The South Destined for Political Independence


The political independence of the American South was not a new concept in 1861; by then the economic subservience to Northern commercial interests had become intolerable and drove the section out of the
voluntary Union. Northern abolitionists proposed no peaceful and practical solutions to African slavery, though New England cotton mills and Manhattan banks held the key to the financial prosperity of Southern planters. But the North would use African slavery to justify its destruction of the Southern economy, countryside and population, and as a moral shroud to veil the economic reasons for subjugation.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"


The South Destined for Political Independence:

“The continuance of national prosperity depended upon how long each section could maintain its essentially one-crop program. Cotton and tobacco were exchangeable for the output of steel mills, of furniture and clothing factories, and of the food-processing plants of the other States, but cotton and tobacco were soil-wasting crops.

But even before western expansion had gotten fairly under way, the South was at a disadvantage in trade and manufactures. In colonial times Southern planters were regularly debtors to London merchants. Early in
the nineteenth century the financial capital had shifted to New York.  [Thomas Hart] Benton in 1828 ascribed the cause to the tariff.  Expenditure, he said, “flows northwardly in one uniform, uninterrupted and perennial stream.  This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North.  Federal legislation does all this. It does it by the simple process of eternally taking from the South and returning nothing to it.”

[Robert] Toombs of Georgia in 1860 denounced the northern States for having, through legislation, monopolized at the beginning of the Union the business of shipbuilding and of the coasting trade.  The South was contributing to the cost of maintaining lighthouses and improving harbors, which was in effect, he charged, a Federal subsidy to the shipping interests.

“Even the fishermen of Massachusetts and New England,” continued the Georgia statesman, “demand and receive from the public treasury about half a million of dollars per annum as a pure bounty in their business
of catching cod-fish. The North, at the very first Congress, demanded and received bounties under the name of protection, for every trade, craft, and calling which they pursue, and there is not an artisan in brass, or iron, or wood, or weaver or spinner in wool or cotton, or a calico-maker, or iron-master, or a coal owner, in all the Northern or middle States, who has not received what he calls the protection of his Government on his industry to the extent of from fifteen to two hundred per cent from the year 1791 to this day.”

This was an overstatement, yet it expressed the conviction that the South was tied in chains of economic subservience to the industrial and financial system of the North, and that the only way to break those
chains was by declaring for political independence.”

(North Carolina, The Old North State and the New, Volume II, Archibald Henderson, Lewis Publishing Company, 1941, pp. 180-181)