Defenders of Dixie
Because of cotton’s importance to Mississippi’s economy, farmers relied heavily on African American slave labor. The majority of white settlers were not slaveholders; however, they lived in a society that revolved around slavery and large plantations. Half of the millionaires in the United States at this time lived in Mississippi, and most had accumulated their wealth through the cotton trade. When abolitionists argued against the expansion of slavery, Mississippians pushed into Texas to shore up their culture against perceived Northern hostilities. This same sentiment led them to join the Confederacy during the Civil War.