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Civil War and Reconstruction
The North During the Civil War
Decline of the Southern Trade Affected the North

A WPA Federal Writer's Project worker interviewed a shoemaker in Lynn, Massachusetts, during the 1930s. In the following excerpt from American Life Histories, 1936-1940, the unnamed shoemaker recalls a small bit about the impact of the Civil War on his city. What impact did it have, from the shoemaker's point of view? What other effects might the war have had on an industrial city such as Lynn?

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"Nahant want [wasn't] built up like 'tis taday. There wuz one big hotel though, that the southerners usta come ta before the Civil War. In my day it had gone down hill, cause the Civil War had spoiled the southern trade. When them people lost their slaves they lost their money and they din't travel an' spend money. Yes, Nahant felt the results a the Civil War. That hotel was finally somehow split in two parts and floated across the Lynn harbor on a raft an' part of it is still standin' down near the beach. Last I knew, there wuz a number a Italian families livin' in it. The other part a that hotel went to anuther part a Lynn. It wuz soon after the Civil War that the machine age begun an' the shoe business grew."
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View the entire interview from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940 . Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.