Regional Differences and Division

By: Frankie Sperka

The Civil War

The events leading up to the civil war are the reasons why our country was is such a divided state that it went to war with itself. The amount of compromises and sacrifices given in attempts to preserve the Union only added to the tensions between the free and slave states. War was Inevitable for the north and south, but the events leading up to one of the most important wars in our country are just as important.

Early Tensions

The north and south always had their little tensions and disagreements about their ideals, but the events leading up to the civil war pushed them over the limit. As the south was heavily dependent on its slave labor and followed an agricultural path, the north became industrialized and utilized the factory system.

Slavery Ends in the North

The northern states had abolished slavery because they thought it was immoral and that it violated the constitution. Slavery wasn't very convenient in the north because during the winter time slaves became a burden. They had to be fed and taken care of without the ability to tend to a plantation and earn the slave owner an income. The amount of money that slaves costed significantly increased during the American Revolution, which made it harder for slave owners to 'restock' their workers. At the same time, slaves were encouraged to join the war efforts in order to gain their own freedom. Slave owners lost their slaves to the militia and couldn't replenish the amount that they had due to rising slave prices.

Northern Life Style

With the end of slavery in the north they had to come up with a new way of life. As the soil in the north is more for having small farms and not large scale plantations, they turned away from so much agriculture and pursued a different path... Industry. The invention of factories and the idea of interchangeable parts revolutionized the way of life. Industrialization was rapid as workers gravitated towards the bigger cities and factories. Thousands of immigrants coming from Europe provided a surplus of workers willing to work for low pay.

Southern Life Style

As the north moved in the direction of industrialization, the south developed in a more agricultural way. The soil in the south was perfect for very large and efficient plantations that could produce mass amounts of product. Their dependency on slaves was frowned upon by the north, it was a way of life for the southerners. Although only about one third of the people in the south owned slaves, it was enough to set the region apart from the rest of the nation. Slaves could be rented out to other people, traded, and even sold to gain money or repay debts.

The Compromise of 1850

The mass amounts of emigration occurring from the eastern parts of the country out to the west coast where heavily dependent on the California gold rush. Many pioneers and settlers settled in California and the population quickly rose to 60,000. Once California had enough people to apply for statehood it did and its people wanted it to become a free state, along with the north. The problem with California is that if it were to become a free state it would violate the Missouri Compromise line, so in order for it to become a free state, a compromise would have to be made. This compromise was proposed by Henry Clay, and after many votes was officially considered law. The north would get California admitted as a free state and have slave trade be banned in Washington DC. The south would have no slave restrictions in the territories won from the war with Mexico and the Fugitive Slave Act to be applied. The Fugitive Slave Act was a law that forced northerners to return any fugitive slaves.
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The Nation Begins to Divide

These differences in lifestyle lead to divided political views, many disputes about taxation, and the disagreement on the power of the federal government. The southern states believed in states' rights, which meant that states had rights that the federal government couldn't take away. Whereas the northerners believed that the federal government was authority and had the final say when it came to the law.

Leading up to the Secession of the Southern States

Northerners tended to ignore the statements and beliefs that southerners had. Such as when seven states in the south seceded from the Union. The north simply disregarded that they called themselves the Confederate States of America, and said that they couldn't do that. After all the federal government does have final say. That is not what the southerners believed, but the northerners didn't seem to care. The fugitive slave act, one of the things the south was guaranteed during the Compromise of 1850 wasn't enforced by the northerners. Even though it was considered the law and it was one of the few things that the south got in return for the admission of California as a free stateMany of the suggestions and proposals in Congress ended in compromise where each side lost too much and gained too little. This only added to the tensions.


Southern states where so unhappy with the federal government, that they said if Abraham Lincoln won the election of 1860 they would leave the Union and become their own separate country. The truth to the statement was disregarded and ignored by northerners who thought that they couldn't do such a thing... but they were wrong.

The Confederate States of America

Due to the rising tensions between the north and south, some southern states thought the last thing to do before violence erupts is to secede from the Union, and that is exactly what seven southern states did.


South Carolina, as the first state to secede from the Union had had enough of the northerners neglecting to respect them as a state and a part of the country. Following South Carolina's secession came the secessions of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. These state banded together and called themselves the Confederate States of America. They named their president as Jefferson Davis from Mississippi. Despite their efforts to send a message to the north, they were ignored and told that the secession was invalid because the federal government has the final say. Within three months of the creation of the Confederate States of America the union and the confederacy would engage in a war that would last five years.

My Reaction

I found it really interesting to learn about, dive deeper into, and connect the dots about the north and south's differences and how that lead to the countries division. It is really cool to look at how hard they tried to stay together as one country, and the south even tried to break away to prevent a war. Sadly though that war seemed to be inevitable. I have realized throughout this year that I really love to learn about history! It's one big, long, interesting, and amazing story that is all real! It's amazing to me how one simple topic, such as slavery, and the opinions of people can lead to such massive amounts of anger, hatred, and destruction. I can't imagine a time where our country was so divided that it went to war with itself. It must have been pretty scary to be living in a time and place where no where in your country is totally safe. That is why we are so fortunate to live in the United States where we are protected and safe. Right now in the Middle East there is so much violence going on, and it kind of reminds me of this. I always find it crazy how all the things that we are reading about some how added up to become the wonderful, safe country we live in today!