December 20, 2013
In the mid-nineteenth century, the United States found itself trapped in a land of brutality and warfare. A nation plagued with slavery, racism, political conflict, economic strife, and conflicting presidential preferences had come to its breaking point. While the states in the southern region of the United States had adopted the idea of slave labor, those in the north had not. These states relied on industrialization. Deriving from the initial conflict of slavery, many problems arose. The southern states were predominantly Democratic. The northern states, however, were exclusively members of the Republican party. Their contrasting views inevitably led to a great complication. With the new stance on expansion, copious problems struck the United States. The battle over Free v. Slave states reigned on throughout this time period. With these factors at hand, America entered a barbarous Civil War.
In the 1800s, slavery was disputed heavily between the northern and southern states. People living in the south embraced the fact that they demonstrated slave labor. Plantations were placed all over the United States, each having an unspeakable number of slaves. Not only were the slaves forced to work on these plantations, but they were also treated extremely poorly. According to Frederick Douglass, “ ... the children unable to work in the field had neither shoes, stockings, jackets, nor trousers, given to them… When these failed them, they went naked until the next allowance day.” The South saw no fault in their way of life. Their economy was booming because of the slaves’ laborious time spent on plantations. And, concurrently, so was the economy of the northern states. Much earlier in 1794, a man named Eli Whitney created a device that would change the economies of both the South and the North. This new piece of technology made the tiresome chore of picking cotton slightly less laborious. Before this miraculous technological advancement, slaves spent an entire day working on one pound of cotton. While using the new device , slaves “ could produce up to fifty pounds of cleaned cotton in a day.” The drastic increase of “White Gold” in the southern states positively affected the North. By this time, the northern states were very industrialized. One of their greatest advancements was the creation of the power loom. The North would receive cotton from the southern states, transport it to factories throughout the region, and transform the cotton into wearable fabric. The new clothing created a marginally greater profit than ever before. Because of this, the North chose to ignore the issue of slavery for the time being. It would have critically damaged their economy if they had acted. Later on, however, things changed. When the idea of expansion came about, the North began to question their morals.
With their newfound enlightenment on the decency of slavery, the northern states chose to act. Hand in hand with slavery, racism was prevalent throughout the 1800s. People were treated as inferiors based solely on the color of their skin. Completely biased laws and regulations existed within every community. For example, Lydia Maria Child says, “In the first place, an unjust law exists in this Commonwealth, by which marriages between persons of different color is pronounced illegal…” Because of these unfair laws forbidding such ridiculous things, abolitionism was on the rise. Abolitionists wanted to permanently end slavery in the United States. Notable Abolitionist from this time period were William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown. With different tactics, each of these people were very effective in the fight against slavery. In 1831, Garrison published an anti-slavery journal known as The Liberator. In this paper, William Lloyd Garrison quickly addresses the issue of racism in America. He says, “... Assenting to the ‘self-evident truth’ maintained in the American...
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