As the demand for cotton increased, more Southern states began to grow it. Due to the higher demand, the need for more workers also rose, increasing the number of slaves sold between the Southern states. Eventually, cotton would account for two-thirds of all US exports.
The cotton economy in the South would have not been possible without the textile mills in the North and Great Britain. One southerner would state “Cotton is King”, which is where the term King Cotton originated from.
Most white Southerners did not actually own any slaves, and only less than 5% of the Southern population owned more than 20 slaves. The picture that you see of plantation life in the movies was in all actuality, a very small percentage of the population. Still, white supremacy and patriarchy were predominant in the Southern states.
Unlike the North, the Southerners did not try to push for education reforms. The illiteracy rates would stay high in the South.