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A nation divided

Economy: Industrial and agricultural

Library of Congress
The Northern and Southern states differed in how they made a living, also known as their economy. The Northern states had developed an industrialized economy based on the making and selling of goods.

Therefore, textile mills, factories, and industries were scattered across the North.

These industries made products from raw materials, called manufacturing. These manufactured goods would then be taken to markets for sale. The North liked tariffs, a tax on foreign goods, because these taxes would make imported goods more expensive, and people would buy Northern-made items. The use of tariffs protected the factory owners and workers from losing their jobs. To keep prices low, the North built roads, canals, and railroads to transport the goods from place to place to sell.

The South's economy, how they made their living, was based on farming or agriculture. Large farms, called plantations, used slave labor to harvest abundant amounts of crops to sell. These were called cash crops and included such things as tobacco, cotton, and rice. The South disliked tariffs because most of their goods were bought from foreign countries and cost more because of the taxes. Many plantation owners were also concerned that England might stop buying cotton from the South if high tariffs were added to the price. In the South, it was believed that "Cotton was King" because it was sold in such large amounts.

The North and South made their money in very different ways and wished to preserve their unique way of life. The Northern people saw progress in terms of industry and transportation, while the Southerners wanted to maintain their Antebellum system of slavery and plantations. The South did not care about the technology which was changing the North, so they continued to put their money into land and slaves, while Northerners invested in factories and railroads. Therefore, manufacturing and industry continued in the North, while farming went on in the South.

This contrast in the United States was also present in the state of Virginia. The eastern counties of Virginia, close to the tidewater region, relied on slavery and farming, while the western counties, closer to the Appalachian Mountains, favored the abolition of slavery. The same differences facing the country were also dividing the state. In 1863, these disagreements would lead to West Virginia becoming its own state.

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The story

1. A Nation Divided

2. Events and Battles

3. Leaders

4. Daily Life

5. Aftermath


North or South?

Match the abolitionist

What would you do?

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