Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
1860 was a census year. Census marshals spread out across the United States to record many different aspects of American society, including information on population, agriculture and, most importantly for this study, manufacturing. The antebellum Gulf South has traditionally been viewed as a region with little industrial development. But, both contemporaries and historians based their view of industry in the Gulf South on what was recorded in the census schedules. Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas were portrayed in the census as areas with little industrial development. But, as many historians have discovered, there were errors in the 1860 census, especially errors of omission. The geography, resources, and people of the Gulf South gave the region the potential to create many manufacturing concerns that could have supported economic development and perhaps the future war effort. This dissertation argues that the census understated industry in the Gulf South states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. This has given us a distorted view of the antebellum South. The region was not as agrarian as the census would lead us to believe. Other primary sources, such as newspapers, journals, local histories, city and county directories, and the R. G. Dun credit reports allowed the recovery of many of these missing firms. Census marshals missed almost 20% of the industrial concerns that existed in these three states. Moreover, the Gulf South depended less on imports and industry was more geographically diffuse and locally intensive than historians gave it credit for. The South did not have the industry to win the Civil War, but, perhaps, these missed firms can help explain how the Confederacy persisted through four years of conflict with little outside support.
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Frawley, Michael Sean, "More Than Met the Eye: Industry in the Antebellum Gulf South" (2014). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 2488.