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Social and Economic Conditions of the Northern and Southern States in the Years 1820-1850

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Compare and contrast the social and economic conditions of the Northern and Southern states in the time periods of 1820 to 1850.

North vs. South

1820-1850

In the early to mid 1800s the United States seemed to be split into two sections, the Northern states and the Southern states. Although they had the same flag, spoke the same language, and had the same president, the two regions seemed to be two separate countries, each one having different views and political opinions. But, because they were the same country, there were also many similarities. This mostly showed in the social and economic conditions.

The economies of each region at the time where really only similar in that they were expanding and growing stronger. One way the two regions differed in economics was in the base of the economy. For example, the South's economy was based on cotton farming, while the North's economy was based on manufacturing. Because the South did not manufacture goods, they were forced to purchase finished products from the North- thus adding to the North's economy. With the South's money they would purchase cotton from the southern states. Also, in the South, there were little job opportunities for whites since slaves had the jobs in the field, unlike the North where jobs were abundant in factories for the unskilled workers. Many of these unskilled workers were immigrants from Ireland and Germany.

While on the topic of immigrants, this brings me to how the to areas compared and contrasted in their social conditions. In comparison, in both the Southern and Northern states, people were biased against certain groups of people. In the North groups of nativists wanted immigrants out and blamed them for the higher crime rates, and for

Erin O'Brien page 2

taking jobs from native born Americans, likewise the South discriminated and used African Americans as property of whites. Although each was biased against different groups and there were different levels of discrimination, both regions treated certain groups wrongly and with no real reason. There were also differences in the social conditions. One difference is how the social ladder was determined. In the South, it was based on how much land and how many slaves you owned. Unlike

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