How were the rural southerners affected by the rising industry in the New South?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When industry came to the South after Reconstruction, it came mainly in search of cheap labor.  This fact had a major impact on Southern workers (many of whom had been rural people).

When the factories came, poor whites came out of the backcountry and moved to the company towns in hopes of finding factory work.  Of course, the industrialists had come to the South for low costs and they were, therefore, going to pay low wages to these people.  The Southern workers got paid very little compared to Northern workers and had to live in company towns where they were often paid in credits that they could use at the company store.  These stores tended to charge high prices and kept the workers in debt to the company.

Overall, then, the coming of industry was not that great for the rural people who took jobs in the factories.  However, the factories (low as the pay was) were the best options open to many of these rural families.

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