TIL: stereotypes about “stupid, lazy Southerners” in the US were caused by centuries of hookworm infection which causes lethargy, anemia and iron deficiency. These, in turn, negatively affect growth and intellectual development in children.

Read more: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/how-a-worm-gave-the-south-a-bad-name/

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  1. Here’s one reason the early Republicans hated slavery.

    A rich slave owner would hire skilled workmen from Europe. Say a carpenter, a glazier, and a blacksmith. He’d contract them for ten years; thye’d live on his plantation, eat in the big house and have all the comforts. All they had to do was work, and train some slaves to do their jobs. It was a great deal for the craftsmen.

    When they went home, the slave master had a dozen highly skilled craftsmen he could hire out for half the money a free man would want. It made no sense for a poor white to try and better himself by learning a trade, because the slave master could always undercut him.

  2. There were also a lot of cases of pellegra, caused by too much grain and an overall poor diet. Those in the south often worked very, very hard. Especially down in the coal mines. There is no harder work.

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