January 17, 1866
According to The Dispatch, the economic and populous advantage that the South has over the North suggests that the South will hold more economic power than the North in coming years.
The proton of the country known as "the South" embraces eight hundred and fifty thousand square miles, and is as large as Great Britain, France, Austria, Prussia, and Spain, with a most productive soil and genial climate; with staple productions which none of those great countries can grow ; with three thousand miles of coast line, indented with bays and crowded with islands; and its vast centre watered by the Mississippi, into whose bosom are poured thirty-six thousand miles of tributary streams. The total agricultural productions of the United States for 1850 amounted to 1,164,000000 ; of this sum the North produced, in round numbers, 6,400,000 and the South 5,600,00000. Population of the North in 1860 was 13,327,20; population of the South, 9,664,656. The North had a deficiency in 1850 of agricultural production to the value of $6,105,563; the South a surplus of $124,855,712, or each person at the North consumed thirty-eight cents more than he produced ; at the South each person produced twelve dollars and ninety cents more than he consumed. These facts are now referred to for the purpose of showing how idle it is to despond of the future of a region which possesses such enormous elements of natural wealth, and whose exports at the period above mentioned were three times as great as those of the whole United States ten years after the Revolutionary war. The recuperation powers of such a region must be perfectly incalculable. With the introduction of capital and immigration from the North and from Europe, all traces of the late war will be obliterated in fine years. Every year that succeeds will witness such a march of prosperity and population as even the Western States have never equalled. With the removal of slavery the energies and enterprise of the whole world will seek a field of action within our borders. If we will only give up the barren pursuits of politics, and turn in to hard work the end go the present century will see the South the most prosperous and densely populated portion of the American Republic.
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“The South,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed September 30, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/30.