The Civil War: A North vs South Overview

Last Updated on February 15, 2024.

Today, let’s go over some basic elements that played a role in the conflicts between the American North and South.

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The basic conflict between the North and the South was complicated. Let’s discuss it.

1. In the period leading up to the civil war, the economy of the South …

Question 1 of 2

2. The Northern economy …

Question 2 of 2


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This lesson is a part of our GED Social Studies Guide

Video Transcription

All thirteen colonies allowed slavery, but in the southern states, slavery was more common. But when the Revolution was over, some northern states began to abolish slavery.

There were a few delegates to the U.S. Constitutional Convention that made attempts to completely abolish slavery, but those attempts failed.

In 1793, the cotton gin was invented which made growing cotton much easier. Planters in southern states began to purchase more land, and they started to enslave more workers to make sure the work could be done. By the mid-1860s, almost 4 million African Americans workers as slaves in the South.

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Cotton had become one of the key agricultural products in the South and textile-producing mills in the North but in Great Britain as well required ever more cotton. So consequently, there was a huge price rise in cotton due to increased demand.

There were enslaved individuals that fought against slavery and in 1831, an impressive rebellion occurred led by Nat Turner. Consequently, in America, some new laws were introduced to better control African Americans. As a result, by 1853, the American slaves had fewer rights and less freedom than ever before.

Many people in the American South thought that slavery was a necessity. In the Northern states, however, many people were thinking that slavery was an absolutely wrong thing.

North & South

In the South, the main economic activity was farming. Enormous plantations were counting huge numbers of enslaved workers and also smaller farmers were in the business of growing food and crops.

In the North, there were farms as well, but many people moved to the big cities to find work in factories where they were making textiles, shoes, tools, or other useful things.

By the mid-1860s, over half of all Northerners were actually living in cities.

When Congress imposed tariffs on lots of imported goods, which was good for the factories in the North. In the South, however, there were not that many factories.

The prices for manufactured goods skyrocketed, and people were blaming the high prices on the North and the tariffs.

Then-Vice President John Calhoun stated that the high prices and tariffs were unfair and harmful, and he came up for the rights of states.

He argued strongly the U.S. Constitution didn’t grant the federal government the right to set tariffs. People in both the South and the North continued to argue about the imposed tariffs and the troublesome issue of slavery. All across North America, this led to an increased sectionalism.