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Civil War On The Economies Of The North And The South

1425 words - 6 pages

1. Describe the impact of the Civil War on the economies of the North and the South.
The North is often referred to as being industrialized prior to the start of the Civil War time frame, however the North was really only industrialized when compared to the South. It was during the Civil War that the Norths industrial capabilities grew.
When you compare the North to the South pre-war, the North however did hold 90% of the United States manufacturing capabilities, produced significantly more in the areas of: cotton and woolen textiles, leather goods, pig iron and more firearms. “The North produced 3,200 firearms to every 100 produced in the South.” (Arrington, 2016) In the North just ...view middle of the document...

” (Arrington, 2016)
When war began it was evident that the industrial nature of the North would be able to fair better than the agricultural based South. The North saw increased production across the board. Because the North had transitioned to using machinery for farming, as little as one person could still maintain the crops. Where as in the South because of the loss of man-power, whether due to slaves heading north or slave masters having to go to war, farming suffered.
Transportation in the North was better laid out as well, and they had to the ability to produce the necessary parts for repair. So when damaged by the war the North was well equipped to make the necessary repairs quickly keeping supplies not just to the military but to other towns moving. The South did not have those same repair capabilities nor were their rail lines as large, thus both military movement and supplies were limited.
The Emancipation Proclamation took a large toll on the South’s production capabilities, more and more slaves would run when they had the chance due to the promise of freedom. This greatly decreased the available labor pool of the South, not too mention the loss of their investment property, as blacks were no longer considered property. Additionally, Sherman’s “March to the Sea” destroyed a large portion of crops, what industry they had and any infrastructure in his path. (McPherson, 1988)
The Legal Tender Act provided for the federal government to print and use paper money, this was used by the North for payment of many of its bills. Transitioning away from a gold and silver based system. The South however did not have this same monetary system so at the end of the war, their money was no longer of much value. The South was also unable to raise very little money through taxes, since the blockades did not allow for the export of their number one commodity – cotton. (McPherson, 1988)
Economically the North was better positioned for a war than the South and because of this the loss of slave labor and the impacts of not being able to sell cotton drove the South’s economy down. With a poor supply of goods prices in the South soared causing many in the south to go hungry. The Civil War was devastating to the Southern economy.

2. Explain the reasons for Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas and note how it affected the course of the war.
General Grant was facing General Lee’s Army in Virginia, Grant was doing his best to neutralize the Confederate Army. He tasked Sherman with taking Atlanta, a major supply point for the Confederate Army. Atlanta was a key manufacturing center and railroad hub for the South. Taking this city would effectively cripple the South’s war efforts. I took four months, May to September 2nd of 1964, but by effectively cut off all supply routes into and out of Atlanta and Hood was forced to abandon the city. While this campaign cost the both sides approximately 35,000 troops, it was a much needed...

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