I have always thought that it would be very interesting to see all the differences between two different parts of one country. There are differences everywhere, even in a country. This is how it was before the Civil War. The northern part of the United States was totally different from the southern part. Because they were so different from each other, the South wanted to break away from the North, but the North didnít want to break away from the South. The South felt that it was so different from the North that it wanted to be its own nation. The problems caused by the differences between the North and the South was called the sectional division.
Thousands of years ago, before people lived in the North, it was covered with high mountains and a smooth coastline. Then, the time of the Ice Age came. Glaciers reshaped the land as they traveled across the North.
As time went by, the earth became warmer, and the glaciers melted. The glaciers wore down the mountains of the North. Large pits that were created by the ice were filled with water by the melting ice, creating many lakes and ponds. When the glaciers and ice were moving across the North, they picked up soil and minerals, which were left behind at the coastal area in the North, after the ice and glaciers had melted.
The lakes were very helpful to the Northerners because they could do a lot of fishing. They used to sell the fish and also keep it for themselves to cook and eat. The lakes and rivers were also helpful because they could transport goods on water to other places. If the largest lakes overflowed, some of the crops could get watered.
Most of the good soil was along the coastal area for the North. This made it good for farming there because whenever the ocean water overflowed, their crops would get water. There was bad, rocky soil, however, covering most of the North. Also, most of the North was bad for farming because a lot of the land there was not flat. Much of the North was covered with mountains, unlike the South, which had more flat land.
In addition to the poor geography for farming, winters in the North were long and very cold. The summers were short, but they were hot and humid. Most of the Indians and the colonists could only count on four to five months for growing crops. There was plenty of rain, but the soil, hills and cold temperatures made most of the North a poor place to farm.
There were 22 Northern states by years of 1860 and 1861. They were Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, California, Oregon, and Kansas. The North did not want slavery because it was colder in the North than the South. The land was not as good for farming as the South. Instead, the north manufactured more items. They didnít need slaves because work was not as hard in factories as it was on farms. To get raw materials, such as cotton, coal, and tobacco, for their factories, the Northerners built railroads.
The climate and soil of the South are good for growing warm weather crops. In Virginia, the growing season lasts seven months. In South Carolina and Georgia, the growing season lasts eight months or longer. There is also plentiful rainfall in South Carolina and Georgia. That is why Indians, such as the Creeks, raised their crops there. Plantation owners did this as well.
There were 11 Southern states by the years of 1860 and 1861. They were Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Arkansas. The South wanted slavery. The reason for this was because the South was warmer than the North, which made the land better for farming. What people in the South did most was farm. The main crops that they grew were tobacco and cotton. The farmers of the South knew that it was very hard to do all the work on the farms, so most people there had slaves. The slaves did much of the work on the large farms in the South.
So, did the North and South really have that many differences?
The North and South had many differences.
The difference between the two that caused the biggest problem was that the South had slavery, while the North did not. Because of this difference, there were many arguments between the North and South.
The Fugitive Slave Law
The Fugitive Slave Law, passed in 1850, said that if slaves ran away to the North or Canada, they would have to be returned to their rightful owners. The Fugitive Slave Law was important because the Southerners paid for the slaves, and they didnít think that it was fair for them to lose their money when their slaves escaped. They also thought that slaves should be punished because they broke the law.
The Southerners said that the slaves had to be returned to them because the slaves were their property. Like other property, slaves could not be taken away from their owners. Using the Underground Railroad as an escape route was against the law. It was also no longer safe for slaves to escape to the northern states because the Fugitive Slave Law required them to be returned to their rightful owners.
Some Northerners didnít want to give the slaves back because they believed in individual rights. They wanted to free the slaves, but the Fugitive Slave Law gave them no other choice. It was the law, and they had to obey it.
The Fugitive Slave Law was important in leading to the Civil War because it caused many arguments between Northerners and Southerners. The North was angry because the slaves could come into the free states and still be slaves. So the free states werenít really free states anymore.
The Disagreement: Will New States be Allowed to Have Slavery?
The North didnít want new states to allow slavery, but on the other hand, the South did. The North didnít want to allow the new states to have slavery because they wanted to be stronger. Having more slave states would make the South stronger because slave states would have more votes in the House of Representatives. This was important in causing the Civil War because whenever a new state joined the United States, there would be a big argument whether that state would be a slave state or a free state.
Many things such as the Fugitive Slave Law, arguments about whether new states should be slave states, and the differences between the North and the South were all causes of the Civil War. After a lot of arguing, the South didnít want to argue with the North anymore because they wanted to become their own nation, no matter what the North said. Then, the South decided to break away from the Union.
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Department of Humanities Computing. "Lincoln Attacks Slavery." <http://odurlet.rug.nl/~usa/H/1990/ch5_p6.htm> Last Visited: December, 2001.
Department of Humanities Computing. "Sectional Conflict: Introduction." <http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/H/1990/ch5_p1.htm> Last Visited: December, 2001.
Department of Humanities Computing. "Slavery Hardens into the Economy." <http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/H/1990/ch5_p2.htm> Last Visited: December, 2001.
Germantown Elementary. "A Day in the Life of a Slave." <http://www.germantown.k12.il.us/html/slave.html> Last Visited: December, 2001.
Germantown Elementary. "The Civil War." <http://www.germantown.k12.il.us/html/CivilWar.html> Last Visited: December, 2001.