North v south. The south the north

North v south - Wikipedia

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Comparing and Contrasting the North and South

Directions - Copy the information below on your own paper, comparing and contrasting the North and South in the mid-1800's. Make a chart like the one below so you can see the differences.

When you are done with the notes, write a paragraph explaining the differences between the North and the South.

Information About the North

Information About the South

Climate and Geography • Warm, humid summers and cold snowy winters • Short growing season plus cold made farming difficult. • Clear, fast rivers • Coastline full of bays. • Cities develop near rivers and bays. • Cities develop as trading centers. • People begin to use waterpower to run factories.

Climate and Geography • Warm and sunny with long summers, mild winters. Lots of rain. • Climate ideal for agriculture. • Fertile soil ideal for growing crops. Population • Huge population increase in the North between 1800 and 1860, mostly through immigration. • Irish, German, and other Europeans mostly settle in North. Population • Population of the South made up of Europeans (mostly from England and Scotland) and enslaved Africans. • 1/3 of the population were slaves. • Most southerners lived on small farms. • Only 1/4 of farmers owned slaves. • Large farms called plantations were owned by the wealthy few who owned most of the slaves. Cities • Cities develop in North as centers of trade. • Factories were set up making textiles (cloth goods) • Increase in factory work brought more people to live in the cities. • Cities were crowded and dirty. • Public education begun in cities for first time. • Cities became important centers of art, culture, and education. Many city newspapers begun. Cities • Most southerners lived on farms. • There were very few large cities. • Plantations were self-sufficient and became like small towns. (Self-sufficient means being able to supply all of your needs.) Economy• The economy of the North was based on manufacturing. • Many immigrants from Europe began working in factories and producing goods used by people in the North. • Many factories began producing textiles (cloth) with the cotton grown in the South. Economy • The economy of the South was based on agriculture. • Cotton, tobacco, rice, sugar cane, and indigo (a plant that was used for blue dye) were sold as cash crops. • Cotton became the most important crop after Ely Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin. • More slaves were now needed to pick the cotton. • Slavery became essential to the South’s economy.

Culture • The culture of the North was determined by life in the cities. • Both religion and education were organized. • There were schools and churches in most towns. • Very few boys, and almost no girls went on to secondary school. • College was reserved for the wealthy.

Culture • The culture of the South was determined by the upper class plantation owners and their families. • Only children of plantation owners received any education. • Small farmers had little or no education. • The culture of the South revolved around plantation life. Transportation • Canals were mostly in the North. • The Erie Canal was a huge success. • Most of the railroads were in the North. • 30,000 miles of track was laid by 1850. • Canals and railroads allowed northern businesses to grow. Transportation • The South was still dependent on the steamship. • Railroads existed, but far less than in the North.

The American Civil War: A North-South Divide

The year 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the American Civil War. Karl Marx defined it as a struggle between two historical epochs – the feudal and the capitalist. The victory of the latter made possible the eventual recognition of the human dignity and the civil rights of African-Americans.

Yet throughout the war British public sentiment favoured the slave-holding South. In October 1861 Marx, who was living in Primrose Hill, summed up the view of the British press: ‘The war between the North and South is a tariff war. The war is, further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery and in fact turns on Northern lust for sovereignty.’ That view was shared by Charles Dickens, who wrote: ‘The Northern onslaught upon slavery is no more than a piece of specious humbug disguised to conceal its desire for economic control of the United States.’

What Marx and the modern reader understands to be a moral question – the question of whether or not one man could own another – many contemporaries understood in terms of economics and law.

Prior to fighting, relations between the North and South had been poisoned by disputes over taxes. The North financed its industrial development through crippling taxes imposed by Congress on imported goods. The South, which had an agricultural economy and had to buy machinery from abroad, ended up footing the bill. When recession hit in the 1850s Congress hiked the import tax from 15 to 37 per cent. The South threatened secession and the North was outraged. An editorial in the Chicago Daily Times warned that if the South left the Union ‘in one single blow, our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one half of what it is now. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all of its immense profits’. War was the only alternative to financial ruin.

The North was broadly opposed to slavery and this cultural difference shaped the rhetoric of war. Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party was a free labour movement – rabidly so. Northern popular culture depicted Southerners as decadent, un-Christian sponges. Lincoln’s election in 1860 put government in the hands of the man most identified with anti-Dixie prejudice. Inevitably Southerners interpreted it as a Northern coup d’état.

Economic and cultural fear propelled the country into war. But slavery was rarely the issue at hand. While the Republican Party was anti-slavery, it was not abolitionist. In his 1861 inaugural address Lincoln stated: ‘I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so … If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it.’ High-minded though its rhetoric was, the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 only freed slaves in areas occupied by Union forces. Slave-holding states fighting for the Union were exempted. Secretary of State William H. Steward commented: ‘We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.’

The roots of economic difference between North and South lay in their labour systems. As Marx observed: ‘The whole movement was and is based, as one sees, on the slave question. Not in the sense of whether the slaves within the existing slave states should be emancipated outright or not, but whether the 20 million free men of the North should submit any longer to an oligarchy of three hundred thousand slaveholders.’ But the record shows that Northern greed and anti-Southern prejudice played a big role in the Civil War too.

Tim Stanley is Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Read more from The Contrarian | More on the American Civil War

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