The Anebellum Era

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As President Abraham Lincoln cited in a speech, “‘a house divided against itself can not stand’”(Lincoln). This reference to a bible verse, Mark 3:25, characterizes American life in the antebellum era. Leading up to the Civil War, the United States was divided culturally between the North and the South. The main difference between the North and the South was rooted in the institution of slavery. By 1804, all Northern states had abolished slavery within their borders. However, due to the prevalence of plantations, slavery extended well into the nineteenth century in the South. The institution of slavery was a cornerstone for life in the Southern United States, affecting the economy, politics, and culture of the region. The atrocities that accompanied …show more content…
Contrary to the South, the North was very modern, often described as the “embodiment of an emergent modern society based on capitalism, democracy, literacy, reform, gender relations, and industrialization” (Ayers and Thomas). The Market Revolution, a term used to describe the growth of the marketplace in the early nineteenth century, spurred real change in the North, prompting many Americans to leave their farms and move to large cities. Many factories popped up in Northern cities, beginning an age of urbanization and manufacturing. The frequency of large cities in the North stands in direct contrast with the agrarian economy of the South, making the two regions of the United States drastically …show more content…
To some extent, Southern slave-owners used the concept of state rights as a tool to justify outright racism. However, some were genuinely concerned about the role of the federal government. According to Jeff Schweitzer, slavery was the “central point of contention” in the Civil War, but the issue also extended to a disagreement over who should “decide whether slavery [is] acceptable, local institutions or a distant central government power” (Huffington Post). Disagreement over this very conflict is what characterized politics in the antebellum period. Southerners, particularly slave-owners, generally supported the Democratic Party, which was based in “states’ rights, strict construction of the Constitution, limited federal government, and the guardianship of slavery” (Beachler). The Southern Whig party also existed, but it was much less influential than the Democrats in the South. On the other hand, Northerners were more commonly part of the Republican Party, which supported the abolishment of slavery. The polarization of the political parties was simply another vast cultural difference between the North and South in the antebellum United States, further proving that these two areas were completely detached from one

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