History of the United States Life After Reconstruction

"There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind…"
This was the opening of the film Gone with the Wind (1939) and this quote tried to portray the beginning of a new era for the south, an era of development. Major advancements economically and industrially were both seen during the time of Reconstruction. These years that followed the Civil war were the time when remarkable expansion and progress took place in the industrial and agricultural sector. Major industrial advancements were seen in textiles, coal, iron, and steel, and railroads and the trend and methods of agriculture also changed.
After the war there had been much destruction and the transportation and communication systems of the South were damaged and in very bad shape. People in the south first started not only to reconstruct the railroads but at the same time worked for its rapid expansion. Form the time the war had ended that is 1965 till the end of the 1880s the miles of the track was increased and during this period 40 000 miles of track had been laid. This was a major development because before the war there were only 10000 miles of track which means that there was an increase of 30000 miles.
Before the war, there were no textile mills in the South. Cotton which was grown was hardly worked upon in South but it was rather sent outside either to France or to England for processing. The improving of the transportation system and with it the awareness regarding investment industrialists diverted their attention towards the building of textile mills. People from all walks of life in the south started their investments in the cotton mills. This also attracted attention from outside South and textile mill owners from New England due to their internal problems with the labor also started their work in the South. By 1890 there were 400 cotton mills operating in the South. In the 1880s southern textile mills were constructed in the Piedmont Region. These mills provided job opportunities and people from countryside moved to cities. The labor that was hired comprised mainly of whites. The mill owners did this to actually prevent the revolting of their labor because if they would try to form unions the mill owners would start appointing the blacks. They did this for their own benefit.
Tobacco which was through an important crop of the south but still much development had not taken place in this sector. Before the war, there had been very few processing units for tobacco and like cotton, tobacco was also sent either to the south or to Europe for processing. With progress in other industrial sectors, this sector was also worked upon and tobacco processing plants were also built. This process of construction started in 1870 and it increased till the end of the 19th century. With the invention of the cigarette making machine, the tobacco business became more active.

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