The Cost of the Union: The Financial Magnitude of Abolition


David Brion Davis attempts to put a dollar value on the economic cost of abolition:

“Few wars in human history have led to such a radical outcome as the liberation of some four million slaves – which meant the confiscation without compensation, which had been paid in some form in most slave emancipations, of a hitherto legally accepted form of property. The slaves’ value came to an estimated $3.5 billion in 1860 dollars. That would be about $68.4 billion in 2003 dollars. But a more revealing figure is the fact that the nation’s gross national product in 1860 was only about 20 percent above the value of the slaves, which means that as a share of today’s gross national product, the slaves’ value would come to an estimated $9.5 trillion.

As investment capital, the value of the nation’s slaves in 1860 had far exceeded (by perhaps a billion dollars) the cash value of all the farms in the South, including the border states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. In 1860 the Southern slaves were also worth three times the cost of constructing all the nation’s railroads or three times the combined capital invested nationally in business and industrial property.”

The magnitude of the economic disaster inflicted on the South by Abraham Lincoln and the Union Army far exceeds virtually any natural disaster in American history.

Abolition alone was the equivalent of a $9.5 trillion dollar gut punch to the modern U.S. economy – that, of course, doesn’t even include the equally spectacular collapse of Southern improved real estate, or the cost of the 260,000 dead, or the cost of the lifetime healthcare of the 147,000 maimed and wounded.

It doesn’t include the social and economic cost of 147 years of the Black Undertow, the obliteration of the life savings of White Southerners when the Confederate dollar collapsed, the generational costs of a century of political subordination in the Union, or the loss of property to the vultures who swept into the South during Reconstruction.

The true cost of abolition is impossible to calculate. It would have to include the opportunity costs of abolishing slavery and destroying the South’s infrastructure and all the money that has been sunk into trying to achieve “equality.”

The creation of this Union in the first place was truly the worst thing that ever happened to us – and, let’s not forget, with every swipe of the SNAP EBT and every bang bang bang in Atlanta we are still paying the price.

It is sick that a monster like Abraham Lincoln who set the South back over a century would be celebrated by idiots as one of the greatest presidents of all time for “preserving the Union.”

All that for blasting the walls of “Fort Sumter” which had previously been a place of no importance – less valuable than a Pacific guano island – and was later used only as a deserted lighthouse!

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. Imagine the return on investment the south could have obtained on its own resources, it might have even looked something like the return on investment that the north did obtain.

    That said, the south still came out the overall best of the former slave states on planet earth, everyone else managed to destroy themselves in some fashion.

  2. Did not read the entire article, but will soon. These facts are abundantly clear and abundantly available to the general public, but no one gives a damn. That Lincoln’s War was a “power play” by a few vested financial interests in the non-South is without question. Had the non-South truly been interested in freeing the slaves they would have seen it done in a civilized manner such and indentured servitude, apprenticeship or tenant farming. They could have cared less. Slavery and the South were destroyed and their economy was destroyed. What did the “great emancipators” do for those they had allegedly freed? Absolutely nothing. They brought in their needed labor from “white Europe”.

  3. No, that did not happen, Mr. Anon. Virtually all of the Central and South American countries managed to peacefully end slavery without destruction or warfare of any kind.

    Brazil ended slavery in 1888, peacefully.

    I do not think slavery in the south would have lasted past 1888, most likely it would have ended piecemeal by the mid-1870s.

  4. And yet, knowing all this, having web stats on Black/White crime, and seeing the destruction of entire cities and states by the “Black Undertow,” we STILL have inane comments such as are found on left/liberal ‘’- such as this gem.

    Please, if you care to upset the apple cart, sign in, get a name, and start “Truth-telling,” via the comments sections. Y’all know the areas you have lived in, now live in, or MIGHT live in, that could use a dose of sanity from race realists, and not the wish-wash crowd.

    This site [] is a completely and utterly BIASED fount of disinformation, on entire communities, states, and counties in the USA, that merely preaches Obamanation PC up the wazoo; how can ANYONE determine where to live, when you can’t even quote police crime stats data, and racial demographics from their own sources, and not get ‘negative comments’?????

  5. “No, that did not happen, Mr. Anon. Virtually all of the Central and South American countries managed to peacefully end slavery without destruction or warfare of any kind.” – They still aren’t nice places to live, unless of course you are a member of the super wealthy, but then that tends to make life nice everywhere.

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