By: Ryan O'Meara and Joe Bunnell
During the Civil War the south heavily depended on their slaves to farm. Slaves on plantations in the south farmed tobacco, cotton, rice, indigo, and sugar. Plantations can be defined as forced labor farms used to harvest crops. Typical plantations ranged from five hundred to one thousand acres and each acre produced around five thousand plants.
The geography of the Southern Colonies included fertile soil, hilly coastal plains, forests, long rivers and swampy areas. The climate of the Southern Colonies had mild winters, and hot humid summers which made it possible to grow crops throughout the year and was ideal for slave plantations.
During the eighteen hundreds, the production and distribution of cotton and tobacco was controlled by southern plantation owners. There were small plantations in the Caribbeans that did not produce enough crops to satisfy supply and demand, which left southern plantation owners with control over the market. Southern plantation owners were able to sell large amounts of cotton and tobacco to countries like England, France and Russia. Since these countries could not produce cotton and tobacco on their own, they relied on southerners to supply them and in return they gave them industrial machines to increase production at the cost of injuries to slaves.
By 1860 there was over 4 million slaves in the U.S. Around 60 percent worked with cotton.
Southern plantation owners used slaves to farm their plantations for a cheap way to get their products farmed and refined. Slavery began in the south when it became too expensive to pay for farmers trips to america and have have them in debt farm your fields. Soon slavery became common practice in the south because it offered cheap labor and low upkeep costs. Slaves were mainly captured by Portuguese merchants near Africa who then shipped them to the South. Later, when industrial machines became common on plantations slaves were forced to work the dangerous machines to refine the cotton into bales. Slaves were easily replaced and plantation owners could risk slaves lives for increased profit and easily replace them.
In the mid eighteen hundreds the production of cotton on southern plantations was not able to keep up with the demand from countries like France, Russia and England. Southern plantation owners began to try out different ways to increase cotton production and the new way that took hold of the south was the use of industrial machines. These types of machines would separate the cotton fibers from the seeds and produce a cotton bale in around 12 hours. Previously, cotton was separated by hand by slaves which could take up to six hundred hours to produce one cotton bale. While industrial machines dramatically increased production, they were extremely dangerous and caused may injuries. These machines1 were so dangerous that the slaves operating them usually lost fingers or even hands while operating the machines.
Scott's Great Snake also known as the Anaconda Plan was the blockading of the entire southern coast so southern rebels could not receive reinforcements from France or Britain. The Anaconda Plan placed Union ships along the entire southern coast to stop southern ships filled with cotton from reaching European ports in exchange for weapons and men which the south were in dire need for. The plan was instituted in eight teen sixty one and stopped Confederate ships filled with cotton from trading their goods for weapons. The Anaconda Plan effectively crushed southern trade with outside powers for weapons and was a major factor in the ending of the war. After the war southern trade never recovered from the blockade and old trading partners like France and England had found new cotton and tobacco suppliers leaving southerners out of people to sell cotton and tobacco to.