Preserving Our Civilization
The American South endured total war, death and impoverishment as few countries had done throughout recorded history. This is an irreversible stain on the history of the United States far worse than the slavery system inherited from the British; behind the mayhem, destruction and desolation stood Abraham Lincoln and his revolutionary cohorts.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute 
Preserving Our Civilization:
“When the South emerged from the great crucible of war she was desolated as no conquered country of modern times has been by a victorious enemy. It was the boast of one Federal commander that he had laid waste the country to such an extent that it would be necessary for a crow in flying over to carry his rations with him. Another stated that in one State he had taken $20,000,000 worth of property and destroyed $100,000,000 more.
No such wholesale sacking had been witnessed since Cortez and Pizarro submerged the civilizations of Mexico and Peru beneath waves of fire and blood.  After the War Between the States the planters were impoverished and in debt, their fences gone, their fields grown up, their houses in many cases burned, their implements scattered and destroyed, their mules and horses lost, and labor demoralized. There was no money in the South and State banks of issue were prohibited.
The State governments were seized by carpet-baggers and no one’s property was secure, no man’s life safe, and no woman’s virtue sacred. Pillage, bribery and corruption held high carnival in the State-houses, and justice was bought and sold. The State debts of the South, which at the time of the close of the war amounted to $87,139,933.33 were raised to $380,160,575.13, an increase of $293,020,641.80.
Bonds were issued upon every possible pretext. The money for which those bonds were sold went into the pockets of the plunderers. For a generation after this terrible war the strongest men, best brain and highest talent of all patriotic Southerners were devoted to the herculean and desperate task of preserving our civilization. 
(Annual Agricultural Resources and Opportunities of the South, J. Bryan Grimes, Farmers’ National Congress speech, 1901, pp. 8-9)