This chapter focuses on the optimism of farmers and planters in the Confederacy amid the possibilities of war and disunion. As the fateful year of 1861 began, many southerners worried about the looming conflict and anxiously awaited the course of events. Farmers hoped for the best politically but feared the worst as the South moved irrepressibly toward civil war. Overall, however, farmers and planters remained optimistic. They considered agriculture to be another form of southern power that would command national and international respect and recognition if war could not be averted. Despite some early apprehensions about cotton production, by June, the South's agricultural abundance seemed beyond question. The rest of this chapter provides an overview of developments related to the Civil War, the problems that beset farmers and planters at the time, and the increase in impressment and agricultural and food prices.
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