MGC HIST 2112 - Essay New South vs Old South

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ONLINE US History since 1865 Section 17 Spring 2020 COMarch 9, 2020Was the New South different from the Old South? Or Same Old Same OldHow different was the Old South from the New South? Chattel slavery ended after the Civil War,or did it? Was there any real change at all from the enslaved blacks of the old south and the freedmen? These questions are connected but will be addressed separately, because a single answer does not suffice the broader question—was the New South different from the Old South? There were certain radical changes in the New South which permeated to the rest of the country. Beyond the aspects of slavery, there were several monumental events which guided this transformation. The times were a changing, and the South had to change socially and economically to survive post-Civil War. The war had crumbled, burned, and decimated the South. The South was terribly poor and needed The North to survive. But if the South was going to be a part of the union, it had to be rebuilt. Reconstruction as it wastermed whether failure or success, was the pathway to remake a country that was almost torn apart trying to find its’ own identity. The Old South changed, but not everything at once.One of the greatest causes of the war was slavery. The South had some of the richest people in the country before the war in large part due to slavery. Slavery was not legal in the Northern states, and they wanted the south to end slavery. But, because slavery was such a strong economic driver, the South could not afford for it to end. Slavery was the lawful act of owning people and having them work for white Americans. In the Old South, the slaves were usually black people brought to America from Africa. The enslaved had no right to vote, marry, own land, pay, or citizenship. The slave was essential tomany Southern enterprises and its economy. And if the federal government was going to outlaw slavery,then the South chose to fight or secede than to defer to federal powers. Without diversified forms of economy, the South was willing to go to war to protect its greatest industry. But this was a catastrophic choice for the southern states. The Civil war decimated the South. Roads were destroyed, libraries were razed, and their life as they knew it was soon coming to an end. The South would be roundly defeated. But the South was not destroyed, just the old ways of living, the old ways of doing business. It was time for a new southern life, one beyond the old dixie and confederate way: enter the New South.The North (union forces) wanted to defeat the South, but not destroy it completely. The goal of the Union forces was to make the Confederate states part of the greater United States. The Old South had to be rebuilt. But this transformation was not swift. Blacks in the south were for the first time in American history lawfully free in the South. The vestiges of slavery, and the flippant disregard for the humanity of blacks was carried over from the Old South into the New South for many years after the war. The newly freed Blacks were still unable to vote, own property, to wed, to sue their masters and could not be in cohort with anyone trying to help them flee their “work.” Black children were permitted to work on plantations without the consent of their parents. The Black codes legalized another form of slavery and ownership; slavery was outlawed by name only, but the practice of slavery continued.Though some staples of the Old South remained, many things had to change for it to become a member of the United States. The New South having lost one of it’s primary economic drivers, started tobecome heavily dependent on the North. The North introduced the idea of a sort of secondindustrialization to the New South. This created new business leaders in Atlanta, as well as other cities and southern states on the east coast. New roads and railways were erected giving more people access to northern commerce and trade. But the Old South started dying off in broad daylight. Former plantation owners and slave owners suffered the same fate and went out of business. The second industrial revolution created several opportunities for southern people who were prepared to leave the agrarian culture and life behind, and eventually be the beginning of the end for the Old South. As industry radically changed, so too did political and social life. Though, President Andrew Johnson opposed the many bills written to emancipate black people, the course had already been set. Not even a presidential veto could stop the transformation within the country. The Civil Rights act of 1866, enabled blacks to now be considered full citizens of the United States: vote, own property, sue, and not be owned by anybody. Blacks could now hold public office. There were black US senators as wellas other members of representative government. These laws brought hope to one set of people, and absolute terror to another. The war had died, but The New South as envisioned by the north and the OldSouth were now at war. Many southern whites hated these laws, and violence erupted across the South.Blacks were turned away at the voting booth. Blacks were targeted and so were whites who supported the Civil Rights laws. The old south formed a militia to protect their social structures and their world view: the Klu Klux KIan. The KKK was a terrorist organization formed to intimidate and fight the federal government’s reformation of the Old South. The terror continued until Andrew Johnson had lost his nextelection.After President Johnson lost, there was a new sheriff in town: President Ulysses S. Grant. He sent troops to the south to stem KKK violence and insurrection. He passed even more laws to punish andput on trial any persons who donned the KKK uniform and hood. He also passed laws to strengthen and protect the civil liberties of blacks and later women. The Old South died, and a new one was born: The New

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