North vs. South

Family and Societal Structures

SOUTH

Social, Economic, and Political Structures

Social

  • Lower class subsistence farmers owned very few to no slaves, as they could not afford it. They grew the food that they ate, and made very little profit.
  • Most families owned fewer that 5 slaves, and allowed the slaves to sleep and eat inside their house. They usually gave each slave a task for the day, after which they were given the rest of the day off.
  • Wealthy plantation owners owned many more slaves, sometimes hundreds. They created separate housing for their slaves, and had no human contact with them. A black overseer was put in charge of teams of slaves in order to further reduce the work the owners had to do.
  • Slaves were treated simply as property, and had no rights as human beings. They were fed and given a place to sleep, but they lived only to serve their owners.
  • Plantation owners were a minority, but extremely wealthy compared to the rest of the population.
  • Low population density meant little social interaction or schooling.


Economic

  • The economy was very agriculture-based, and the demand for slave labor was high
  • Cotton became extremely profitable after the invention of the cotton gin, overtaking tobacco as the main cash crop of the South.
  • The Southern US produced 75% of the world's cotton.
  • Although some southerners realized the brutality and unfairness of slavery, they continued to support it, because profits were so high. Nearly free manual labor was too important the the southern economy for people to care about the treatment of blacks.


Political

  • Southerners tended to be Democratic.
  • Most men gravitated towards agriculture or military careers.
  • Many still held anti-federalist beliefs, and were willing to secede from the United States and its centralized government.
  • The South became more alienated from American politics with Clay’s American System, which mainly benefited the North and the West.
3. A Southern World View: The Old South and Proslavery Ideology

NORTH

Social, Economic, and Political Structures


Social

  • Slavery died out and was even abolished in some states, as it was not economically feasible to maintain in a more industrialized setting.
  • Instead of slavery, the Northern economy depended heavily on immigrant labor. Usually even cheaper than slavery, as there was such a large number of immigrants from Germany and Ireland escaping hardships from their mother countries.
  • Astor Place Riot showed the tensions between the working class and the upper class, when the cultural preferences of both groups clashed.
  • Many immigrants suffered discrimination and harsh treatment from the nativism movement.


Economic

  • The economy depended heavily on manufacturing.
  • Easier transportation of people and goods by the use of railroads and canals.
  • Immigrants were payed sometimes as little as $1 a week, and were sometimes treated as harshly as slaves in very cruel working conditions.
  • The Northern states held over 75% of the entire country's wealth.


Political

  • Southerners tended to be Whigs/Republican.
  • Men tended to have manufacturing jobs, and with the Industrial Revolution, women began to join the workforce in factories as well.
  • Because of the spoils system, politics became a big part of life for white males because loyalty to a party could land you a high-paying government job
  • Most had Federalist beliefs, and believed in the importance of keeping the country unified under a strong central government.
  • Many large, urban cities were established.