A History of Transportation in the Eastern Cotton Belt to 1860

Overview

A History of Transportation in the Eastern Cotton Belt to 1860 (1908) was Southern historian Ulrich Bonnell Phillips's first major monograph and has stood for over a century as one of the principal studies of transportation in the antebellum South. In this work Phillips (1877-1934) used a detailed exploration of the development of the railroad systems in Georgia and South Carolina to probe the structure, accomplishments, and limitations of the antebellum Southern economy.

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A History of Transportation in the Eastern Cotton Belt to 1860

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Overview

A History of Transportation in the Eastern Cotton Belt to 1860 (1908) was Southern historian Ulrich Bonnell Phillips's first major monograph and has stood for over a century as one of the principal studies of transportation in the antebellum South. In this work Phillips (1877-1934) used a detailed exploration of the development of the railroad systems in Georgia and South Carolina to probe the structure, accomplishments, and limitations of the antebellum Southern economy.

For Phillips the region's economic identity as a producer of staple crops determined its transportation priorities. He carefully outlined the restrictions and opportunities created by Southern geography, economy, and labor structure as a precursor to his examination of every railroad corporation established in South Carolina and Georgia before the Civil War.
If railroads represented an outstanding accomplishment of the South, Phillips argued, the railroads also demonstrated the limits of the antebellum economy. Although railroads were essential to the South's livelihood, the technological revolution did not transform the region or liberate it from the the cotton- and slave-based economy that Phillips believed stunted its growth. Phillips saw Southern railroads chiefly as an improvement in carrying staple goods to the coast-as part of a traditional economic system-rather than dynamically contributing to the region's evolution and diversification.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570039652
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

The accomplished historian Ulrich Bonnell Phillips held teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin, Tulane University, the University of Michigan, and Yale University. His other books include Life and Labor in the Old South and American Negro Slavery, long considered a basic text on the subject.

Aaron W. Marrs is a historian at the U.S. Department of State. He earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of South Carolina and is the author of Railroads in the Old South: Pursuing Progress in a Slave Society. Marrs also served as associate managing editor of The South Carolina Encyclopedia.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Series Editors' Preface xiii

New Introduction xv

Preface to the First Edition xxix

Introduction: Transportation in the Ante-bellum South: An Economic Analysis 1

The transportation problem 1

The staple-producing areas 1

Obstacles to intercourse; pine-barrens and mountain ranges 4

Centers of trade: seaports, river towns, railroad towns 6

Traffic demand 8

Effect of plantations and slavery upon availability of capital and labor 9

Natural facilities of transit 10

Canals and turnpikes 11

Railroads: problems of finance 13

Rivalry of the seaports for cotton-belt and western trade 17

Growth of the railroad system 17

Effects 20

Chapter I The South Carolina-Georgia Lowlands to the End of the Eighteenth Century 21

Coastal physiography 21

Character and needs of the plantations 23

Land and water transportation 25

Early road laws 27

Problems of road making and repair 28

Indian-trading bridle paths 31

The Santee River problem 34

The Santee Canal Company 36

The building, traffic, and abandonment of the Santee Canal 38

Coastwise traffic 44

Interests shifting 45

Chapter II The Uplands prior to the Railroad Era 46

Topography of the Eastern Cotton Belt 46

Settlement of the country 47

Legislative enterprises 50

Isolation of the Piedmont settlers 53

Demand for markets and transportation 53

The tobacco-producing economy 54

Transition to the cotton régime 56

Development of the road system 59

And of river improvements 64

Need for better facilities 66

Intensified after 1815 70

Flatboats, keel boats, steamboats, and team-boats 71

The Georgia Steamboat Company 72

Its capture by Charleston interests 76

Henry Shultz and his boom town of Hamburg 77

South Carolina governmental activity 83

State board of public works, 1819-1822 84

Scattered appropriations 89

Failure of the system 93

Georgia public works 100

Early exertions 103

State board of public works, 1825-1826; survey of the state 109

Specific appropriations 113

The Savannah River diplomatic problem 116

The Savannah and Ogeechee Canal 119

General view of transportation just prior to the railroad era 122

Chapter III The Building of the Charleston and Hamburg Railroad 132

Charleston's decadence and problems 132

Projects for stimulating trade 134

The launching of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, 1827-1828 137

The federal-aid episode 141

Reckonings as to horse and steam locomotive power 143

The route surveyed 144

Pile-built roadbed; character of the track 145

Early types of engines 148

Labor problems in construction 149

Experience earned; devices and system improved 152

A traveler's description of the road in 1834 157

The "inclined plane" at Aiken 159

Traffic and earnings, 1834-1839 160

Renovations and aspirations 161

Appendix I Abstracts of the charters of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company 163

Appendix II Passenger and freight regulations of the company, 1835 165

Chapter IV The Charleston and Cincinnati Project, and the Reorganized South Carolina Railroad Company 168

Charleston's further railroad ambitions 168

Piedmont and Western movements in response 169

Promotion of the branch road to Columbia 172

Transmontane plans Robert Y. Hayne 175

Survey and estimates 177

Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad Company chartered 180

The Knoxville Convention July, 1836 182

The Southwestern Railroad Bank 188

The Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Company buys the Charleston and Hamburg railroad, 1837 193

South Carolina indorses bonds for $2,000,000 195

Financial revulsion; death of Hayne 197

Progress of the Columbia branch 198

Transmontane project abandoned; merger of the South Carolina and the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad Companies, 1842 199

Traffic and earnings, 1840-1860 203

Problems of operation 204

Burden of the bonded debt 207

The Augusta bridge difficulty 207

The obstacle of the "inclined plane" 209

The Camden branch, and the neglect of betterments 211

A company crisis, 1849 212

Road and rolling-stock improvement 215

Rapid increase of traffic and profits 217

Summary of the South Carolina Railroad's career 218

Chapter V The Georgia Railroad and Banking Company 221

The launching of the Georgia Railroad project; the primacy of Athens 221

Charter, survey, and organization 227

Banking privilege secured 230

Roadbuilding and banking operations 232

Control of the company transferred to Augusta 238

Slow progress during the cotton depression 240

Extension to Atlanta completed, 1845 243

Traffic and earnings 244

Promotion of feeding lines 247

Operations; prosperity in the fifties 248

Chapter VI The Central of Georgia Railroad System 252

Stimulus from the activity of Charleston 252

Charter, 1833, survey, and subscriptions 255

Construction, begun in 1837, hampered by prevalence of hard times 259

Completed to Macon, October, 1843 263

Earnings 264

The railroad agitation in the Piedmont and southwest Georgia 265

The Monroe Railroad Company launched, 1833 266

Builds from Macon toward Atlanta, 1836-1844 267

Company goes bankrupt, 1845 269

Road acquired by the Macon and Western Railroad Company, and completed to Atlanta, 1846 270

The Ocomulgee and Flint fiasco 273

The launching of the Southwestern Railroad Company, 1845 275

Aid from Savannah and the Central of Georgia Railroad Company 276

Building of stem and branches 278

The Columbus connection 280

The Milledgeville and Eatonton branch 282

The branch of the Central to Augusta 283

General feeding-line policy of the Central 285

Prosperity of the company in the fifties 286

Friction with the Georgia Railroad Company 288

Problems of freight rates 292

Control of the Southwestern Railroad Company 294

Extension of southwestern branches 295

A scheme of "high finance" in the Macon and Western Company, 1859 296

Prosperity of the Macon and Western 299

Chapter VII The Western and Atlantic: A State-owned Railroad 303

Preliminary projects 303

The Macon convention, November 1836 307

The Western and Atlantic enactment, Dec. 21,1836 309

The financing system; the Central Bank 311

Panics of 1837 and 1839-1844 314

Delays in roadbuilding 314

Proposals to sell the road 316

The road completed, 1851 318

Operations and betterments 319

Public ownership problems and corporation alternatives 322

Freight-rate adjustments 327

Temporary and vested interests 328

Joseph E. Brown's régime 329

Wreckage in war and spoliation afterward 331

The leasing of the road, 1870 333

Chapter VIII Minor Roads and Later Projects 335

Piedmont feeding lines 335

Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad 337

Greenville and Columbia Railroad 341

King's Mountain Railroad 346

Laurens Railroad 347

Spartanburg and Union Railroad 347

Cheraw and Darlington Railroad 349

Later port roads 351

Wilmington and Manchester Railroad 352

Northeastern Railroad of South Carolina 354

Brunswick, Georgia, projects 356

Savannah, Albany, and Gulf Railroad 358

Florida projects 360

Systems parallel to the coast 361

Charleston and Savannah Railroad 363

Atlanta and West Point Railroad 365

Piedmont Air Line 366

Georgia Western Railroad 369

Transmontane enterprises 372

Hiwassee Railroad Company 373

East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad 374

Blue Ridge Railroad 375

Chapter IX Conclusion 381

Railroad conventions, 1856-1860 381

Through traffic systematized 383

Rate problems 384

Telegraph and express 385

Physical qualities of the cotton-belt railroads 386

Expectations and results from railroad operation 387

Influence of the slavery system as modifying railroad effects 388

Good- and ill-fortune of cities 390

The case of Atlanta 391

The case of the upper Piedmont country 393

The cotton-belt communities 394

General effects upon society, politics, and military strategy 395

Bibliographical Note 397

Index 399

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