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Antebellum Economies

Submitted by rmmcdonald on Thu, 10/17/2019 - 16:31

An economic analysis might seem like a rather uninteresting perspective to the antebellum era. However, the economic pressures that divided, yet united Northern and Southern America can not be overlooked. Early 1800s both North and South relied on farming. In the north, close family units worked together on a small subsistent farm with only a local trading economy available. In the South the farms were larger due to the climate and crops grown. Around 1810 the capitalist economy in the North started to take hold and break down the small family units. Woman began to move to the cities to work in factories and send back pay checks to the family. There was a sudden emergence of an unskilled labor, working class in the north. With the introduction of the cotton gin, the south underwent a smiliar explosive economic expansion. The number of cotton that could of been produced exponentially increased by 1840 and therefore the number of slaves required to operate such large operations increased as well. Even though the international slave trade was disbained in 1808, the upper south started to sell slaves to the lower south due to over crowding and industrailization in the upper south. Both the North and the South looked West as a means of economic expansion. The North needed the West to be strictly a free labor system so as to not compete with slavery. However the South wanted to move West with slaves in order to keep expanding their current reality. This results in the basis for initail conflict between the north and the south.