Wealth Distribution map of U.S. in 1870

Discussion in 'History & Past Politicians' started by kazenatsu, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Donor

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    This map is pretty interesting. It's a distribution of wealth map of the United States in 1870. It was compiled from data from the country's ninth census, using population information and valuations from tax records.

    [​IMG]

    Darker orange means more wealth per capita.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
  2. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Donor

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    If you look at that map, one of the things that can be seen is there were some very wealthy spots in the South (Richmond, Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans, and along the Mississippi River, but overall, much of the area in the South was much more sparsely populated. (This was probably due to the rugged more mountainous terrain in more central geographic areas, as well as the summer heat and humidity)

    A good part of the reason the South lost the Civil War may have had to do with geography - the North simply stretched out longitudinally wider than the South.

    The North had just developed railroads, while the South was still largely dependent on shipping by sea and steamboats on the Mississippi River. The railroads allowed the North to rapidly connect the Midwest region economically to the coastal cities in the Northeast.

    The South may have had higher precipitation (rainfall) but it also had more heat that could cause draughts. This would have made a nearby supply of irrigation water essential in many areas of the Deep South, limiting the areas that could be put under agriculture. (The areas of the Deep South with the highest precipitation also had intense humidity, which being very uncomfortable probably limited labor efficiency, as well as the presence of malaria, so many of these areas were relatively off-limits)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  3. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Donor

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    Disease and parasites may have also had something to do with it.

    For more than three centuries, a plague of unshakable lethargy blanketed the American South.

    It began with "ground itch", a prickly tingling in the tender webs between the toes, which was soon followed by a dry cough. Weeks later, victims succumbed to an insatiable exhaustion and an impenetrable haziness of the mind that some called stupidity. Adults neglected their fields and children grew pale and listless. Victims developed grossly distended bellies and emaciated shoulder blades accentuated by hunching. All gazed out dully from sunken sockets with a telltale "fish-eye" stare.

    The culprit behind "the germ of laziness", as the South's affliction was sometimes called, was Necator americanus —the American murderer. Better known today as the hookworm, millions of those bloodsucking parasites lived, fed, multiplied, and died within the guts of up to 40% of populations stretching from southeastern Texas to West Virginia. Hookworms stymied development throughout the region and bred stereotypes about lazy, moronic Southerners.

    While the South eventually rid itself of hookworms, those parasites cost the region decades of development and bred widespread misconception about the people who lived there. Yet hookworm has not been defeated for good. Today, hundreds of millions of people in dozens of nations around the world suffer from hookworm infection. The South's experience, measured in both its successes and pitfalls, can provide a rough blueprint of how to seek out and quash this "American murderer"—no matter where it is found around the world.​

    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/how-a-worm-gave-the-south-a-bad-name/
    How a Worm Gave the South a Bad Name, Rachel Nuwer, April 27, 2006, PBS NOVA

    I suppose it had something to do with the South's hotter subtropical climate and humidity. This was also a problem in other parts of the world, and kept large European settler populations from living there.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
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  4. Farnsworth

    Farnsworth Active Member

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    Before the Civil War and the plundering, the South had the highest per capita wealth, though it was concentrated in only some 2,500 families. The hookworm epidemic was in fact discovered by and later eliminated by researchers funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1920's, an irony given how much the Rockefellers are hated by southerners and populists in general.

    As for European settlers, many couldn't and didn't want to compete with slave labor, hence they settled in the mountains or further north; one town of German settlers closed down and left because the state of Georgia wouldn't allow them to ban slavery in their county. As for poor immigrants, the levees along the Mississippi and the swamps are filled with the skeletons of Irish and German laborers, buried were they dropped dead building them; blacks were too valuable to risk in such dangerous labor as well as the more dangerous jobs on the loading docks, whereas white labor was cheap, plentiful, and desperate. See Fredrick Law Omstead's diary on his trip through the South to Texas for a lot more on this and other Fun Facts about slavery. Yes, it's the famous architect and abolitionist Omstead that designed and built Central Park in NYC and other projects.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
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  5. Wildjoker5

    Wildjoker5 Well-Known Member

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    Funny thing about wealth and "inequality", You cant really go down past 0, but upwards movement is infinite. Especially being taken off the gold standard and just making money from thin air, those who apply themselves, or get lucky, can and will just keep going up leaving those who chose to be poor in their dust.

    Also, there needs to be an accounting for inflation. While those at 0 will stay at 0, those who had wealth back then would ultimately rise up in their wealth compared to todays standards.
     
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  6. Shook

    Shook Well-Known Member

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    The north was more industrial, had more money, so more taxes, more government-paid stuff like uniforms, guns and gear for soldiers.

    The South often had home-made uniforms, if they had uniforms at all, and they might only have consisted of a jacket dyed with vegetable dyes (like butternut or tannin from acorns), with homemade buttons, badges and adornments. A well-appointed Confederate uniform was a sign of wealth. What was pretty consistent were the shoes of the infantry, north and south, that actually predated the civil war in design and are, believe it or not, the same today as they were back then, albeit with synthetic instead of leather soles. I think the design actually dates back to the 1700's. I know they are good motorcycling boots. That's something to stick in your pipe and ponder.
     
  7. Farnsworth

    Farnsworth Active Member

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    It's been out there for a while now so I'm sure you're familiar with the L Curve of income distribution graph.

    http://www.lcurve.org/

    What happens to the 'median income' in a homeless shelter when Bill gates walks in?

    Does inflation, say a 50 per cent hike in gas and food prices, affect a family with $400K in income the same as it does a family with $40K in income? No, of course not; the $400 K family wouldn't even notice it, while the $40K family would definitely notice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  8. Farnsworth

    Farnsworth Active Member

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    Mass production of shoes in standardized sizes was implemented due to southern plantation owners placing large orders with northern shoe factories; same with 'ready to wear' clothing. Poor Southerners couldn't afford them; slaves were better dressed than the average white Appalachian.
     
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