The North and South were deeply divided in the issue of black civil rights, with the North adopting a pro-civil rights stance and the South adopting a pro-slaves stance. The different elimination histories and economics bases of the North and South regions shaped these different views on civil rights for black slaves during 1 820 off 860. The North’s pro-civil rights stance grew as a result Of solid economic base in industrialization and their settlement history of religious freedom.
While the North’s soil and climate did not favor large plantations, this region did have many natural resources which helped fuel the growth of industrialization and urban areas. As shown in Document A in the “Railroads in 1860,” the North had more than two-thirds of the railroad tracks which made it easier to rainspout goods and drive the economy. Because this industrial growth was not dependent on slave labor, but immigrants coming to the cities, Northerners saw the blacks as people not just economic resources.
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In addition, the North had been established on religious freedom and had been the focus on America’s fight for independence, so the North was tolerant of messages from abolitionists like Frederick Douglas who talked about the injustice of slaves’ lack of freedom (Document C). These views were also shown in response to the John Brown incident who tried to seize a federal arsenal and start a slave uprising (Document E). The Northerners called Brown “a martyr for the sacred cause of freedom. Thus, the northerners didn’t rely on slave labor for their industrial economy and were tolerant of messages of freedom due to their settlement history, which led to their pro- civil rights stance. On the other hand, the South’s economic base was largely agriculture, and their dependence on slave labor drove their pro-slavery stance. The Southern colonies were primarily settled for cash crops, like cotton and tobacco, because of their fertile soil and climate.
As shown in Document A, “The Slave Density and Cotton Production, 1860,” cotton was almost exclusively grown in the South, and heavily relied on slave labor. In addition, the South had limited industry and relied heavily on the North for “almost every article of utility and adornment… And that were are dependent on Northern capitalists for the means necessary to build our railroads, canals, and there public transportation” (Document B). Because agriculture was their key economic base and was dependent on slave labor, the Southerners viewed slaves as economic resources or property rather than people.
They believed the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dried Scott case, which held the the Fifth Amendment did not apply to African Americans because they were property, as proof of their viewpoint. They believed that civil rights would destroy their economy, and became violent against antislavery actions such as in the John Brown case that they believed were plotted by the North (Document E). Therefore, because the civil rights movement would have destroyed the southern economy which was heavily dependent on agriculture and slave labor, they adopted adopted pro-slavery stance.
Therefore the different colonization histories and economics of the North and South led to the North’s pro-civil rights stance and the South’s pro-slavery stance in 1820 to 1860. These differences truly divided a nation as described by Abraham Lincoln during his Republic nomination speech for U. S. Senator: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. ” His speech foreshadowed the divide that would ultimately lead to the Civil War, in which North fought against South over the issue of slavery.