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     Prior to the start of the Civil War, the South was very different from their northern countrymen.  The South had few large cities and virtually no industry.  Life in the south centered around agriculture and the production of cotton.  This "Cotton Kingdom" was dotted with small farms and large plantations dedicated to the production of this most profitable crop.  The South's economy

was totally dedicated to keeping the institution of slavery legal.  Without slaves they would not be able to produce as much cotton, and thus profits from the sale of cotton would decrease.  In the south one would find two types of plantations both large and small.  Large plantations were plantations which had 100 or more slaves.  This included about 1,100 southern families.  There were also about 1 million southern families that owned 1 or 2 slaves.  The majority of white southerners were poor did not own plantations or slaves.  Still they supported slavery because they did not want to be the lowest members of society.   


By the 1840's, the South produced more than 50% of the world's cotton supply.  The invention of the Cotton Gin made cotton extremely profitable for plantation owners.   It also increased the South's desire to keep slavery legal, because their economy depended on slave labor.