Differing Perspectives of the American Civil War

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The decades leading up to the American Civil War showed a great divide in the economic, political, and regional attitudes between the North and South. These divisions still plague the country today. However, there is a divide on whether economic anxieties or political differences were the major factor in the run up to the Civil War. According to Michael F. Holt, economics did not play much of a role leading up to the American Civil War. Although, one can argue that political and economic issues go hand in hand. Mr. Holt does not see economic differences as the main cause for the American Civil War. He points to the fact that these economic an industry differences had been around for many years prior to the war with little friction. Bruce Levine, on the other hand, points to economics as the main reason for the Civil War. He points to two different economies between the North and South which had greatly different needs. The Northern economy was on of industrialization, urbanization, and the embrace of new technologies, such as the use of trains for transportation, and shipping goods. Factories were built. City living, and paid labor became the way of life for much of the North. Slavery was never really a factor to the Northern economy, so non-slave owners in the North, greatly out numbered the small number of slave owners that remained. Alderman-Roy2 In the South, however, the economy was predominantly agricultural. Cotton and tobacco plantations relied heavily on the free labor of slaves for their economic prosperity. They saw the urbanization and industrialization of the North, and the economic connection between the North a... ... middle of paper ... ...ain the “laid-back” attitude and shy away from social change. The irony of the political divide is the North is now Democratic and the South is Republican. The economies of the two regions are still very different. The North tends to be more pro-union and workers rights. Whereas the South, tend to have more right-to-work states, which embraces more of corporate rights stance. But unlike the 1800’s, our population has become more mobile. A “Yankee” from the North can live, and prosper, in the Deep South. On the same token, a “Southern Bell” can move to New York City and make it big on Broadway. We are much more intertwined and that may be the anchor that is holding us together, today.

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