History of Domestic and Foreign Commerce of the United States - Vol. 1

By Emory R. Johnson; T. W. Van Metre et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX.
THE COASTWISE TRADE OF ATLANTIC AND GULF COASTS SINCE 1860.

Changes in the coastwise trade after the Civil War, 348. Effects of competition between the railroads and the coastwise carriers, 349. Decline of New Orleans in the coastwise trade, 350. Development 1880 to 1900, 351. Incompleteness of Government statistics of coastwise trade, 352. Act of 1906 establishing five "coastwise districts," 353. Growth of coastwise trade from 1900 to 1912, 353. Coastwise entrances at New York and Boston in 1902 and 1911, 354. Ownership of coastwise lines by railroad corporations, and proposed regulation of coastwise carriers by the Federal Government, 356.

The outbreak of the Civil War put a stop to the coastwise trade between the North and the South and, with the exception of a small trade carried on by northern shippers at a few southern ports captured and held by the Union forces, there was virtually no commercial intercourse between the warring sections of the country for a period of four years.

The South, moreover, besides being deprived of trade with the North, was also compelled to witness the almost total suspension of the local coastwise trade and the large foreign trade, both of which were effectively crippled by the blockading vessels of the Federal navy.

The North lost the valuable coastwise trade previously carried on with the Southern States, but the loss was partially compensated for by the vigorous growth of the foreign trade. There is little information available concerning the local coastwise trade of the Northern States during the war. The partial stagnation in the cotton-manufacturing industry resulting from the interruption of cotton shipments from the South doubtless injured local trade somewhat, but it is likely that the total volume of the local business increased by reason of the growth of other manufacturing industries and the prosperous state of the foreign trade.


CHANGES IN THE COASTWISE TRADE AFTER THE CIVIL WAR.

The end of the war brought an immediate resumption of domestic trade, and though it was apparent that some time must elapse before the Southern States would recover sufficiently from the devastation and havoc wrought by the conflict to regain the commercial prosperity of former years, yet the energy with which productive activities were undertaken indicated that recovery would be rapid. It was thought in some quarters that the domestic trade would, for the most part, return to the channels in which it had flowed previous to the war, and that the coastwise trade would again assume a position of dominant importance, but this was not to be. Even before the war broke out there had been ample evidence that the railroad was to become the most important factor in domestic trade. While the war was in progress, the effectiveness of the railroad had been displayed in the carriage to the Atlantic

-348-

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