DBWI: No southern textile industry

Starting in the 1840's with the introduction of steam powered factories, textiles became the major export for the southern US states. But what if the textile industry didn't exist or was much delayed? Is that even possible and how long could slavery have lasted if the South had remained almost exclusively agricultural?


You'd probably need to have Clay lose the 1844 election. He's the one who got that southern industry going, after all-- even if it was a bit of a clenched-teeth compromise. He wanted to implement his American System without favour for any region, but when it became clear that he'd never get any of it past Congress without southern support, he eventually agreed to cater to southern interest. What was it again? Nearly two thirds of the increased revenue from higher tarriffs spent to develop southern industry during Clay's eight years? I know, those numbers are disputed, but it wasn't that much lower-- although things of course evened out after Frelinghuysen succeeded Clay in '52. But by then, the south'd had its impetus, and wealthy southernerns had gotten a taste of the textile profits...

Anyway, '44 was a close call. Just have Polk win, and that'll probably do the trick.
The US probably wouldn't be an expansionist empire where if you are not white (or a rich Hispanic), you are probably working as a slave in a factory since the Northern Secession in 1865 which led to the rise of the Federal Republic of America.