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Economics of Antebellum African-American Slavery

Was the Civil War About Slavery?

Taught By Ty Seidule

Course Description

What caused the Civil War? Did the North care about abolishing slavery? Did the South secede because of slavery? Or was it about something else entirely...perhaps states' rights? Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, settles the debate. Transcript


For more information on the Civil War, check out The West Point History of the Civil War, an interactive e-book that brings the Civil War to life in a way that's never been done. Click here -> The West Point History of the Civil War .

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Measuring Slavery in 2011 Dollars - Measuring Worth

by Henry Louis Stephens, family is in the process of being separated at a slave auction. (Library of Congress)

Measuring Slavery in 2011 Dollars* by Samuel H. Williamson
MeasuringWorth, University of Illinois at Chicago, and


Louis P. Cain, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University,


Slavery was an ancient practice on the North American continent. Within the colonies that became the United States, slavery first appeared in Virginia in 1619.1 It was legal in all the British colonies, but it was practiced on a larger scale in what became the US South and the British Islands of the Caribbean. African slavery in the South was largely a response to the greater demand for labor on tobacco, rice, and indigo plantations. Northern farms were generally smaller, family-sized plots of land with the family supplying most of the labor. Before the American Revolution, there was no significant movement for abolition. By the early 1800s, most Northern states had passed laws in favor of abolition, but the acts called for gradual abolition.


In the South, on the other hand, slavery became an ingrained economic and legal institution. Slaves and their progeny were the property of an owner, and slaves were owned until they died. They could be bought and sold; their owners controlled their lives and those of their children. When slaves were sold, the contract was a legal document, even to the extent that a buyer could sue the seller if a slave was sold under false pretenses. Even slaves themselves had some protection under the law; they could not be abandoned or executed. Read more    Measuring

Measuring the Value of a Slave in 2011 dollars
Measuring Worth - Measuring the Value of[...]
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Slaves in South Carolina prepare cotton for the gin in 1862. (Timothy H. O’sullivan Library of Congress). Link to LOC

The Economics of the Civil War, Roger L. Ransom. Distinguished Professor and Edward A. Dickson Emeritus, U.C. Riverside

The Economics of the Civil War, Roger L. Ransom
The Economics of the Civil War, Roger L.[...]
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Slavery Historical Statistics, UCalRiverside-2003
Slavery Historical Statistics, UCalRiver[...]
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Aspects of Labor Economics, Published in 1962 by Princeton University Press

The Economics of American Negro Slavery: Robert Evans, Jr.

(p. 185 - 256) (bibliographic info) (download)

The Economics of American Negro Slavery 1830-1860
The Economics of American Negro Slavery [...]
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The Structure of Slave Prices in New Orleans 1804-1862 Kotlikoff1979 23p
The Structure of Slave Prices in New Orl[...]
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Five generations on Smith's Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina

Industry and Economy during the Civil War, By Benjamin T. Arrington, National Park Service

Industry and Economy during the Civil War
National Park Service
Industry and Economy during the Civil Wa[...]
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April 1, 1861: Economics of slavery

April 1, 1861: Economics of slavery, by Allen Gathman, Apr-01-2011

April 1, 1861_ Economics of slavery
April 1, 1861_ Economics of slavery _ Se[...]
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Arkansas History and Culture website
Slave prices and productivity in the 18th century at the Cape of Good Hope: winners and losers from the trade
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Traders’ Incentives and Pricing New Orleans Slave Market
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The Occupations of Slaves Sold in New Orleans
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General William Tecumseh Sherman, Atlanta
Civil War (US) (1861-65) New York Times
Civil War (US) (1861-65) New York Times.[...]
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