Armies are like hungry animals, demanding so very much but contributing nothing to the economy, insisting that their needs be satisfied and leaving to the civilians only what remains; and often destroying the very means of their own survival. So while feeding and equipping the armies became part of the states' new economic responsibility, the economy of the home front also demanded attention. The rural individualism of most Confederate civilians was an almost automatic block to voluntary cooperation for the common good, and as the war developed the several state governments found it at times necessary to intervene in some areas of the economy that were not directly related to the war.
Certainly nothing like modern state socialism occurred. Conservative American economic attitudes would not have accepted any regulation so radical. Nevertheless, North Carolina and her sister Confederate states endeavored in a cautious and limited fashion to exercise certain regulations which presumably would benefit both civilian and soldier. Every southern state curtailed or stopped the distillation of grain. Several limited the planting of cotton and/or tobacco. Most legislatures authorized their governors to impress slaves and use their labor where needed. Most states tried some form of price control. And all states undertook certain business operations when private resources proved inadequate. Considering the many problems of North Carolina's economy, the interventionism of the government seems quite inadequate, but it exceeded that of the northern states. In his provocative volume The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience, Emory M. Thomas states that "the wartime South became more centralized, more nationalized than her Northern enemy."1 The same might be said of the southern state governments as well.____________________