Secession and Civil War

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Why did the South lag behind the North in manufacturing during the Civil War?

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Manufacturing had always taken a back seat in the South. The northern colonies and later states did not have the climate and soil for vast commercial farming, and so had always been a society of small farms and towns with more manufactories than the South. The North needed grain from the Mid-Atlantic region, which needed the business of the North for it's grain production, but the South was self-sustaining in food production. The big business of the South was tobacco farming until the invention of the cotton gin, and then cotton became an economically viable mass product.

The real problem for the South was the manpower problem of mass cash crop farming in the 19th century, in other words, slavery. But since slaves were not machines they had to be fed, clothed, housed and otherwise taken care of. They were expensive to buy and expensive to maintain, and as human beings could not be simply treated as farm machinery. Plus large Southern farmers and plantation owners were always in debt to banks in the North for funds for the next year's farming. Capital was simply not available for investment in large manufacturing concerns.

Complicating this was the fact that Southerners preferred to buy manufactured goods from Europe, whose quality was higher than American made articles, and whose cost was lower. Unfortunately, the import tariffs on such goods were so high that the cost became much higher than Northern goods, and so Southerners were essentially forced by protectionist legislation to support the...

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