How the industrial and economic differences of the north and south helped cause the Civil War

Essay by wazupall05High School, 11th grade November 2004

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Many historians debate the causes of the Civil war. Yet the overwhelming economic differences between the northern and southern states on the eve of the civil war contributed significantly to the growing tensions. The industrial-reliable north had a high support for the implementation of tariffs and objected the use of slave labor, while the agricultural-reliable south strongly opposed tariffs and promoted slavery.

The North was very reliable on manufacturing and technological innovation. Environmental conditions in the north did not open opportunity for large plantations, and therefore much of the economy was based on textiles, lumber and fur trade. This reliability on industry put a high demand on tariffs , which would protect the manufactured goods from cheap foreign policies. Although labor was greatly needed, encouragement of immigration caused the northern labor force to be well numbered, since most Europeans worked in the factories and on the railroads in the north, rather than the South.

The North was also greatly reliable on exporting goods, and therefore supported governmental involvement in making internal improvements, such as roads and railroads.

The South, on the other hand, relied heavy on agriculture, more specifically on cotton. In fact, due to England's heavy reliance on American cotton, the South often referred to this economical resource as King Cotton. Not every southern resident owned a farm, and very few owned large farms, but because of the environmental conditions in the south, economy was very reliable on farming, rather than industry or manufacturing. And because of this lack of industry and manufacturing, the South also relied on imports to receive manufactured goods, and therefore objected tariffs, since they only increased the prices of imported goods. Yet these tariffs were the basis of governmental revenue, normally used on financing internal improvements, which explained why the South did not support...