In Planting a Capitalist South, Tom Downey effectively challenges the idea that commercial and industrial interests did little to alter the planter-dominated political economy of the Old South. By analyzing the interplay of planters, merchants, and manufacturers, Downey characterizes the South as a sphere of contending types of capitalists: agrarians with land and slaves versus commercial and industrial owners of banks, railroads, stores, and factories. His book focuses on the central Savannah River Valley of western South Carolina. An influential political and economic region and the home of some of the South's leading states' rights and proslavery ideologues, it also spawned a number of inland commercial towns, one of the nation's first railroads, and a robust wage-labor community. As such, western South Carolina provides a unique opportunity for looking at contrasting economic forces solely within the boundaries of the South--slavery vs. free labor, industrial vs. agricultural, urban vs. rural. A revisionary study, Planting a Capitalist South offers clear evidence of a burgeoning transition to capitalist society in the Old South.
History, Americas, United-States,