The impact of the American Civil War on southern wealth

The conventional wisdom, among those that are even aware of it, is that the South lost the Civil Wad and “won” the aftermath of it. With the end of Reconstruction, the former Confederate states of America experienced a snapback to the bad old days. The planter aristocracy that had ruled much of the region prior to 1860 regained their power, blacks were terrorized and beaten into political nonexistence, and thereafter the region was preserved in amber until MLK Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement came along to help destroy Jim Crow.

[This paper](https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w22184/w22184.pdf) argues for a much more nuanced look on the assertion that planters of the antebellum south remained in power. For sure, there was a re-entrenchment for some old slave holders and plantation owners. Using heretofore unused methods, the authors show that economic mobility has been vastly understated by historians of the time period and that many of the old planter class *did* indeed lose their fortunes and status in the aftermath of the war and emancipation.

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