Wy, it's just ez clear ez Aggers, Clear ez one an' one make two, Chaps thet make black slaves o' niggers, Want to make wite slaves o' you




НазваниеWy, it's just ez clear ez Aggers, Clear ez one an' one make two, Chaps thet make black slaves o' niggers, Want to make wite slaves o' you
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southern cities .

and Indust new constructlon- "e Pressure was especially great in Richmond, whose

population increased 250 percent. Mobile's population jumped from 29,000 to 41,000; At­lanta began to grow; and 10,000 people poured into war-related industries in little Selma, Alabama.

As the Union blockade disrupted imports of man­ufactured products, the traditionally agricultural South forged industries. Many planters shared Davis's hope that industrialization would bring "deliverance, full and unrestricted, from all commercial dependence" on the North or the world. Indeed, beginning almost from scratch, the Confederacy achieved tremendous feats of industrial development. Chief of Ordnance Josiah Gorgas increased the capacity of Richmond's Tredegar Iron Works and other factories to the point that by 1865 his Ordnance Bureau was supplying all Confeder­ate small arms and ammunition. Meanwhile, the gov­ernment constructed new railroad lines to improve the efficiency of the South's transportation system. Much of the labor on railroads and ironworks consisted of slaves relocated from farms and plantations.

White women, restricted to narrow roles in ante­bellum society, gained substantial new responsibilities in wartime. The wives and mothers of soldiers now headed households and performed men's work, includ­ing raising crops and tending animals. Women in non-

War Transforms the South

Changing Roles of Women

slaveowning families cultivated fields themselves, while wealthier women suddenly had to manage field hands unaccustomed to female overseers. In the cities, white women—who had been virtually excluded from the labor force—found a limited number of respectable new paying jobs. Clerks had always been males, but the war changed that, too. "Government girls" staffed the Confederate bureau­cracy, and female schoolteachers appeared in the South for the first time.

Some women gained confidence from their new responsibilities. Among these was Janie Smith, a young North Carolinian. Raised in a rural area by prosperous parents, she now faced grim realities as the war reached her farm and troops turned her home into a hospital. "It makes me shudder when I think of the awful sights I witnessed that morning," she wrote to a friend. "Ambulance after ambulance drove up with our wounded. . . . Under every shed and tree, the tables were carried for amputating the limbs... . The blood lay in puddles in the grove; the groans of the dying and complaints of those undergoing amputation were hor­rible." But Janie Smith learned to cope with crisis. She ended her account with the proud words, "I can dress amputated limbs now and do most anything in the way of nursing wounded soldiers."

Patriotic sacrifice appealed to some women, but others resented their new burdens. Many among the wealthy found their war-imposed tasks difficult and their changed situation distasteful. A Texas woman who had struggled to discipline slaves pronounced herself "sick of trying to do a man's business." Others grew angry over shortages and resented cooking and unfamiliar contact with lower-class women. Some women grew scornful of the war and demanded that their men return to help provide for families.

For millions of ordinary southerners change brought privation and suffering. Mass poverty de­scended for the first time on a large minority of the white population. Many yeoman families had lost their breadwinners to the army. As a South Carolina newspaper put it, "The du­ties of war have called away from home the sole supports of many, many families.... Help must be given, or the poor will suffer." The poor sought help from relatives, neighbors, friends, anyone. Sometimes they pleaded their cases to the Confederate government. "In the name of humanity," begged one woman, "discharge

Human Suffering, Hoarding, and Inflation

my husband he is not able to do your government much good and he might do his children some good .. . my poor children have no home nor no Fa­ther." To the extent that the South eventually lost the will to fight in the face of defeat, women played a key role in bringing the war to an end.

Other factors aggravated the effect of the labor shortage. The South was in many places so sparsely populated that the conscription of one skilled crafts­man could work a hardship on the people of an entire county. Often they begged in unison for the exemption or discharge of the local miller or the neighborhood tanner, wheelwright, or potter. Physicians also were in short supply. Most serious, however, was the loss of a blacksmith. As a petition from Alabama explained, "Our Section of County [is] left entirely Destitute of any man that is able to keep in order any kind of Farm­ing Tules."

The blockade of Confederate shipping created shortages of common but important items—salt, sugar, coffee, nails—and speculation and hoarding made the shortages worse. Greedy businessmen cor­nered the supply of some commodities; prosperous citizens stocked up on food. The Richmond Enquirer criticized a planter who purchased so many wag-onloads of supplies that his "lawn and paths looked like a wharf covered with a ship's loads." "This disposition to speculate upon the yeomanry of the country," lamented the Richmond Examiner, "is the most mortify­ing feature of the war." North Carolina's Governor Zebulon Vance worried about "the cry of distress .. . from the poor wives and children of our soldiers... . What will become of them?"

Inflation raged out of control, fueled by the Con­federate government's heavy borrowing and inade­quate taxes, until prices had increased almost 7,000 percent. Inflation particularly imperiled urban dwellers without their own sources of food. As early as 1861 and 1862, newspapers reported that "want and starvation are staring thousands in the face," and trou­bled officials predicted that "women and children are bound to come to suffering if not starvation." Some families came to the aid of their neighbors, and "free markets," which disbursed goods as charity, sprang up in various cities. But other people would not cooper­ate: "It is folly for a poor mother to call on the rich people about here," raged one woman. "Their hearts are of steel they would sooner throw what they have to spare to the dogs than give it to a starving child." Pri­vate charity, as well as a rudimentary relief program organized by the Confederacy, failed to meet the need.

Chapter 15 Transforming Fire: The Civil War, 1861-1865

As their fortunes declined, people of once-modest means looked around and found abundant evidence that all classes were not sacrificing !m"Illl[llllll»,*l[lmll,ll,lllllllll]l,ll,l equally. And they noted that the Inequities of , \ * ,

p . . Confederate government enacted tne vontederate . , r j i i

grafj policies that favored the upper class.

Until the last year of the war, for ex­ample, prosperous southerners could avoid military service by hiring substitutes. Prices for substitutes skyrocketed until it cost a man $5,000 or $6,000 to send someone to the front in his place. Well over 50,000 upper-class southerners purchased such substitutes. Mary Boykin Chesnut knew of one young aristocrat who "spent a fortune in substitutes.. .. He is at the end of his row now, for all able-bodied men are ordered to the front. I hear he is going as some general's courier." The rich traded on their social connections to avoid danger. "It is a notorious fact," complained an angry Georgian, that "if a man has in­fluential friends—or a little money to spare—he will never be enrolled." A Confederate senator from Mis­sissippi, James Phelan, informed Jefferson Davis that apparently "nine tenths of the youngsters of the land whose relatives are conspicuous in society, wealthy, or influential obtain some safe perch where they can doze with their heads under their wings."

Anger at such discrimination exploded in October 1862 when the Confederate Congress exempted from military duty anyone who was supervising at least twenty slaves. "Never did a law meet with more uni­versal odium," observed one representative. "Its influ­ence upon the poor is most calamitous." Protests poured in from every corner of the Confederacy, and North Carolina's legislators formally condemned the law. Its defenders argued, however, that the exemption preserved order and aided food production, and the statute remained on the books. The twenty-slave law is indicative of the racial fears many Confederates felt as the war threatened to overturn southern society.

Dissension spread and alert politicians and news­paper editors warned of class warfare. The bitterness of letters to Confederate officials suggests the depth of the people's anger. "If I and my little children suffer [and] die while there Father is in service," threatened one woman, "I invoke God Almighty that our blood rest upon the South." Another woman swore to the sec­retary of war that unless help was provided to poverty-stricken wives and mothers "an allwise god . . . will send down his fury and judgment in a very grate ma-nar.. . [on] those that are in power." War magnified existing social tensions in the Confederacy, and cre­ated a few new ones.

Wartime Northern Economy and Society

With the onset of war, a tidal wave of change rolled over the North as well. Fac­tories and citizens' associations geared up to support the war, and the federal gov­ernment and its executive branch gained new powers. The energies of an industrializing, capitalist society were harnessed to serve the cause of the Union. Ideal­ism and greed flourished together, and the northern economy proved its awesome productivity. Northern factories ran overtime, and unemployment was low. Northern farms and factories came through the war unharmed, whereas most of the South suffered exten­sive damage. To Union soldiers on the battlefield, sac­rifice was a grim reality, but northern civilians experienced the bustle and energy of wartime produc­tion.

At first the war was a shock to business. Northern firms lost their southern markets, and many companies had to change their products and find new customers in order to remain open. Southern debts became uncol­lectible, jeopardizing not only north­ern merchants but also many western banks. In farming regions, families struggled with an aggravated short­age of labor. A few enterprises never pulled out of the tailspin caused by the war. Cotton mills lacked cotton; construction declined; shoe manufacturers sold few of the cheap shoes that planters had bought for their slaves.

But certain entrepreneurs, such as wool produc­ers, benefited from shortages of competing products, and soaring demand for war-related goods swept some businesses to new success. To feed the hungry war ma­chine, the federal government pumped unprecedented sums into the economy. The Treasury issued $3.2 bil­lion in bonds and paper money called greenbacks, and the War Department spent over $360 million in rev­enues from new taxes, including a broad excise tax and the nation's first income tax. Government contracts soon totaled more than $1 billion.

Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton's list of the supplies needed by the Ordnance Department in­dicates the scope of government demand: "7,892 cannon, 11,787 artillery carriages, 4,022,130 small-arms, ... 1,022,176,474 cartridges for small-arms, 1,220,555,435 percussion caps, .. . 26,440,054 pounds of gunpowder, 6,395,152 pounds of niter, and 90,416,295 pounds of lead." Stanton's list covered only

Northern Business, Industry, and Agriculture

Wartime Northern Economy and Society

weapons; the government also purchased huge quanti­ties of uniforms, boots, food, camp equipment, saddles, ships, and other necessities. War-related spending re­vived business in many northern states. In 1863 a mer­chants' magazine examined the effects of the war in Massachusetts: "Seldom, if ever, has the business of Massachusetts been more active or profitable than during the past year. ... In every department of labor the government has been, directly or indirectly, the chief employer and paymaster." Government con­tracts saved Massachusetts shoe manufacturers from ruin.

Nothing illustrated the wartime partnership be­tween business and government better than the work of Jay Cooke, a wealthy New York financier. Cooke threw himself into the marketing of government bonds to finance the war effort. With imagination and energy, he convinced both large investors and ordinary citizens to invest enormous sums, in the process earn­ing hefty commissions for himself. But the financier's profit served the Union cause, as the interests of capi­talism and government, finance and patriotism, merged. The booming economy, the Republican al­liance with business, and the frantic wartime activity combined to create a new pro-business atmosphere in Washington.

War aided some heavy industries in the North, especially iron and steel production. Although new railroad construction slowed, repairs helped the man­ufacture of rails to increase. Of considerable sig­nificance for the future was the railroad industry's adoption of a standard gauge (width) for track, which eliminated the unloading and reloading of boxcars and created a unified transportation system.

The northern economy also grew because of a complementary relationship between agriculture and industry. Mechanization of agriculture had begun be­fore the war. Wartime recruitment and conscription, however, gave western farmers an added incentive to purchase labor-saving machinery. The shift from hu­man labor to machines created new markets for indus­try and expanded the food supply for the urban industrial work force. The boom in the sale of agricul­tural tools was tremendous. Cyrus and William Mc­Cormick built an industrial empire in Chicago from the sale of their reapers. Between 1862 and 1864 the manufacture of mowers and reapers doubled to 70,000 yearly; even so, manufacturers could not satisfy the de­mand. By the end of the war, 375,000 reapers were in use, triple the number in 1861. Large-scale commer­cial agriculture had become a reality. As a result, northern farm families whose breadwinners went to

Despite initial prob­lems, the task of supplying a vast war machine kept the northern economy humming. This photo­graph shows busi­nesses on the west side of Hudson Street in New York City in 1865. (©Collection of The New-York Historical Society)

Chapter 15 Transforming Fire: The Civil War, 1861-1865

Among

Northern

Workers

war did not suffer as much as their counterparts did in the South. "We have seen," one magazine observed, "a stout matron whose sons are in the army, cutting hay with her team ... and she cut seven acres with ease in a day, riding leisurely upon her cutter."

Northern industrial and urban workers did not fare as well. After the initial slump, jobs became plen­tiful, but inflation ate up much of a

■• »,l,,llll,lin........11 worker's paycheck. The price of cof-

New Militancy r UJ i , • j l j .________ tee had tripled; rice and sugar had

doubled; and clothing, fuel, and rent had all climbed. Between 1860 and 1864 consumer prices rose at least 76 percent, while daily wages rose only 42 percent. Workers' families consequently suffered a substantial decline in their standards of living.

As their real wages shrank, industrial workers lost job security. To increase production, some employers were replacing workers with labor-saving machines. Other employers urged the government to promote immigration to secure cheap labor. Workers re­sponded by forming unions and sometimes by striking. Skilled craftsmen organized to combat the loss of their jobs and status to machines; women and unskilled workers, who were excluded by the craftsmen, formed their own unions. In recognition of the increasingly national scope of business activity, thirteen occupa­tional groups—including tailors, coal miners, and railway engineers—formed national unions during the Civil War, and the number of strikes climbed steadily.

Employers reacted with hostility to this new labor independence. Manufacturers viewed labor activism as a threat to their freedom of action and accordingly formed statewide or craft-based associations to coop­erate and pool information. These employers shared blacklists of union members and required new workers to sign "yellow dog" contracts (promises not to join a union). To put down strikes, they hired strikebreakers from among blacks, immigrants, and women, and sometimes used federal troops to break the will of unions.

Despite the unions' emerging presence, they did not prevent employers from making profits, nor from profiteering on government contracts. Unscrupulous businessmen took advantage of the suddenly immense demand for army supplies by selling clothing and blan­kets made of "shoddy"—wool fibers reclaimed from rags or worn cloth. Shoddy goods often came apart in the rain; most of the shoes purchased in the early months of the war were worthless. Contractors sold inferior guns for double the usual price and passed off tainted meat as good. Corruption was so widespread that it led to a year-long investigation by the House of Representatives. A group of contractors who had de­manded $50 million for their products dropped their claims to $17 million as a result of the findings of the investigation. Those who romanticize the Civil War era rarely learn of these historical realities.

Legitimate enterprises also made healthy profits. The output of woolen mills increased so dramatically that dividends in the industry nearly tripled. Some cotton mills made record profits on what they sold,
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