Southern Society

Pre-Civil War

Political

  • Confederate States of America
  • government did not restrict citizens very much
  • no public school system
  • considered a separate country from the Union


Social

  • most led a simple farming lifestyle
  • literacy rate was lower than that in the North
  • families were patriarchal
  • blacks were regarded as subhuman
  • wealthy families were plantation owners with dozens of slaves
  • poor families owned small farms with no more than a couple of slaves
  • most white citizens owned no slaves
  • men defend honor through duels
  • women served mainly to maintain the household and raise the children
  • middle- and upper-class women were very similar to middle-class women in the North
  • poorer women served more as companions for their husbands
  • only right women have is to protection
  • higher birth rates but also higher infant mortality rates (1/2 of children died before age 5)
  • men often had sex with slaves, any children produced were also slaves
  • majority of poor population lived in disease and filth


Economic

  • driven by plantations and farms
  • cash crops (sugar, **cotton**, tobacco, etc.) produced the most revenue
  • factories and industries had very little effect on the South's economy
  • only "honorable" jobs were as planters or soldiers, so very few went into commerce and trade
  • presence of slaves allowed wealthy plantations to generate more profit
  • many wealthy plantation owners were new to money and thus did not know how to manage it properly or efficiently