After the Civil War, a group of influential Southerners promised that a “New South” would rise, complete with new industries, factories and railroad lines.
Northern entrepreneurs began to pour money into Southern industry. Railroad companies laid more than 22,000 miles of new track, connecting the region to national markets. Iron production in Birmingham, Alabama rivaled that of Carnegie’s Pittsburgh Empire. Southern cotton mills soon outpaced their northern neighbors.
Yet for all the investment from the North, the economy of the “New South” continued to lag far behind that of the North in the years after the Civil War. While Northern industries and investors prospered off Southern products, a “New South” never really emerged.