The Southern Colonies

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Describe the economy of the Southern colonies.

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The economy of the southern colonies can be described as agrarian. This means that nearly all business was done through farming and other agricultural areas. Throughout the early 1800s, cotton became the largest crop in the world. It even outperformed all the other crops combined. This is partially because the climate in the southern colonies was suitable to crops like cotton. Moreover, the southern colonies possessed free labor through the use of slaves. The southern economy adopted the plantation style economy with generations of powerful families living on a working farm.

By essentially eliminating the salary of employees through forced labor, the South was able to compete with the Northern colonies for a while. However, the Northern colonies were able to industrialize much quicker and ended up outproducing the South by the Civil War. The reluctance of the South to industrialize and to move away from slave labor, along with the destruction of the Civil War, were root causes for the economic troubles it faced after the war.

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