - Freed Men And Citizens 140
  • 14 - All The Children Of The State 152
  • 15 - Higher Education For A New South 160
  • 16 - Railroads, Debt, And Reconstruction 170
  • 17 - A Tax Base Without Slaves 183
  • 18 - Conscripts, Convicts, And Good Roads 196
  • Epilogue: From Eighteenth Century To Twentieth 208
  • Essay On Primary Sources 215
  • Notes 219
  • Bibliography 257
  • Index 273
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