The economic and social differences highlighted by westward expansion led to the creation of two complete different sections of America, the North and the South. Yes, the North and South were already created; however, the economic and social changes, which became more clear through westward expansion, led them to growing farther apart and the two sides having a political conflict between each other’s ideas for the future of America. Westward expansion led to the North and South having to try and come to an agreement on whether the new states and territories would become a slave states or a free states.
The North valued the abolition of slavery while the South thrived on slavery. Many compromises were created due to this conflict between two sides. However, these compromises were not effective compromises. For example, the Missouri Compromise of 1820 led to Missouri becoming a slave state resulting in an unequal balance. Maine then became its own state out of Massachusetts and became a free state. It was called the Missouri compromise because Missouri became a slave state and in order to keep equal balance a compromise needed to be created and thus thus the creation of Maine as a free state happened.
However, this compromise just added states to this balance of free or slave it did not change anything in terms of a shift in free states or slave states. There was just one more slave state and one more free state. The North being anti-slavery while the South being pro-slavery was a result of many social and economical differences such as: Agriculture from the South vs Industrialization from the North, and Southerners being pro slavery because of their income being focused on agriculture while the North valued factories and industrialization helping factor to one of their main ideals of being against slavery. )
There were many compromises through westward expansion that were a direct cause to whether the eventual America would value slavery or not. These compromises revealed how strong the social and economical gap between the North and South was and showed that a change needed to happen and must be soon. The compromises, in reality, were just prolonging the issue of whether the future would be reliant on the South or the North because the compromises either contradicted and went against previous compromises or just added more slave or non-slave states. They were never solving the issue.
This gap between the North and South was so vast that it would never come to an agreement, resulting in some of America being slave states and some not. These differences and westward expansion directly resulted in the North and the South realizing it had to be one or the other. Progressive America was to either be cultivated by the North or South, there could be no in between, resulting in the Civil War being inevitable. Westward Expansion expressed how nothing was changing besides states becoming either slave or free states.
There were no occurrences besides D. C where America saw a state change from slave to free or vise versa. With that said, the New Mexico and Utah territory were to be determined by Popular sovereignty due to the Great Compromise of 1850. This meant that within the state people would decide on whether the state should be determined as a slave or free state. The intentions of popular sovereignty were only good. The goal of it was to let the people decide giving them ultimate power and promoting democracy. Instead, popular sovereignty led to a division of people within the Kansas-Nebraska.
Citizens either supported slavery and wanted to be a slave state or opposed slavery and wanted it to be a free state. There was no in between. As a duty of being a citizen, you defended what you believed so people were fighting to convince the other side that there side was superior. That was pointless because of how drastic the difference was between either being a slave or free state. There was a 0% chance of compromising, so this led to people fighting physically for what they believed for. An example of this was “Bleeding Kansas”.
Bleeding Kansas happened because settlers who were anti-slavery fought settlers that were pro-slavery. This was due to popular sovereignty. People that lived more in the southern territory were pro-slavery and fought for Kansas to be a slave while the people who lived in the northern territory believed in Kansas being a free state and fought for that. This led to an internal civil war and hinted at the fact that Civil War was in the making. The Missouri compromise of 1820 became irrelevant due to the Compromise of 1850 because there was no longitude latitude line.
The violence that would be a result of no compromise, occured because the only way to decide whether a state was free or slave was decided by the people. Bleeding Kansas was a result of letting the people decide. Another, aspect of the Great Compromise of 1850, a direct result of westward expansion, was the fugitive slave law. The main points of the fugitive slave law of 1851 stated that it would “deny a jury trial to anyone accused of escaping from slavery; give marshals tremendous leeway to pursue slaves into free states; and empower the federal government to prosecute northerners who shielded runaways.
This act happened in the first place because of southern states thinking about seceding from the union due to the result of other aspects in the Compromise of 1850. This law being passed meant that slaves that were considered free were most likely no longer free. In retrospect, the Southerners would get what they want because slavery would continue to exist and grow and the Northerners would get nothing because this completely went against what they believed for.
Obviously, the northerners would not just accept that so this led to revolts and people such as Ralph Waldo Emerson people standing up publicly expressing their beliefs. Ralph Emerson said, “An immoral law makes it a man’s duty to break it, at every hazard,”and further states, “The law is suicidal, and cannot be obeyed. ” This perfectly summed up what most northerners thought because they were not just going to let the the south get what they want. With regards to that, the only way of expressing that they were not going to let this happen was through physical force such as rebellions and revolts.
The tension was certainly growing between the North and the South as westward expansion was occurring because each side realized the only option was to start fighting for what you believed in and that it was impossible to create a compromise between the sides because, in retrospect, 36 years had gone by and things were only trending down. There were many economical and social differences between the North and South that led to western expansion being such a complex problem. The main difference between the North and South was was their main source of economy.
The South had extremely fertile land, which led to tobacco being a main source of income for the South for both growing and exporting purposes. This led to many plantations and the development of more crops such as: cotton, sugarcane, and sugar beets. Southerners could not run a plantation by themselves, so black slaves that they got from Africa did most of the labor for them. Resulting in slave labor being a major factor for the agricultural economy. On the contrary, the North did not have as nice soil or climate and turned to having a more industrialized economy that was more reliant on trade for their economy.
This economic difference was huge because a main reason the North wanted no slavery was because their economy was not at all reliant on it. On the other hand, the South needed it because without slave labor not only does the Southern economy get affected but America’s economy as a whole does because of the negative effect it would have on cotton production. The South claimed, rightly so, that the mass production of cotton was a necessity to America’s economy. This is expressed in “Cotton is King,” a speech given by James Henry Hammond.
It states that, “United States exported in round numbers $279,000,000 worth of domestic produce and that the South contributed to 185,000 while the North contributed 95,000” With this being true, that means that the South is contributing almost double than what the North is in terms of domestic production. This exposes an economical difference between the North and South showing how the South is way more efficient. If they had the same economical system, the Civil War would not have happened because the economy would be thriving from both perspectives and slavery would either be a necessity or not relevant.
Instead, they have polar opposite economies, which led to the sides having social issues because one uses slavery and the other does not. The North feels as if the future of America’s economy shall be based on trade and industrialization while the South feels as the future of America’s economy should be dependent on agriculture and slave labor. This difference is a main and direct cause of the Civil War because without a difference in economies or socially than all westward expansion decides is whether all new states are slave states or all new states are non-slave states.
There is no compromise needed and popular sovereignty would never occur. The problem between the North and South is never created in the first place without economic or social differences. Westward Expansion and the social and economical differences between the North and South are what directly caused the Civil War while concepts such as the Abolitionist movement may have increased tensions faster, but even without it, the Civil War would have happened.
The abolitionist movement was made up of people who believed in ending slavery just in a more proactive way such as trying to “end slavery and helping slaves escape to the North and Canada while many Northerners viewed slavery as wrong. ” This shows how abolitionists were proactively trying to end slavery and were willing to risk their livelihood for the fate of the slaves while most Northerners just viewed slavery as wrong, but took less to no action on it. Despite Abolitionists being more proactive they were still viewed upon as Northerners.
This is expressed through a speech given by Mississippi politician, Albert Gallatin Brown, “The Northerners) hate us now, and they teach their children in their schools and churches to hate our children… the John Brown raid… the abolitionists among us, tell the tale… The North is accumulating power, and it means to use that power to emancipate (free) your slaves. ” He refers to the abolitionist movement gaining power being a direct cause to the North gaining power. He relates the two as if they are connected because they are.
Both abolitionists and Northerners wanted the same goal and that was for there to be no more slavery. Abolitionists were just seen as more extreme because they were more proactive in ending slavery. However, they are not considered there own group because they were fighting for the North. The abolitionist movement helped increase the tension between the North and South, but that is just because they were more active in ending slavery causing the Civil War to happen faster, but these tensions were growing even without the abolitionists.
The North and South already had provoked the tensions even further because of westward expansion and the fact that compromises were solving nothing, leading to popular sovereignty, which ultimately led to the concept of fighting for what you believed for. The Civil War, regardless of the abolitionist movement, was going to happen because the two different sides had already come to the realization that fighting for what you believed for, seemed to be the only option.