Economy largely based on Agriculture:
-Most Americans were farmers. Between 1840 and 1860, food production increased by four times. This was mostly due to opening up of new land in the west, and developments such as fertilization, crop rotation and new machinery.
-Southern states were planter dominated - agrarian (relating to land and farming).
-Many Southerners grew tobacco, sugar, and cotton. By about the 1850's, cotton sales made up at least half of the USA's total exports. Trade in cotton ensured that white Southerners were prosperous.
-However, the southern states did not necessarily lack in industry - the Tredger Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia, ranked fourth among the USA's producers of iron products by 1840.
-Planters in the South had only made up 5% of the population but were in control of the majority of the wealth
-Planters were reluctant to give up their traditional farming ways entirely for industry
-By the 1850’s, the southern states had only produced 10% of the national manufactured output with 35% of the total USA population
Difficulties Within the Economy
-The South was paying tariffs that they had felt to be unfair, given the general opinion that the tax money was mostly Northern gain
-Not only did the Southern population rely on the North for finances, but also for marketing goods
Impact of Slavery on Southern Economy:
- In 1850, 1 in 3 white Southern families owned slaves, but due to rising costs of slaves, by 1860, 1 in 4 families owned slaves. Majority of slaves (about 55%) worked in cotton production, but also tobacco, sugar, rice and hemp production. Slaveholding enabled planters to increase cotton