In what ways did the New South parallel and differ from the Old (Antebellum) South?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were some similarities and some differences between the South before the Civil War and the South after the Civil war. The old South and the new South had some similarities. One of the similarities was that the attitudes of many white southerners didn’t change regarding African-Americans and support for certain policies. Before the Civil War, many southerners supported slavery, nullification, states’ rights, and secession. After the Civil War, the southerners tried to elect many of the same representatives to Congress who served before the Civil War who believed in these concepts. Negatives attitudes toward African-Americans and towards changing some policies existed in the South for a long time after the Civil War ended.

Another similarity and this is also tied to the attitudes, was to try to keep African-Americans from making progress. After the Civil War, many white southerners opposed giving the Freedmen’s Bureau more power. This agency was designed to help the former slaves. White southerners devised ways to restrict African-Americans from using the rights they had gained from Reconstruction. Poll taxes and literacy tests were used to prevent African-Americans from voting. Jim Crow laws were passed to segregate the races. It wasn’t until the 1960s that these restrictions were ended. Sharecropping was a system of farming that kept the former slaves in a condition similar to slavery. Many sharecroppers, including African-American sharecroppers, were deeply in debt to the white landowners. This resistance toward helping African-Americans existed in the South for a long time after the Civil War ended.  

Two differences from pre-Civil War days to post-Civil War days were the change in the economy and the expansion of transportation. Prior to the Civil War, the South was mainly an agricultural-based economy. Most people in the South were farmers. There were few industries. After the Civil War and Reconstruction, the economy of the South became more diversified. The South, while still primarily agricultural, had more industries as new industries were built and developed. Additionally, transportation began to change in the South. As railroads expanded into the region, the South became less dependent on river travel than it was before the Civil War. It began to rely more on the railroads after the Civil War ended.

There were some similarities and some differences between the pre-Civil War South and the post-Civil War South.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two important differences between the New and Old Souths.  First, there was of course the fact that the New South did not have slavery.  Second, the New South had an economy that was starting to diversify.  The Old South had been the Cotton Kingdom while the New South had more manufacturing.

The major parallel between the two has to do with racial attitudes and hierarchy.  While slavery was no longer in existence, there was still deeply entrenched white supremacy.  White landlords continued to dominate over black sharecroppers.  Blacks were kept firmly subordinated to whites.  In this way, the New South was not that different from the Old South.

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