In its long and illustrious history, New York City (NYC) has gone through tremendous change. From a small trading post on the tip of Manhattan Island, to the greatest metropolis in the world, NYC has continued to evolve over time. One period in particular that had more degrees of change than many others, was 1860 to 1865. The lives of the residents of the great port city would be completely changed forever.
The common life of a NYC merchant in 1860 was that of a well-rounded diplomat. One who was able to make deals with both the Southern plantation owner, who sold him the cotton from which the merchant made his money, and the European who the merchant sold this cotton to. This merchant was well aware of how the cotton came from the ground, through the gin, and into the bales. He was well aware that his whole economy was based on this cotton. He also had moral feelings toward the "peculiar institution" that had given him this cotton to trade. But the question on his mind is, "why bite the hand that feeds you?"
Anxiety and fear were common emotions faced by these merchants at that time. If you were to sever the ties between the north and the south, what will America's greatest importing and exporting city do? Will this schism between the nation cause NYC's growth to stop? What effect, if any, would the formation of a new republic in the south have on the lives of the people and commerce of the City?
In 1860, there were several different directions NYC could go. One option would be to stay firm and represent the ideals of capitalism, freedom, and liberty, which had made the city so strong. To side with the nation that their grandparents had liberated ...
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5. Foner Ph.D., Phillps Business and Slavery, The New York Merchants and the Irrepressible Conflict
New York: Russell and Russell, 1968
6. Freeman, Andrew A. Abraham Lincoln Goes to New York
New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1960
7. Harris, Bill The History Of New York City
New York: Archive Publishing, 1999
8. Pleasants, Samuel Agustus Fernando Wood Of New York- Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law
New York: Colombia University Press, 1948
1. Pleasants page 115
2. Pleasants page 115
3. Pleasants page 116
4. Alexander page 348
5. Pleasants page 103
6. Barrows page 869
7. Pleasants page 143
8. Barrows page 893
9. Barrows page 903
10. Gettysburg Address
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