US Civil War

In what ways ad to what extent was industrial development from 1800 to 1860 a factor in the relationship between the northern and southern states?

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March 05, 2012 3:20PM

  • The first change was a lifestyle change. Prior to the Industrial Revolution homes were nearly entirely self-sufficient. That is, they had farms and could supply themselves indefinately with little help from others. However, as the Industrial Revolution came, people began to move to the cities. As the cities grew, the average home became less and less self-sufficient. As you might have guessed, it's pretty difficult to raise a farm in a city. Therefore, citydwellers were forced to buy their food from farms outside the cities. Since the South maintained its argicultural identity while the North grew increasingly industrial, the South made more and more money from selling their crops to the North.
  • However, It was the North who benefited from technological advancement. Just previous to the Civil War, the vast majority of the railroads were in the North, which proved to be a significant advantage during the Civil War because the Northern troops could be resupplied far faster than Southern troops.
  • The South was entirely dependant on slaves, while the North was increasingly dependant on technology and Southern farms.
  • However, there was a downside to the North's technological advancment. More and more people moved to the cities resulting in increasing dependance on outside food sources (mainly the South), so when the Civil War errupted, the price of food in the North shot way up since the large majority of food was produced in the South.
  • Pre industrial development we had little political impact on the world, even after we gained independence from Britain.
  • However, as the Industrial Revolution progressed, more and more new technologies were being invented in United States (such as the Cotton Gin, the Steam Engine, the Steam Boat, the revolver, and so on). These new technologies increased in demand significantly as the years went on.
  • These technological advantages gave United States a significant edge which resulted in United States becoming an increasingly bigger player in world affairs (especially the North since the large majority of factories were in the North). The political influence the North held over the South would prove to be a significant advantage as well when the Civil War broke out.