Sunday, January 10, 2016

Antebellum America

The early to mid 1800s (1836-1856) marked a time of significant change in the United States of America.  The country was greatly expanding towards the west and many push and pull reasons were driving this movement westward.  The historical time period later labeled antebellum by historians (before the war/Civil War) was a segment in American History where the country was on a collusion course towards disunion and the evils of slavery would finally be dealt with.

This time period is marked with violence, rebellions, innovations, compromises, religious awakenings and the two main geographical regions of America moving farther away from each other.  The North and the South had many differences in this time period and as time progressed those differences became increasingly harder to reconcile.

The North increasingly moved away from slave labor and focused more on industry and agriculture without the use of slave labor.  In the 1800s a flood of European immigrants provided that source of cheap labor in the industrial North.  Also with the building of factories, people moved from the country and allowed the growth of major cities in the North to become a reality.  The major factories took cotton and turned that cash crop into cloth for the rest of the country and world to use for clothing.

The South relied on slave labor and cultivated crops like cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, rice and indigo for the dying of clothing.  To produce these intense labor crops, southerners turned and profited towards slave labor.  Because of this economic choice, the region of the South became more and more one dimensional in terms of making money and producing goods and services.  Because of this economic choice, most Southern government did not build many public roads, railroads and basic infrastructure improvements.

Students welcome to the Antebellum historical period in America!