Changing Economics

In The Early and Mid 1800s America


The invention of the cotton gin in 1792 by Eli Whitney sparked a cotton revolution in the North (Tindall 462). The Free states benefited greatly from the inventions; by 1850, the Free states had produced $44,782,636 more than the Slave states (Brown 189). The Slave States did not catch on though rather the amount of inventions in the Slave states was far less than that of the Free states. By 1856, 1,929 patents had been issued in the Free states whereas only 268 were issued in the Slave states (Brown 192). The reasoning behind this was that if a slave owner were to introduce machinery into the fields far less man power would be needed. The man power in the Slave states is, namely, slaves. If slaves are not needed then there brings the debate of what to do with them. The Free states would argue to let them free while the Slave states would disagree therefore causing conflict between the North and South.

Specialized Professions

In 1849, Henry Day made a speech at the Western Reserve School of Medicine entitled "The Professions". This speech was the start of specialized professions in the free states (Tindall 485). This speech caused a boom and soon the amount of people involved in specialized professions. The slave states did not catch on as much. Namely, the average wealth per capita in ten of the most populous free states was $277 more than that of ten of the most populous in the South (Brown 194). This is yet again another separation of both the free and slave states. They did not want to be part of the rise of professions because then they would have little to no use for their slaves. This is supported once again by the fact that between 1840 and 1860 the North had gained $32 in wealth per capita while the South only gained $29. Seemingly, this small amount of money does not matter but the $3 is a lot more than it may seem. The further separation of the economic tendencies of the North and the South also separated the two as a union.

Urbanization and Manufacturing

Urbanization in Northern states grew astonishingly faster than that of the South. In 1860, New England had 36.6% of people lived in an Urban area while in the South Atlantic states only 11.5% of people lived in urban areas (Brown 198). This massive difference once again caused the Northern states to dominate. The economy in the urban areas consisted mostly of manufacturing. In 1860, New England's per capita value for manufacturing was $132.88 more than that of the South (Brown 198). Also the value of the annual products produced in the North was $677,173,031 more than the South. This major difference clearly shows the difference in the type of economy and the failure of the south in manufacturing. Seemingly, the North and South would work together to create an amazing economic partnership but that did not happen. The tension between the states, the North making so much more money just off of manufacturing, left the south in turmoil. The South refused to work with the North because they were so anti-slavery foreshadowed the fact that they would refuse to work together.


The invention of the railroad forever changed the economic landscape. The amount of railroads in the North in 1860 far outnumbered those in the South (Tindall 461). The North had far more access to the other states in the North creating a network. They could easily get people and/or products where they needed to be so much faster. The South however lacked such communication internally and externally. This hereby affected their overall wealth; the North's wealth was $1,196,237,838 more than the South (Brown 194). The connection between the rail roads and wealth is determined by the amount of urbanization - 25.1% more people lived in urban areas in the North than the South (Brown 198). It therefore became much harder for the South to communicate with the North and vice versa. There was no real way to get any type of product between the two parts of the USA in an efficient manner at this time. Without this ability the two parts of the country once again end up not coming together and rather functioning separately.


In 1850, the Irish made up about 43 percent of the foreign-born population of the United States. A number of them were working in the mills and therefore were mostly centered in the North (Tindall 476). The North greatly benefited from the Irish although they were not very fond of them. From 1845 to 1860 the Irish went from being only 8 percent of the workforce in the mills to 50 percent (Tindall 477). The great benefit that the North received was apparent in the value of manufacturing output per capita. From 1850 to 1860, the North's per capita in manufacturing raised $49.26 while the South only $3.64 (Brown 198). This left the South in the dust because they chose to stick with their slaves and therefore gained little to no Irish workers. This impact further seperated the parts of our once joint country.