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The Scars of War

In: Historical Events

Submitted By hamptonl
Words 3044
Pages 13
The Scars of War

Lou Hampton
United States History 1763-1877
September 18, 2012

During the 1840s and 1850s, great change was coming to America. Northerners lived in a world of change in which they hardly understood. Their confusions and anxieties of that world made them ready for conflict. However, it was not completely clear what they were fighting for. The war wiped away their confusions and revealed to them where they stood and defined what kind of people they might be.
Social and economic changes were happening as the North headed toward war. The economy accelerated, increased output, generated more wealth, moved products and people at faster speeds, transmitted information more rapidly and linked distant places by rail, telegraph and newspapers. New inventions, industries and products had sprung to life. The population multiplied six fold and the amount and size of cities were continuing their growth. There were 400 places with over 2,500 people. Swelling its possibilities, the nation expanded in size when in 1845 Texas joined the Union. Another factor in the nation’s growth was in 1846 when the Oregon territorial boundary was settled. The sudden economic growth was not as beneficial as it seemed. Per capita wealth was growing but there was a decline in actual wages. The North controlled about 92 percent of the wealth. This helped fuel sectionalism because the Southerners became afraid that they would lose their own culture and power in Congress. This led them to the debate over slavery. This was tearing the nation apart. The economic and social changes affected this debate immensely because of the North emerging as an industrial system. This made people sympathetic toward Southern workers. “Thus the struggle between North and South became a struggle over political economy and contrasting social visions” (Paludan, xxv).

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