Bob, please support this point with some evidence, as the ground-breaking work by the "econometric" historians of the mid-60s like Robert Fogel would contradict your thesis. Fogel's important book, Time on the Cross, used statistics (what he called "cliometrics") to disprove the myth that slavery would have died out if left alone. Southern apologists have advanced this argument to show themselves as victims of an overeager, aggressive North, when in fact slaves were rising in value before the war.
Originally Posted by bob 125th nysvi
As to your point about mechanized farming, it did not happen for cotton during the 19th Century; it continued to be picked by hand until the mid-20th Century. Indeed, a mechanical picker wasn't invented until 1948. Mechanization of agriculture on the plains and elsewhere is probably one contributing factor to the South's relative backwardness and poverty after Reconstruction, as the nation's bread basket became wealthy, while cotton continued to be undervalued (especially with competition from foreign producers). Your thesis doesn't seem to apply to an agriculture focused on crops like sugar cane and cotton that required large amounts of cheap labor.
Last edited by Bill_Cross; 07-31-2006 at 11:40 AM.
Treasurer, The Rowdy Pards
'In the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of tomfoolery can explain away anything that makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong."