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Engines of RedemptionRailroads and the Reconstruction of Capitalism in the New South$
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R. Scott Jr. Huffard

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469652818

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469652818.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Fighting the Octopus

Fighting the Octopus

(p.198) Chapter Seven Fighting the Octopus
Engines of Redemption

R. Scott Huffard Jr.

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the creation and expansion of the Southern Railway corporation and the ways in which the corporation overcame anti-monopoly sentiment in the South. While the company styled itself as an embodiment of the New South, northern capitalist J.P. Morgan financed its reorganization, and its expansion engendered resistance in Georgia and North Carolina. This chapter traces the origins of this company in the economic depression and wave of railroad bankruptcies in the 1890s and notes the attempts to brand this new company as a southern enterprise under the leadership of its first president Samuel Spencer. The chapter then traces resistance to the new company in Georgia and North Carolina, two states in which the Southern Railway tried to purchase other railroads. Foes of the railroad, which formed a broad coalition of Populists, Democrats, and other anti-monopolists, labelled the road as an “octopus” for its monopolistic tendencies. In two case study states – Georgia and North Carolina – appeals to white supremacy and elections marked with violence, as in the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, defeated the anti-monopoly critique and preserved the power and size of the Southern Railway.

Keywords:   Southern Railway, Octopus, Samuel Spencer, Monopoly, Populism, Anti-monopoly, Panic of 1893, Wilmington Massacre, White supremacy, Corporate Consolidation

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