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The South vs. The North in the American Civil War


The United States of America is a powerful and great nation that plays an essential role in the modern world. However, it was not always so, and the 19th century, for example, witnessed as it was divided into two parts. It refers to the Northern and Southern regions that had significant social, economic, and political discrepancies. Thus, the main aim of this assignment is to present the differences between the two regions and to explain why the American Civil War started in 1861.

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The South vs. The North

To begin with, one should mention that the South was a cotton kingdom. According to Roark et al., “the term reflected the dominance of cotton in the southern economy” (645). This fact was achieved because many people worked in the given sphere, and slaves formed a significant part of them. Thus, one can note that society was divided into two significant categories, including Afro-American slaves and their white owners.

As for the whites, it is impossible to describe their life without considering the plantations of the South. Every plantation was owned by a family with its appropriate hierarchy. A man was the most significant person in the family, and he “ruled his wife, children, and slaves as dependents under his dominion and protection” (Roark et al. 657). Men offered basic care to their dependents in exchange for obedience and work.

When it comes to women, they were weak, beautiful, and modest. At the same time, they had a few home responsibilities. For example, all house servants were subordinate to mistresses; the women assigned them tasks and supervised the results (Roark et al. 664). At the same time, the life of African Americans was difficult because they were subject to physical and emotional burdens. However, they managed to preserve their dignity, and the slaves who formed the one-third of the South’s population influenced the local culture significantly, enriching it with their customs and religion.

In addition to that, it is necessary to comment on life in the North that was associated with economic development in the 19th century. Various factors contributed to that improvement, and they included urbanization, the increase of factory workers, the use of steam power, and higher agricultural productivity (Roark et al. 592). Furthermore, the abolition of slavery in the North contributed to the benefits above. Those conditions could not but influence the lives of ordinary men and women who lived in that region.

When it comes to describing the population of that region, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the free-labor system did not improve social inequalities. Instead, that system resulted in the development of poverty and dependency among the Northern men.

As for women, they did not have full rights in that society, but some reformers tried to address that issue and eliminate gender discrimination. Furthermore, other political activists wanted to limit the influence of black inferiority in the North (Roark et al. 635). Thus, it is possible to suppose that the North was more developed both economically and socially than the South. While the Southerners dealt with managing their plantations with the help of their slaves, the Northerners benefited from significant economic development and wanted to improve their social and political order.

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Reasons to Fight

The information above has demonstrated that the South and the North had different visions on their development, and slavery caught the most significant portion of controversy. Thus, the opposite attitudes toward slavery were one of the leading causes that resulted in the Civil War. Thus, the Southerners seceded from the Union when they believed that the Northerners endangered their society based on slavery (Roark et al. 736). Consequently, the American people were willing to fight against one another because they thought that different opinions meant wrong opinions.

Alternative Development

Since slavery disputes are considered a significant reason for the war, it could have been possible to avoid any hostilities by solving the conflicts in advance. However, this scenario seems to be impossible because the South and the North had significantly different opinions concerning this issue. That is why it is impossible to believe that the sides would have effected a compromise without an evident reason for it.

Personal Attitude

As far as my personal opinion is concerned, I believe that my place of living would have influenced it. If I had lived in the North, I would have tried to prove the adverse outcomes of slavery. As a Southerner, however, I would have insisted on the fact that every white American citizen should have a few slaves to manage plantations. As for my supposed family members in 1861, my primary task would have been to protect them against people who could have harmed them. This task is essential irrespective of the place of living, and it is what united people from both the South and the North. It seems that the South and the North were significantly different regions in the 19th century. That is why it was impossible to avoid the American Civil War.

Work Cited

Roark, James L., et al. The American Promise: A Concise History, Volume 1: To 1877. 6th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016.

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