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Civil War Era Essay: North Vs. South And The Economic Problems
Before the American Civil War, the North and the South were completely different in terms of their economy. In the North, there were factories, and in the South, there were plantations. Although the two economies were vastly different, they depended on each other. The North, for instance, depended on the South for a cheap source of raw materials, such as cotton, while the South depended on the North as one of the biggest markets for those same raw materials.
The fundamental fact about both the Southern plantations and the Northern factories was that they were built on the backs of the poor: the poor slaves in the South, and the poor factory-workers in the North. The economies of both the North and the South needed the poor to work in horrible conditions for little or no pay.
In the North the first factory was built in Lowell, Massachusetts, in the early 1800s. The entire production system, for the first time, was under one roof, which was a quicker and more efficient way of creating goods. However, having lots of workers in one place wasnt very safe for the workers in the factories, who faced tough conditions, long hours, and six-day weeks.
The machinery in use at the time was also dangerous, and many people died from getting their arm, or hair, or clothes stuck in the moving parts of the machines. This was a major problem because fewer people would want to work in the factories if they knew they wouldnt get paid much and faced potentially life-threatening danger.
In fact, eventually, the workers at the mills decided they had suffered enough and started organizing labor unions and going on strike to get higher wages or to reduce work hours. They were helped by the fact that in 1842 a Massachusetts court ruled it to be legal to strike. For the economy, however, this initially caused problems: paying better wages meant higher prices.
The main source of money in the South was the cotton crops, not from factories. However, most of the cotton was coming from plantations where large numbers of slaves were forced to work. The slaves were not paid, and were generally treated very badly. They had long hours and were most often not given the opportunity to learn to read or write. On top of that, any member of a slaves family could be sold at any time, and the family members separated in this way would likely never see each other again.
The Souths economy was so dependent on slave labor that it seemed it would collapse without the slaves. It was felt that if the right to keep slaves was taken away from the plantation owners, the entire economy would be destroyed, because the cotton industry was such a big part of the economy.
Without significant sources of capital investment, the South struggled to develop new businesses. Manufactured goods were also in less demand in the South than in the more prosperous North. The South tended to produce just the raw cotton, rather than finished cloth products, which might have increased the available wealth.
The final thing that the South had problems with was transportation. There were natural waterways, but only a few easily-navigable canals, and roads were in poor condition.
There were several problems, then, affecting both the Norths and the Souths economy. The North had to deal with the problem of discontented workers, while the South was too dependent on slave labor.
Submitted by: Gilburt3
The Differences Between The North And South On The Eve Of The Civil War
The Differences between the North and South on the Eve of the Civil War
On the eve of the Civil war, both the North and the South had
differences, both minor and large. The main difference was Slavery
where both sides had a completely dissimilar view point on how the
treat black people an example of this is the Missouri compromise in
1820. There were also differences in the rate of industrialisation and
The largest difference between the North and the South was the number
of free black people. The North had hardly any slaves; however the
South had around 4 million slaves. The North always looked at the
South with antipathy and kept trying to abolish slavery, but the South
didn’t like the North interfering and wanted to continue the use of
slavery. The Missouri compromise was another issue between the North
and the South. Missouri was a territory state, and it opted to be in
the Union in 1818. There was a proposal to ban Slavery in Missouri,
even though there were more than 2000 slaves living there, in
desperation, Missouri asked for help from the South. Maine was another
territory that had petitioned to enter the union, so in 1820 a
compromise was set and Missouri was allowed to stay a slave state, and
Maine was declared a free state. This meant that the balance between
the Free states and slave states was equal and therefore they were
able to make the compromise.
Industry in the North was making rapid progress; there was
urbanisation and big cities such as Chicago were taking form. However
the North was still agricultural as well as being industrialised. The
south also had made some progress, however not in the same way as the
North. In the South, the cotton gin made the processing of cotton easy
and by 1860, 60% of US exports consisted of cotton. Although this may
seem good for the South, it still meant that shipping the cotton was
impossible from the south, and therefore they had to look towards the
North. The industrialized North had the facilities and the harbors to
ship the cotton but this meant that the South had to pay the North to
do so. The cotton exhausted the soil very quickly and therefore the
centre of production had to move westwards towards the Mississippi and
Alabama, this expansion was encouraged by the UK.
Another difference between the North and the South was that the North
had realized how important education was, and therefore was giving
free education even...
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