North Vs. South

by Kimberly G, Period 7


Geography in the South

The Southern states enjoyed mild winters and and long, hot, humid summers. The South is a perfect place for growing crops that would've dried-up and died farther north. Along the coast there were swamps and marshes. This made it perfect for growing rice and sugarcane. Tobacco and corn were farmed farther inland. The Appalachian Mountains were in the South. In North Carolina there were thick pine forests for lumber. In and around Chesapeake Bay they gathered fish, oysters, and crabs. The South also had an important feature such as rivers. The rivers were like water highways. The ships were loaded with tobacco and or other cash crops for sale in the Caribbean or Europe.

Economy in the South

Economy in the South was based on agriculture. Most white Southerners worked their own small farms. Plantation owners used slaves to grow cash crops as tobacco, rice, sugarcane, and indigo. In the 1790's Europeans were unwilling to pay high prices for tobacco and rice. Cotton was the most promising crop but was hard to make a profit out of it. Discouraged planters were buying fewer slaves and even letting some go free. Eli Whitney made a machine called the "cotton gin". It was a simple machine that used combs to separate cotton fiber from its seeds. Using this machine, a single person could clean as much cotton as 50 laborers working manually, or by hand. By 1850, cotton plantations stretched from the Atlantic Coast to Texas. Between 1790 and 1850, number of slaves rose from 500,000 to more than 3 million. Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia used mostly slave labor the factory made ammunition and weapons for the U.S. army. Also, steam engines, rails, and locomotives. The majority of the whites made their living off the land.

Transportation in the south

The slow current and broad channels of southern rivers made water travel easy and relatively cheap. River boats traveled hundreds of miles downstream. West of the Appalachians most cotton moved down the Mississippi River. Cotton was loaded onto sailing ships headed to ports of England or the North. Some railroads were built in the South, including lines that helped Southern farmers ship their products to the North. In 1860 the South had just 10,000 miles of rail.

Society in the South

Many Southerners in 1860 measured wealth in terms of land and slaves. The social structure had a few rich plantation owners at the top, white farmers and workers in the middle, and African Americans , mostly enslaved, at the bottom. The South had little incentive to make progress economically or culturally, even religion was affected. Wealthy plantation owners enjoyed a leisurely way of life, filled with parties and social visits. Their sons went on to get high education but their daughters received little education. The girls were brought up to be wives and hostesses. 1/4 owned even one slave. About 10% of whites were too poor to own land. The majority of the blacks were slaves in the South and those who weren't were often forced to wear special badges, pay extra taxes, and live separately from whites.


Geography in the North

There were for distinctive seasons from freezing winters to hot, humid summers. There were colder winters and shorter summer growing seasons. The New England coast had hundreds of bays and inlets that were perfect for use as harbors. The hillsides offered barely enough land for small farms, but they were covered with thick forest of spruce and fir. The wood was used for shipbuilding and in trade with other countries. Across the Appalachian Mountains lay the central plains, a large, forested region drained by Ohio and Mississippi rivers. From Ohio to Illinois, settlers cleared the forest to make way for farms. About 177,000 square miles of dense forest were cleared.

Economy in the North

During the industrial Revolution, people shifted from making things and doing work by hand to making things and doing work with machines. In 1810 Lowell visited England and saw a machine they had and memorized the design. By 1815 Lowell and his partner had built one of the first American textile factories. They hired young woman who worked 12-15 hours a day. By the 1830's inventors in both the United States and Europe had learned to use steam engines to power machinery. With steam engines, business people could build factories anywhere, not just along rivers. Elias Howe invented the sewing machine in 1846, but they earned much less money using the machines then by using their hands. The new machines and production methods were a source of great health. Southern Agrarians ,however, looked down on the newly rich industrialist and the laborers who worked them.

Transportation in the North

In 1806 congress founded the construction of a National road across the Appalachian Mountains. They made this highway was a way to connect the new western states with the east. President James vetoed a bill that gave states more money to build more roads. Even though there were better roads river travel was faster and cheaper than travel by land. It was hard to move upstream so the United States and Europe invented steamboats. By the 1820's, smoke-belching steamboats were chugging up and down rivers and across the Great Lakes. In the 1840's, sleek clipper ships were introduced that cut ocean travel time in half. Later on, trains were invented. Trains were faster than steam boats and could go wherever tracks could be laid, including mountains. By 1860, there were over 20,000 miles of rail in the North.

Society in the North

By 1860 about 7/10 Northerners still lived on farms. Between 1800 and 1850 , the number of cities with populations of at least 2,500 had increased from 33 to 237. Northern cities were growing rapidly. Between 1840 and 1860 New York, Philadelphia, and Boston nearly tripled. Although the cities were growing fast so were the diseases. Blacks in the North were free but not treated as equal to whites. In most states, they could not vote, hold office, serve on juries, or attend white churches and schools. So they formed their own churches and started their own businesses. Between 1845 and 1860 four million immigrants from Ireland and Germany came to the North. Between 1820 and 1860 more than 1/3 of all U.S. immigrants came from Ireland.
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Francis Cabot Lowell