The South As A Postwar Colony
 
From: Bernhard1848@att.net
 
The "war for emancipation" not only destroyed the Southern economy and impoverished the region, it also became a vehicle for New England’s commercial colonization of the South. This colony-status persisted through FDR’s first term as he recognized the South as America’s number one economic problem, though his solutions saddled the country with socialist solutions.
 
Bernhard Thuersam
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Wilmington, NC
www.CFHI.net 
 
The South As A Postwar Colony:
 
"The manufacturers and distributors of the North and various adjunct agencies are bleeding the South white.  The same may be said of a very large part of Southern industries, owned, as has been observed, in the North and operated by local overseers.  To a great extent the region is controlled by the absentee owners through their overseers and retainer agents.  These agents are the symbols of success in the South and the paragons of social life.  Their mansions stand on a thousand hills.  It is good to wine and dine with these genial, if patronizing, viceroys. The absentee overlords retain the best legal talent to help them with their battles in the courts and the legislatures. Other types of influential persons, good public relations men and lobbyists, are also retained.  Some of their retainers are always member of the legislatures. By selling some stock locally they raise up other friends and defenders.
 
Small wonder, then, that the corporations have exercised a large influence over law-making in the Southern States.  Too often they have been able to defeat measures objectionable to them – especially tax measures – and to promote those favorable to them.  Too often they have not been willing to pay their fair part of the cost of public services or a fair wage to their employees.  Such industries are of questionable value to a community.  The South has advertised its cheap labor, and industrialists from the North have tried to keep it so.  There are other differentials against the South, already noted, that have also been a factor in the lower wage scales of southern industry. The absentee masters of southern industry and the chain store magnates are interested in profits and not tin the welfare of the South.  This is natural, but it illustrates a fundamental weakness in an industrial system based on outside capital.  It would seem that those who gather their wealth from the South might reasonably be expected to give some of their educational benefactions to higher education in the South.  But their gifts have generally gone to northern institutions that are already rich compared with those in the South. Their contributions to cultural development, whether in the form of gifts or taxes, go largely to the North.
 
The North has not only held the South in colonial bondage, but it has been very critical of the South, even for conditions that inhere in such an economic status. It is doubtful if the British ever had a more superior and intolerant attitude toward the American colonists.  The “Southern outrages” complex, fomented by Radical politicians in the old Reconstruction days, has persisted. Incidents that have escaped editorial eyes if they happened in the North have been denounced as outrages if they occurred in the South. A public lynching in a well-known western state a few years ago did not evoke nearly as much condemnation as does the lynching of a Negro by a clandestine mob in the South.  The people of the North are not denounced as being crude and barbarous because of the persistent activities of murderous bands of racketeers in large northern cities."
 
(One Hundred Years of Reconstruction, A.B. Moore, 1943, Southern Historical Society Addresses)