The impact of slavery in shaping the american economy

The seeds of this destruction were planted with the birth of a nation built upon the labor derived from slave-wages and the contradiction-in-terms produced by claiming freedom and democracy while owning and profiting from slavery at the same time. A time when a third of all Southerners lived in bondage: An era of extrodinary wealth sustained by unimaginable brutality.

The impact of slavery in shaping the american economy

Southern industry did not develop as rapidly as that of the North for a number of reasons, including a lack of investment capital, well-trained managers, and up-to-date technology, and the absence of reliable transportation.

Most entrepreneurial start-ups were funded by plantation owner's funds, not the conglomerates of shareholders found in the North. In addition, plantation owners often had difficulty hiring expert managers, who were in short supply nationally, and were frequently deterred by the South's withering climate; thus, they had to pay a premium to convince managers to come south.

Furthermore, because of insufficient knowledge and capital, entrepreneurs were not necessarily able to use the most efficient methods that would allow them to create goods that could compete well in the North and abroad.

Finally, the slow pace of railroad construction, which was not well funded by state and local governments, made for inefficient—thus costly—transportation routes.

Cotton and African-American Life []

The businesses that had the most success in marketing their products in the North were located in the border states. Most Southern businesses selling raw materials and products had to either sell locally or through the Northern middlemen who controlled shipping.

Urban markets in the South were limited, because only 10 percent of the population lived in urban areas, with New Orleans and Baltimore being the largest cities.


The census indicated that there were eight cities in the South with populations of more than 22, people: Even had there been larger population centers, earning power was low among poor whites and slaves, and plantations to some degree or another tried to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Yet the products made in many of the manufacturing industries were tied to the needs of the plantations, so that other items still had to be purchased from the North.

This need caused a trade imbalance, for Southern industries were largely not able to successfully market their products to the North and abroad.

Despite the difficulties inherent in doing business in the South, such industries as textiles, mining, lumbering, ironmongering, and gristmilling did develop because they served the needs of plantation owners. Furthermore, slave owners were sometimes required to supply slave laborers for public works projects, such as building railroads, repairing roads, and improving waterways Starobinpp.

During the s, fromtobondmen and women of the approximately 4 million slaves in the United States worked in industry. Of these industrial slaves, 80 percent were owned by the business owner and 20 percent rented from their masters by the month or year Starobinpp.

As with the profitability of plantation slaves, the profitability of enslaved urban workers depended on a number of factors. One factor was the business owner's willingness to risk using slaves in anything other than fieldwork, as the prevailing notion was that the Africans could not learn to do complex tasks.

The impact of slavery in shaping the american economy

Although some entrepreneurs did not believe slaves capable of doing industrial work, others, such as this visitor to a textile factory, noted, "The superintendent and overseers are white, and … principally from the manufacturing districts of the North, and although strongly prejudiced on their first arrival at the establishment against African labor, from observation and more experience they testify to their equal efficiency, and great superiority in many respects" De Bow's Reviewpp.

Yet many employers faced not only an overall labor shortage, but a pool of uneducated and undisciplined white workers who often resented working in industry because it lacked the status of being a landowner, or even a subsistence farmer.

Thus entrepreneurs opted to risk using slaves, including women and children who cost less to purchase than prime male slaves.

The impact of slavery in shaping the american economy

White managers often trained and oversaw the work of the slaves, but that was not all. They also trained slaves to become managers. Business owners soon realized that even when rented from a planter, slaves cost significantly less than did their free counterparts.

As historian Robert Starobin explains: The annual average maintenance cost per industrial slave was … less than one-third the annual cost of wages and supervision of free common labors [sic]"p.

Some business owners ran enterprises using both free and enslaved laborers, whereas others, upon realizing that the bondmen and women were capable of accomplishing the same tasks as white workers, bought their slave workers outright and fired the white employees.

Records show slaves acting as business agents, mill and locomotive engineers, and ferryboat operators—and all at a fraction of the cost of white skilled labor. It is not surprising, then, that nonlandholding whites may have felt resentful of slaves for having displaced them in the workplace.

It is estimated that 10, slaves were employed at ironworks, 5, at hemp rope factories, 20, in fishing and fish processing, and 30, at gristmills for sugar, rice, corn, and flour processing. They also worked in coal, iron, lead, gold, and salt mines, and as lumberjacks, sawing trees and extracting turpentine.

Tobacco factories used slave laborers some 7, almost exclusively; they also used many women and children because, as in other light industries, they could be just as productive as the men and in some industries, where small and agile hands were needed, even more productive Starobinpp. Profits varied from enterprise to enterprise.The Political Legacy of American Slavery Avidit Acharyay Matthew Blackwellz Maya Senx November 16, slavery,institutions,norms,persistence,development (cited inFaust,).


Yet despite slavery’s prominence in shaping American history, and despite volumes written by historians on its consequences, social scientists. Economy; How Slavery Made the Modern World How Slavery Made the Modern World. Slavery was the flywheel on which America’s market revolution turned—not just in the United States, but in all of.

The slavery system in the United States was a national system that touched the very core of its economic and political life. The following is an excerpt from Jubilee: The Emergence of African.

The Impact of Slavery More than slaves lived and worked at Andrew Jackson's Hermitage plantation in Tennessee in the 's Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness simply did not seem consistent with the practice of chattel slavery.

The Economic Impact of Slavery in the South. With its mild climate and fertile soil, the South became an agrarian society, where tobacco, rice, sugar, cotton, wheat, and hemp undergirded the economy. Because of a labor shortage, landowners bought African slaves to work their massive plantations, and even small-scale farmers often used slave labor as their means allowed.

Slavery was a practice in many countries in the 17th and 18th centuries, but its effects in human history was unique to the United States. Many factors played a part in the existence of slavery in colonial America; the most noticeable was the effect that it had on the personal and financial growth of .

The Economic Impact of Slavery in the South |