For Spring Break, I visited Savannah, GA
. The city amazed me. I had no idea such a place existed. As insular, ill-traveled Alabamian, I had always figured the genteel, aristocratic antebellum South was a myth. There was certainly little evidence of it here in the "Heart of Dixie." Alabama has a few plantation homes, but the state has always seemed to be poor.
But Savannah, here was a genuine commerce capital of the pre-Civil War South. The city is absolutely beautiful. The houses are amazing, the foliage is comforting, and the parks are relaxing. I suppose, under any capitalist system, the wealth collects near the top, and the owners of the cotton companies had their offices at this important port. This wealth was compounded by the institution of slavery.
I have always found it interesting how certain social situations create beautiful buildings. The feudal system and a powerful Church resulted in the great palaces and cathedrals of Europe. Religious fanaticism and slavery produced the pyramids of Egypt. I know of no great monuments stemming from American Slavery, but apparently it produced some cool neighborhoods.
I would rather have a free people than pretty houses. Especially since chances would be against me actually living in one. I wonder what the future will think about the architectural artifacts of American 20th Century capitalism.