The Civil War: A North vs South Overview

Today, we want to go over just some of the basics related to the conflict between the North and the South.

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

All of the 13 colonies were allowing slavery, but in the South, it was more common. After the Revolution, a few northern states started to make slavery illegal. There were delegates to the U.S. Constitutional Convention that attempted to abolish slavery entirely, but they failed.

1793 was the year of the invention of the cotton gin. This made growing cotton a lot easier. Planters in the South started to buy more land, and they enslaved more individuals to take care of the work. In the 1860s, the South counted almost four million enslaved African Americans.

Cotton became one of the South’s most important agricultural products, and textile mills across the North and also in Great Britain were requiring more and more cotton. Consequently, the price of cotton was rising.

Some enslaved individuals were fighting against slavery. In 1831, a rebellion was led by Nat Turner, and in America, new bills were signed into law to control the African Americans better, and by the year 1853, these slaves had fewer rights than ever before.

In the American South, a lot of people thought of slavery as a necessity, while in the Northern states, many people thought that slavery was absolutely wrong.

North & South

In the Southern States, the main business was farming, and enormous plantations counted a huge number of enslaved workers. Smaller farmers were growing crops and food.

The Northern States had farms as well, but lots of people were moving to the cities to work in factories, making shoes, textiles, tools, or other things. In the 1860s, more than 50% of all Northerners were 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.

John Calhoun, then Vice President, stated that the tariffs were harmful and unfair, and he argued for the rights of the states.

He argued the U.S. Constitution did not allow the federal government to set tariffs, and people in the South and the North kept on arguing about the tariffs and the issue of slavery. All across the nation, this increased sectionalism.

Video Summary and Quiz

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


Next lesson: Civil War


Last Updated on February 6, 2021.

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