Home / History / Southern whites believed that the emancipation of slaves would destroy the South's economy, due to what?
Southern whites believed that the emancipation of slaves would destroy the South's economy, due to what?
The large amount of capital invested in slaves and fears of integrating the ex-slave black population.
Slavery is fundamentally an economic phenomenon. Throughout history, slavery has existed where it has been economically worthwhile to those in power. The principal example in modern times is the U.S. South. Nearly 4 million slaves with a market value estimated to be between $3.1 and $3.6 billion lived in the U.S. just before the Civil War. Masters enjoyed rates of return on slaves comparable to those on other assets; cotton consumers, insurance companies, and industrial enterprises benefited from slavery as well. Such valuable property required rules to protect it, and the institutional practices surrounding slavery display a sophistication that rivals modern-day law and business.
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