Sunday, December 03, 2006

Was Slavery on the Way Out in 1860? II

In an earlier post, I explained why I believed slavery was thriving as an economic institution immediately before the Civil War.

I'm pleased to see that Professor Link of the University of North Carolina is of the same opinion:

"Especially during [the 1850s], the Transportation Revolution expanded markets, spread commercial agriculture, fostered manufacturing, extended mining, and, not the least important, reinvigorated slavery's economic position. Wherever dynamic market forces made an appearance, slavery accompanied them, and, far from verging on extinction on the eve of the Civil War, the peculiar institution in Virginia remained adaptable, viable and modernizing. The evidence of slavery's resiliency can be found not only in rising slave prices but also in the use of slave labor for various enterprises."

William A. Link, Roots of Secession: Slavery and Politics in Antebellum Virginia (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press 2003), at 29.

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