, the value of slaves in the United States had escalated exceeding the invested values of all the nation’s factories, banks, and railroads combined (Morgan, 1983). This was such that, by the time the eve of the civil war came the prices of cotton had risen where the confederate leaders believed that necessity of cotton in the world market would assist the south with military and diplomatic support they required for victory. However, that was not the case because as they were trying to mobilize the important strengths and weakness slave labor and free market became clearer, especially in relation to supporting the economy. This essay will answer the question of whether slavery retarded the economy of the South.
During the war, smaller industrial base did the mobilizing of the troops, an agricultural economy and fewer rail lines that were based on slave labor made mobilization of resources more difficult in the South. This resulted to the economy of the South to become shaky throughout the war (Smith & Economic History Society, 1998). The Emancipation Proclamation both enraged the South promising them freedom for their slaves threatening the existence of its primary labor source. This caused the economy of the South to suffer in 1864 as the Union Armies battered with the Confederate troops in the western and eastern theaters (Fearon & Laitin, 2003). This lowered the productivity of the South as the war slowed down the advantage of slavery that the North had over the South.
Therefore, although slavery was established to be highly profitable it had a negative impact on the economy of the South because it impeded on the development of cities, industries. This in turn contributed to soil exhaustion, high debts and lack of technological innovation. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, he states, “slavery is no scholar, no improver, it does not love the whistle of the railroad.