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North and South Economy before Civil War

By Bob - Posted on 25 October 2018

The civil war was between April 12, 1861, and May 9, 1865. The economic system between the northern and the southern states had a difference in the period before the civil war. The American economy was in a transitional stage on the civil war’s eve. The economy prior to 1800 was heavily relying on agriculture but was afterward advancing to the first stages of the industrial revolution. The starting of the industrial revolution, during the prewar period, was mostly limited the northern part of the Mason-Dixon making the southern part lag behind.

The south was mostly agricultural in 1860 depending on the sale of staples in the world market. Cotton became one of the leading exports by 1840with the southern part producing 2/3 of the world’s cotton. The southern region had 29% tracks of railroad and a percent of 13% of the national banks. The region experimented minimally on slave labor in the manufacturing sector with the biggest fraction of area satisfied with the agricultural economy.

On the other hand, the northern region was performing relatively well in the manufacturing and commercial economy contributing directly to its ability to wage war. In 1960, 90% of the output in the manufacturing industry came from the states in the northern region. The North is estimated to have been producing seventeen times in the woolen and cotton textile as compared to the south. It further produced 30 times and 32 times of leather goods firearms respectively. Compared to the South’s 80% of the population engaging in agriculture, they had 40%.

Industrialization and Commercialization

Industrialization in the northern states impacted on the urbanization and immigration process. In the wake of 1860, 26% of the in this region occupied the urban areas in cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Chicago. These cities were characterized with advancement in the farm machinery, railroad equipment and machine-tool. On contrast, the southern part had 10% living in the urban areas.

With the mobilization of war between the north and the south, there was the weakening of the free market and the slave labor. This was as a result of the economic system been geared towards the support and the sustenance of the war. The industrial and the economic capacity of the union soared in the period before the civil war with the aim of suppressing a possible rebellion. The Confederacy was put at a great challenge with the increased enmity between the two regions.

Commercialization was boosted by some factors, among them the transcontinental railroad that linked the west with the east. This was however debated in the Congress with the southerners and the northerners having differences on its setup. Southerners wanted it to assume a southern route and the northerners pushing for a northern route. Upon leaving the Congress at the outset of the war, the southerners saw the Republicans pass a legislation dictating a middle route to be built.

Slavery and Slave Society

Despite the South lagging behind in the industrial development, this cannot be attributed to the economic disadvantages. When I was writing a history research paper, I found out that the South had great wealth that was primarily relying on the slave economy. The 1860 period saw the economic value of slaves exceeding the invested value of the combination of all banks, factories, and railroad in the country summed up. The slave labor has also been considered as a factor that the mobilization of resources to be challenging.

Impacts on the Region’s Social and Political System

Despite the underlying differences, there was significant advancement in the creation of the Confederate States of America. Much emphasis was put on the creation of a strong state, with a weak central government. A lot of investment was to be done in the agricultural economy that was slave based. The union made the step to increase the influence of the federal government which led the success of the military in the war. There was also an impact too in other key areas in the realms of the economy, industry, finance and agriculture. In case the war was never fought, the U.S would be different from what it is today. It is the remaining superpower in the world with great expansions in the industry and the economic sector. This has led for its ascension to its role in the first place.

The Evolution of the Democratic Party (Jefferson to Jackson)

The transition of the Democratic Party from the Jeffersonian to Jacksonian era saw some changes witnessed. Politically, the Jeffersonian democracy had a strong belief that the property requirement was a test of character in which the initiatives of a man would be met. On contrast, the Jacksonian democracy saw the elimination of property requirement for the voting process. Jefferson believed that only the educated elites should vote and emphasized the value of education to enable the poor to hold public office later. Jackson believed that all men had an equal chance of holding the office with the political positions taking a rotational role. Socially, Jefferson owned slaves but deemed slavery as being a form of an evil act that would only be eradicated with time. Jackson owned slaves with little interest of abolishing it. Economically, Jefferson initially feared the consequences of industrialization while Jackson accepted the idea of industry as an integral part of the American economy.

Goals and Directions

Jefferson’s era saw ambition and educations as the key to success. However, he failed to garner enough support for the proposed system of education that he came up with. Later on, there was a different approach that was given by Jackson gearing efforts towards the banks. The CRB decision created opportunities in the corporate charters for the rise in the economic and the social ladder. The Economic system was seen as a major contributing factor for the social mobility that others would follow.

Events and People changing the party

There was the decision of Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge that had an effect on the access to the corporate charter in the Jeffersonian time. The corporate charters in the Jeffersonian times were given to the favorites of the legislators of the state. This implied a form of monopoly rights to Roger Taney, which was a business. With time, Jackson’s favorite was to be appointed as the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice. The appointee ruled in the Charles River Bridge provision with the corporate charter being made available to those risking to start businesses.

Change in opposition from federalists to Whigs to Republicans

With time, the name of the party had gone through some changes (Bailey, 50-71). Jefferson considered themselves as Democrats, deeply rooted in the ideals of the party and centralized power. On the other hand, the Federalists dropped their name to Whigs. At this period, Henry Clay was an important figure in the part. Eventually, there was a dissolution circa in the 1850s that saw the Whigs change the name to the Republicans. Republicans at this time tended to be anti-southerners and therefore anti-slavery.

Events and people evolved this political movement.

Henry Clay was an important figure in influencing the decision of changing the name from Federalist to Whigs. His influence cannot be looked down upon. Another event that saw the change being implemented was the antislavery ideas that saw the suppression of the unfair treatment. The Republicans began building a strong base in the old Confederacy to encompass the Border States. These states are currently prominent today like Kansas, Missouri and Kentucky.


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