Atticus Finch wrote: ↑Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:05 pm
I also wonder if the south did secede from the Union will slavery still be in existence or would it have faded away over time.
As you might expect, I tend to see a lot of those things through the lens of economics. The opposition to slavery was on moral grounds, of course. But at the same time, the invention of the cotton gin and other continuing improvements in agricultural technology over the 20-30 years following the Civil War would have rendered slavery a huge competitive liability. The appeal of slavery was that it gave slave owners free labor, and gave them a competitive advantage over farmers who had to pay farm hands. But if in a period of a few years your competitive advantage in labor cost was undercut by a dramatic margin due to the cotton gin and other types of equipment, suddenly, feeding slaves is not such a great business to be in.
Secondly, though I am not going to take time to come up with data to support this, I would speculate that had the South been able to win in the civil war and actually become a viable independent country, trade restrictions from the North and from European countries that had mostly already outlawed slavery, would have made it economically disastrous to continue to pursue slavery. I don't remember the relative population or wealth gap between north and south, but most of the money, manufacturing know-how and population were concentrated in the north. Additionally, the North had iron ore and other natural resources to support manufacturing that the South lacked.
The customers for the South's slave-grown cotton would have been in a separate country with a well-defended border to prevent slave cotton from being smuggled in to Northern factories. Northerners would have been able to invest in cotton production in Latin America to replace what they lost from the South in a post-Civil War embargo. And Southerners would have had a tough time importing railroad equipment and other equipment to build their infrastructure, since export of those types of materials would have been emabargoed by the North.
So my take would be that slavery was already on its last legs and would have disappeared in another couple decades due solely to economic forces. It certainly wouldn't be in effect today had the South prevailed in the Civil War and remained a separate country until today.