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How The Industrial And Economic Differences Of The North And South Helped Cause The Civil War

1940 words - 8 pages

Many historians debate the causes of the Civil war. Yet the overwhelming economic differences between the northern and southern states on the eve of the civil war contributed significantly to the growing tensions. The industrial-reliable north had a high support for the implementation of tariffs and objected the use of slave labor, while the agricultural-reliable south strongly opposed tariffs and promoted slavery.The North was very reliable on manufacturing and technological innovation. Environmental conditions in the north did not open opportunity for large plantations, and therefore much of the economy was based on textiles, lumber and fur trade. This reliability on industry put a high demand on tariffs , which would protect the manufactured goods from cheap foreign policies. Although labor was greatly needed, encouragement of immigration caused the northern labor force to be well numbered, since most Europeans worked in the factories and on the railroads in the north, rather than the South. The North was also greatly reliable on exporting goods, and therefore supported governmental involvement in making internal improvements, such as roads and railroads.The South, on the other hand, relied heavy on agriculture, more specifically on cotton. In fact, due to England's heavy reliance on American cotton, the South often referred to this economical resource as King Cotton. Not every southern resident owned a farm, and very few owned large farms, but because of the environmental conditions in the south, economy was very reliable on farming, rather than industry or manufacturing. And because of this lack of industry and manufacturing, the South also relied on imports to receive manufactured goods, and therefore objected tariffs, since they only increased the prices of imported goods. Yet these tariffs were the basis of governmental revenue, normally used on financing internal improvements, which explained why the South did not support federal funding on roads, railroads, canals, and other such construction.Because industry and manufacture were not largely relied on in the South, advances in technology were minimal, and tradition was valued. One of the most controversial traditions in the South was slavery, morally and financially debated, especially among political leaders. The South relied on slavery in order to produce a large quantity of cotton with cheap labor. The North objected slavery, strong supporters of the idea that "all men are created equal". This issue became a significant factor in the election of 1860, and when slavery-opposed Abraham Lincoln won this election, civil war between these economically, politically, and socially diverse sections of the US was inevitable.The specific causes of the American Civil War is still undecided among many historians. Yet it is undeniable that one of the leading contributable factors was the economic tensions growing between the North and South. While the North was economically reliable on industry...

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