Southern States were agriculture based. The whole of the southern economy rested almost entirely on the price of cotton and tobacco mainly as well as other agriculture crops. Northern States we much more industrialized in the NE, relied upon southern cash crops (cotton) for the manufacture of goods such as wool, shoes, and other fabrics and commodities. The mid-west was caught in the middle, while major cities did make up some of the mid -west, they were cattle and rail cites and relied on the import of cattle and crops from the mid- west neighbors. Tariffs also played a role in the economic reason. Southern states had to import most of its finished goods relying of the north, Britain and France for these imports. They did not support the taxing of imports because this raised the price in which devalued the price of the South’s exports.
The social differences between the two regions while similar were vastly different as well. Southern lived in a very aristocratic society where levels of society were closely guarded. While very difficult to move up in society it was possible with vast amounts of money or marrying into one of the old families or blue bloods. With the urbanization of the north and the mass of immigrants coming into northern ports society was just as just as leveled. New immigrants lived in neighbor hoods with others like themselves and were more accepted after they had made their fortune in commerce and could more easily move to more respected areas. The north was almost as segregated if not to the same level with its treatment of fresh of the boat immigrants. The Irish had it the toughest as they were stereotyped as drunks and fighters and were mostly regulated to dock work or police and firefighters.
States vs. Federal Rights:
Since the time of the Revolution, two camps emerged: those arguing for greater states rights and those arguing that the federal government needed to have more control. The first organized government in the US after the American Revolution was under the Articles of Confederation. The thirteen states formed a loose confederation with a very weak federal government. However, when problems arose, the weaknesses of the Articles caused the leaders of the time to come together at the Constitutional Convention and create, in secret, the US Constitution. Strong proponents of states rights like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were not present at this meeting. Many felt that the new constitution ignored the rights of states to continue to act independently. They felt that the states should still have the right to decide if they were willing to accept certain federal acts. This resulted in the idea of nullification, whereby the states would have the right to rule federal acts unconstitutional. The federal government denied states this right. However, proponents such as John C. Calhoun fought vehemently for nullification. When nullification would not work and states felt that they were no longer respected, they moved towards secession.
The Issue with Slavery:
As America began to expand, first with the lands gained from the Louisiana Purchase and later with the Mexican War, the question of whether new states admitted to the union would be slave or free. The Missouri Compromise passed in 1820 made a rule that prohibited slavery in states from the former Louisiana Purchase the latitude 36 degrees 30 minutes north except in Missouri. During the Mexican War, conflict started about what would happen with the new territories that the US expected to gain upon victory. David Wilmot proposed the Wilmot Proviso in 1846 which would ban slavery in the new lands. However, this was shot down to much debate. The Compromise of 1850 was created by Henry Clay and others to deal with the balance between slave and free states, northern and southern interests. One of the provisions was the fugitive slave act. Another issue that further increased tensions was the…