This chapter describes the poor in North Carolina as the foundation upon which the state's modern social and economic order was built. That structure first took shape during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, as North Carolinians struggled over the organization of wealth and power in the new commercial economy that arose from the death of slavery. Change came about at a frenzied pace. Between 1880 and 1900, the state and private investors financed the construction of more than five thousand miles of new railroad that snaked through the countryside, linking once isolated communities to regional and national webs of trade. On the outskirts of small towns and cities, merchant entrepreneurs built cotton and tobacco factories that turned farmers' crops into profitable commodities, primarily cigarettes, thread, and cloth.
North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.