[Marxism] Fwd: How the South Won the Civil War - The New Yorker

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Nov 2 07:25:20 MST 2015

Even before the Civil War, the slave South and the free North weren’t so 
unconnected. A recent run of important historical studies have set 
themselves against the view of the antebellum South as a place apart, 
self-destructively devoted to its peculiar institution. Instead, they 
show, the South was essential to the development of global capitalism, 
and the rest of the country (along with much of the world) was deeply 
implicated in Southern slavery. Slavery was what made the United States 
an economic power. It also served as a malign innovation lab for 
influential new techniques in finance, management, and technology. 
England abolished slavery in its colonies in 1833, but then became the 
biggest purchaser of the slave South’s main crop, cotton. The mills of 
Manchester and Liverpool were built to turn Southern cotton into 
clothing, which meant that slavery was essential to the industrial 
revolution. Sven Beckert, in “Empire of Cotton,” argues that the Civil 
War, by interrupting the flow of cotton from the South, fuelled global 
colonialism, because Europe needed to find other places to supply its 
cotton. Craig Steven Wilder, in “Ebony & Ivy,” attributes a good measure 
of the rise of the great American universities to slavery. Walter 
Johnson, in “River of Dark Dreams,” is so strongly inclined not to see 
slavery as simply a regional system that he tends to put “the South” in 

full: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/02/the-price-of-union

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