South America vs. North America

10 October 2016

Their respective societies were also diverse. The period between 1800 and 1850 brought rapid population growth throughout the United States. In the North the overall population rose from about 5 million to 31 million during this time. Part of this increase was due to massive immigration. Between 1830 and 1850 over 2 million Irish, German, and other northern Europeans arrived in the United States. Most of them settled in the North. The population of the South was made up of white Americans and enslaved Africans. By 1800 there were about 4 million slaves in America and the United States was the largest slaveholding republic.

The total population of the South reached 12 million. The South was an overwhelmingly agricultural region of mostly farmers. Most farmers lived in the backcountry on medium sized farms, while a small number of planters ran large farms, or plantations. The South was ideal for agriculture and had the ability to grow crops in large amounts. However, only one-fourth of the Southern population owned slaves, and most of these were the planters. The rest of the population was made up of white independent farmers, tenant farmers (who rented land and paid the landowners in crops or money), laborers, or frontier families.

South America vs. North America Essay Example

Most Southerners lived on farms, scattered along the coastal plains and the small farmers in the backcountry. Since the economy was based on agriculture, industries and towns developed at a slower pace than in the North. There were many small towns along the banks of rivers and the coasts. Only a few large cities developed as trading centers in the South. Plantations were so large and so distant from each other that they became almost self-sufficient, like small towns. Cities in the North thrived as centers of commerce. They were set up along the Atlantic coast and served as centers of trade between the North and Europe.

They were hubs of manufacturing of textiles (cloth goods) and other products. Many people from rural New England moved to the cities looking for employment opportunities. In 1800 about 5 percent of the population lived in cities, but by 1850 nearly 15 percent did. Increased trade and manufacturing drew many laborers to town to work. Cities were often crowded and dirty. Not until after 1830’s were harbors and streets improved, sanitation systems were started, and police forces were created. Public services such as education began to take root. The Southern economy was based on agriculture.

Crops such as cotton, tobacco, rice, sugar cane and indigo were grown in great quantities. They were raised on large farms, known as plantations, which were supported by slave labor. After Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, cotton took over as “king” of the southern economy. Whitney invented the cotton gin, a machine that separated the seed from the cotton fiber much faster than could be done by hand. This caused a rapid growth and expansion of cotton production. In 1793 Southern farmers produced about 10,000 bales of cotton. By 1835, they were growing over 1 million bales a year.

Cotton exports made up two-thirds of the total value of American exports. To clear land and grow cotton, Southerners used slave labor. Slavery was essential for the South’s prosperity. The South had little manufacturing, and Southerners wanted cheap imports. Since they exported most of their cotton and tobacco, they believed that high tariffs-–taxes on imported goods—would scare away the foreign markets that bought their goods. For these reasons the South was against tariffs. The North, however, favored high tariffs to protect its industries from foreign competition.

The Northern economy was based on many different industries. These included shipping, textiles, lumber, furs, and mining. The majority of people lived on small farms and found that much of the land was suited for subsistence farming—raising food crops and livestock for family use—rather than producing goods to export, or send to other countries. Northerners stated to use their “ingenuity” to manufacture all kinds of goods. With the use of waterpower and coal for steam plants, manufacturing developed quickly. People realized that the many surrounding waterfalls were cheap source of energy, and the waterpower began to be used to run the factories. Items such as textiles, iron, and ships were manufactured in great quantities. These goods were traded for foreign products, as well as transported to and from all continents by trading ships. The growth of trade, manufacturing and transportation brought many changes to cities in the North. Cities took on an increasingly important role in determining the culture of the North. Merchants, manufacturers, wage earners, and new business owners brought new ideas to the North. The majority of Northerners were Protestant believers.

Villages became strong centers of community activities. Cities were important centers of art, culture, and education. Most cities printed newspapers and books and provided many forms of recreation, such as dancing, card playing, and theatre. Both religion and education were organized institutes. Most towns had both schools and churches. Public education grew in the north after the 1830s, but few boys went to secondary school, and college was reserved mostly for the wealthy. There were few schools or churches in the South, since neither education nor religion were very organized.

The best educated were the sons of planters. On plantations there were sometimes small schools, and often planters hired private tutors to teach their children until they could be sent off to private schools. Small farmers had little or no education. Life in the South revolved around the small, wealthy class of planters and the agricultural system they controlled. Planters were the aristocracy—the upper class—of the South. They lived like country gentleman of England and ran the political and economic life. Plantations were far apart and developed their own communities.

Recreational activities included such things as fox hunting, dancing, horseracing, and watching cockfights. During the first half of the 1800s transportation vastly improved, and the size of the United States more than doubled. Methods of long-distance transports, such as steamships and railroads, affected the South because products could more easily be sold to more distant markets. By 1850 about 9,000 miles of railroad spread across the Southern states. Meanwhile, hundreds of steamboats moved Southern crops to the North and to European markets.

Still, this was not nearly as vast a railroad system as the North. Most of the new rail lines were in the North, spanning out to the west. By 1850, 30,000 miles of railroad tracks connected distant parts of the United States. . Canals, mostly built in the North, were also a cheap source of transportation. The Erie Canal was clearly a success for New York commercial activities. Many other cities began to follow suit and within a decade a system of over 3,000 canals provided water transportation between the Eastern seaboard and rivers in the West. By 1850 there were over 88,000 miles of surfaced roads.

Although the Northern and Southern states shared many things, in the period of 1800-1850, their disparities began to outshine what they had in common, which helped to lead into the Civil War. Their economies were polar opposites, with the Northern industrializing and the South farming and exporting; their societies were based on two diverse things, the South being an almost aristocratic system and the North focusing on factory work and industrializing. Their governmental ideals differed, especially and so blatantly emphasized in their opinions on tariffs.

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