The Economics of the Civil War

1. How Did the North Win?

U.S. HistoryWar and Foreign Policy

01/19/2005Audio/Video
The Economics of the Civil War should instruct us in ways that the history of the Civil War might not. Cotton had much to do with what the war was about. Slavery as a cause of the Civil War is a modern development. How did the Union win the war? How did the aftermath of the war affect our own lives...

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2. Economic Tools for Understanding the War

U.S. EconomyU.S. HistoryWar and Foreign PolicyPhilosophy and Methodology

01/26/2005Audio/Video
Opportunity cost is the proper economic basis for specialization and trade in resources. Opportunity cost is the highest value you give up when you make a choice. It was Confederate government policy that caused misallocations on the part of the South, making it inefficient and wasteful. A few of...

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3. The Union Blockade and Southern Strategy

U.S. EconomyU.S. HistoryWar and Foreign Policy

02/02/2005Audio/Video
Tariffs were generally favorable for the North and unfavorable for the South. They were a key political battle for forty years. The Union General Scott developed the anaconda plan to squeeze the breath out of the South. The Union Blockade was the first part of that plan. This battle at sea won the...

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4. The Rhett Butler Effect

U.S. HistoryWar and Foreign Policy

02/09/2005Audio/Video
Blockade boat owners turned to engines for speed instead of sails. Blockade running became more expensive as the blockade became stricter. Certain prices increased much faster and higher. Most goods desired in the South had to be imported.

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5. Confederate Blockade of the South

U.S. EconomyU.S. HistoryWar and Foreign Policy

02/16/2005Audio/Video
The Confederate government blockaded the Southern economy by bad policies like impressment and trying to run the blockade themselves. The government declared that fifty percent of all cargo space had to be for the Confederate government.

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6. Inflation: North and South

Money and BanksWar and Foreign PolicyCapital and Interest TheoryMoney and Banking

02/24/2005Audio/Video
Inflation is a giant rip off, a stealth tax stealing purchasing power. Money is not neutral. The first receivers of new money benefit. Savers and those on fixed incomes struggle. From 1857 until the war was a period of “free banking” where the fed had nothing to do with the banks and...

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7. The Cost and Consequences of the Civil War

U.S. HistoryWar and Foreign PolicyAustrian Economics OverviewPolitical Theory

03/03/2005Audio/Video
There was a sea change in money and banking in the U.S. as a result of the Civil War. Government became the primary regulator. Metal coins gave way to paper. Mistakes of one bank infected others – it was contagion...

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8. The Civil War and the Growth of Government

U.S. HistoryWar and Foreign PolicyPolitical Theory

03/09/2005Audio/Video
Black reconstruction after the Civil War did much better than the dire predictions made. The black population recovered quickly. Many moved to urban areas. They deliberately had fewer children. Mortality declined. Income increased. No government assistance was handed out.

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