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Agriculture and the ConfederacyPolicy, Productivity, and Power in the Civil War South$
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R. Douglas Hurt

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469620008

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469620008.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Agriculture and the Confederacy

R. Douglas Hurt

University of North Carolina Press

This book examines the decline and fall of agriculture in the Confederacy. On the eve of the Civil War, southerners considered cotton to be king. Below the Mason-Dixon Line, however, “agriculture,” primarily based on slavery – and collectively constituted from the major commercial crops of cotton, tobacco, rice, and sugar – more correctly deserved that sobriquet. Indeed, agriculture created the basis for prosperity in the South as small, diversified farms throughout the region raised a variety of crops to feed their owners' families and provide enough surplus for market. This book looks at agriculture in the Confederacy as an element of power by focusing on the most important aspects of production, transportation, labor, finance, and politics, along with the effects of military raids, impressments, and seizures by both Confederate and Union armies, among other considerations, on farmers and planters. It also considers Confederate agriculture in relation to the provision of food and forage to civilians and soldiers and to the Civil War's effects on food prices during the period.

Keywords:   agriculture, Confederacy, Civil War, South, power, military raids, farmers, civilians, soldiers, food prices

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