Civil War North Vs South Essay

1576 Words 6 Pages
With the commencement of hostilities in April 1861, the Civil War was largely seen as a dispute over states’ rights. From a military standpoint, the South largely considered that its reserve of highly trained military officers and martial tradition of élan would make the difference in a quick, decisive war that would be over by Christmas. The reality of the situation would prove far different. The Civil War was largely the first industrial war, and was perhaps inevitable that the domination of the industrial North would eventually, after four extremely bloody years, overcome the agricultural South. The vast differences in economic development between the North and the South in the first half of the 19th century were clear. Comparing and contrast these developments not only illustrates the stark differences between Northern and Southern society, but provides a further window into the inevitability of the Civil War and the rise of America as an industrial giant.
From Yeoman Farmers to Canal Builders
The election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800 was called, largely by his supporters, a revolution.
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In many ways, that was the only similarity between the North and the South. The North’s economy, beginning around 1800, was marked by increasing reliance on industrialism, transportation, and diversification. The South’s economy was almost solely dependent upon the production of cotton, only made profitable by the Cotton Gin and slave labor. By 1860, the North had more railroad track, canals, manufacturing and population than the South. The idea that cotton was the basis for the whole of the American economy was an illusion. When sectionalism exploded into Civil War, the agrarian South was doomed to inevitable defeat, not just for the immorality of slavery, but because of the lack of diversification and manufacturing in its

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