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Old Ways and New Realities

Old Ways and New Realities

(p.11) Chapter 1 Old Ways and New Realities
Builders of a New South
Aaron D. Anderson
University Press of Mississippi

The Natchez District, the wealthiest in the Cotton Belt, epitomized the “ascendancy” and domination of the wealthy cotton planter class. This chapter discusses the origins of the old mercantile order, and the nature of the economic system that was altered by the Civil War. From its colonial roots, the Natchez District was built upon the desire for trade and profits, and indeed European mercantilism preceded and fed the rise of cotton agriculture. The destruction of slavery shook the foundations of the old antebellum system of agriculture and trade, and while many basic market forces remained, new realities were emerging that changed the Southern economic landscape forever.

Keywords:   Natchez District, cotton planters, old mercantile order, economic system, slavery

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