Prices shot up, and many basic foods were out of the price range of most Southerners.
Lacking the means to buy their own farms, black famers often turned to sharecropping. The growth of the Southern cotton industry served as an engine of growth for the entire nation's economy in the antebellum pre-war years.
They held that the right to own people was a property right, just like owning land or buildings. It improved commercial opportunities, the construction of towns along both lines, a quicker route to markets for farm products, and other economic and industrial changes.
The Transcontinental Railroad, also created during the war, failed to produce any economic gains until decades after its creation. In17 percent of the farming population held two-thirds of all acres in the rich cotton-growing regions of the South.
One group that tends to be vulnerable to a sudden rise in prices is wage earners.
Sugar and tobacco became the most profitable to meet European demands for crops that did not grow in the colder European climate. Republican Congresses during the Civil War passed a series of laws that restructured the relationship between the government and the market and set the stage for the Gilded Age.