The Antebellum Period sets the stage for the Civil War, but it was also a period of a growing chasm between the slaveholding southern states and what some may term as abolitionist northern states. Within this period struggle were the slaves, the source of the growing chasm. This was evidenced by the 1820 Missouri Compromise and the Wilmot Proviso, which was directly related to the issue of slavery. The Fugitive Slave Act, one element of the Compromise of 1850, brought slavery northward to the anti-slavery citizenry of the North thus placing responsibility on the northern population. This culminated in conflicts with slave catchers and court battles over the capture of slaves in the northern states. Was this chasm cultural, an issue over slavery or was there no chasm between the North and the South?
Edward Pessen takes a different approach than many in looking at the North and the South, and in his attempt to tackle this topic by questioning whether or not there were differences between the North and the South. He focuses on comparing three social indicators: the economy, the social structure, and politics and power of the Antebellum Period. He recognizes how t...
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...all dislike of slavery and prepared the people of England to sympathize with the rebellion.” Hurting the South was their own cotton embargo that saw a decline in the Irish cotton industry but more importantly a move away from cotton to linen. Ireland saw an increase from 58 to over 17,000 steam powered looms between the 1850s and 1875. Ireland was reacting to its economic needs and political desires.
For the North, a constant diplomatic struggle remained throughout most of the war to garner support for the North. The South became reliant on the idea of a cotton shortage introducing direct support for the Confederacy from overseas. This interaction between the Irish and America had a profound affect as Carroll states, “It is clear that the American perception of those Irish and British attitudes and actions shaped policy for at least a generation after the war.”
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