North and South During the Industrial Revolution
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The Differences between the North and South During the Industrial Revolution During the early 1800s, the United States changed in numerous ways in a little amount of time. The changes that occurred were a result of the industrial development and advancements that took place in the 19th century. Consequently, there were both many positive and negative effects that occurred as a result of these changes. However, these developments affected the North and the South in great ways. The differences between the two eventually caused a good amount of tension because they were moving in completely different directions with culture, political views, and economies.
As a consequence of poor farming conditions and a mass amount of immigrants coming into America, the Northern states developed into an economy based on industry and manufacturing. The North was mountainous with rocky soil and rapid rivers. It had long cold winters and mild summers which were not suitable for cash crops such as tobacco, cotton, sugar, rice, etc. They had to focus heavily on industrialization due to the resources they had available to them, such as iron and coal that was abundant.1 Using these resources as an energy source, the North constructed factories that produced textiles, furniture, tools, etc. Since factories were producing a mass amount of goods in a short amount of time, they exported their goods to the West and South. Trade was easier in the North, due to the amount of canals and railroads that connected major cities and towns to one another.
To keep these factories running, they needed unskilled workers who would monitor the machines, work for low wages and lengthy hours in hazardous conditions.3 Many of these factories used woman and child labor, and unlike the South slavery was outlawed. Because of this many labor unions4 went into effect that fought for worker’s wages and working conditions. Thousands of immigrants coming from Ireland, Germany, and England came looking for an occupation and a chance to start a new life. As a result of the incoming population, cities boomed and became crowded to which problems such as pollution and crime arose. Additionally, the North were also nationalists that favored a strong, national government and higher tariffs on Northern goods. The economy was booming and many jobs became available, considering it to be one of the best places to be in during its time. Subsequently, the Industrial Revolution had deeply impacted Northern states in the 1800’s, and it industrialized the Americans in the North enough to experience dramatic change by means of employment and traveling.
On the contrary, by reason of the excellent farming conditions and towns that were distanced from one another, the Southern states remained agricultural during the Industrial Revolution. The winters were milder and the warm seasons were longer, providing enough time to grow cash crops, which included: tobacco, cotton, sugar, rice, etc. With the development of the cotton gin, there was an increase in the demand for cotton and it soon became a major part of their economy. Thus, the Southerners felt no need to industrialize like their Northern counterparts. Their resources would then be delivered to factories in the North, later produced into goods such as textiles, clothing, and food that would be shipped throughout the United States and worldwide.
As a consequence of the large plantations and small towns that were distanced from one another, transportation and communication did not thrive in the South as it did in the North. They did not have the same access to canals and railways. To maintain their flourishing plantations, the South’s Peculiar Institution7 contributed as the labor force. Slavery was a cheaper alternative that allowed Southern farmers to plant and harvest more crops without having to pay for labor, granting families to become wealthy. However, most of the slaves that came from Africa were treated very poorly and worked under harsh conditions. Nevertheless, the crops that were picked by the slaves in the South were then exported to the North and West.
Unlike the cities in the North, there were not a lot of immigrants that came to the South, which resulted in only a few small towns, a low-density population, and very little job opportunities. On the contrast, the Southerners were sectionalists and favored a weaker national government. They opposed tariffs on goods and without doubt, greatly approved of slavery, as it was the key in maintaining the plantations that were the basis of their economy. Conclusively, the South did not industrialize well during the industrial revolution, due to their agricultural society that was unable to prosper in the North.
Ultimately, the Industrial Revolution has both affected the North and South in their own ways. The North experienced great change and industrialized to become an economy comprised of industry and manufacturing. The South on the other hand, continued their traditional ways as an agrarian society supported by the labor of African slaves. Nonetheless the Industrial Revolution impacted America in many different ways and changed the life of the average American.
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