History of the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 731 pages of information about History of the United States.
marked.  In nine of them—­Delaware, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, and Arkansas—­the combined vote against the representative of the extreme Southern point of view, Breckinridge, constituted a safe majority.  In each of the six states which were carried by Breckinridge, there was a large and powerful minority.  In North Carolina Breckinridge’s majority over Bell and Douglas was only 849 votes.  Equally astounding to those who imagine the South united in defense of extreme views in 1860 was the vote for Bell, the Unionist candidate, who stood firmly for the Constitution and silence on slavery.  In every Southern state Bell’s vote was large.  In Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee it was greater than that received by Breckinridge; in Georgia, it was 42,000 against 51,000; in Louisiana, 20,000 against 22,000; in Mississippi, 25,000 against 40,000.

The effect of the Civil War upon these divisions was immediate and decisive, save in the border states where thousands of men continued to adhere to the cause of Union.  In the Confederacy itself nearly all dissent was silenced by war.  Men who had been bitter opponents joined hands in defense of their homes; when the armed conflict was over they remained side by side working against “Republican misrule and negro domination.”  By 1890, after Northern supremacy was definitely broken, they boasted that there were at least twelve Southern states in which no Republican candidate for President could win a single electoral vote.

=Dissent in the Solid South.=—­Though every one grew accustomed to speak of the South as “solid,” it did not escape close observers that in a number of Southern states there appeared from time to time a fairly large body of dissenters.  In 1892 the Populists made heavy inroads upon the Democratic ranks.  On other occasions, the contests between factions within the Democratic party over the nomination of candidates revealed sharp differences of opinion.  In some places, moreover, there grew up a Republican minority of respectable size.  For example, in Georgia, Mr. Taft in 1908 polled 41,000 votes against 72,000 for Mr. Bryan; in North Carolina, 114,000 against 136,000; in Tennessee, 118,000 against 135,000; in Kentucky, 235,000 against 244,000.  In 1920, Senator Harding, the Republican candidate, broke the record by carrying Tennessee as well as Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Maryland.

THE ECONOMIC ADVANCE OF THE SOUTH

=The Break-up of the Great Estates.=—­In the dissolution of chattel slavery it was inevitable that the great estate should give way before the small farm.  The plantation was in fact founded on slavery.  It was continued and expanded by slavery.  Before the war the prosperous planter, either by inclination or necessity, invested his surplus in more land to add to his original domain.  As his slaves increased in number, he was forced to increase his acreage or sell them, and he usually preferred the former, especially in the Far South.  Still another element favored the large estate.  Slave labor quickly exhausted the soil and of its own force compelled the cutting of the forests and the extension of the area under cultivation.  Finally, the planter took a natural pride in his great estate; it was a sign of his prowess and his social prestige.

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History of the United States from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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