Northern Society

Pre-Civil War

Political

  • smaller percentage of the population was in the military because of an overall larger population
  • slavery was outlawed
  • citizens were more involved in politics
  • working class felt like they had a say in the direction that the Union took


Social

  • average standard of living was better than that in Europe
  • good clothes, food, and housing
  • more luxury and consumer goods
  • common belief in the value of hard work
  • much was expected from children
  • most people dreamed of earning enough money to move out West
  • people moved around a lot, especially between industrial cities
  • weaker family values, more emphasis on working
  • work and home lives were strictly separate
  • home served solely as a place for child-rearing
  • patriarchal society, men had more power in politics and home life
  • beating of wives is allowed in most states
  • women never got custody in divorces
  • women received very few educational opportunities
  • women are seen as consumers rather than producers
  • feminist groups arose from women's culture


Economic

  • majority of work was concentrated in factories and industry
  • average annual income was rising
  • most workers were unskilled factory laborers
  • 50% of wealth in 5% of families
  • farming became much less important to economy as people moved deeper into cities to work
  • hard work + luck = success in workplace
  • mostly produced farm equipment, meat, leather, whiskey, flour, woolen goods, etc.
  • most agricultural products were shipped to Europe