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How did slavery restrict the South's ability to diversify its economy?

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annave | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 7, 2012 at 2:52 PM via web

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How did slavery restrict the South's ability to diversify its economy?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM (Answer #1)

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Slavery is said to have restricted the South's ability to diversify for two reasons.

First, it is said that slaves would have made bad industrial workers.  Slaves on plantations worked slowly and broke their tools as often as they could as a way of pushing back against their owners.  Slaves in factories could have done the same, causing much more destruction as they broke costly machinery.

Second, slavery meant that the South's capital was tied up in human beings.  Slaves cost a lot of money.  This meant that Southerners had to sink most of their money into buying slaves and therefore lacked the resources to do things like investing in factories.

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