5. 1 Sectionalism
Sectionalism is the term used to define the sharp
socio-economic differences that divided the Northern and the Southern
states in the U.S.
Economy in the Northern States
The northern states were slowly being industrialized.
Most of the agricultural work in the north was gradually shifting
to the western region. From here, farm products were shipped to
the north and the south on the Mississippi River. In 1820, with
the completion of the Eric Canal, and the expansion of the railway
network, the northwest was connected to the north east region. This
regional alliance was to play a significant role in the national
politics, in the near future. During the early 19th century, the
northern states witnessed great changes. Industry and transport
had expanded. With the growth of industry, the need for finance
was felt. The New York stock exchange became the country’s largest
center for trade in shares and securities. New York City also became
the center for insurance companies, banks and credit agencies.
The Southern States had not changed much. It was
primarily an agricultural economy there. Cotton had become an important
crop and was exported to Britain. The leading cotton producing states
were Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The other crops
grown in the south were rice, sugar and tobacco. Farming was carried
out on huge farms or plantations as stories and folklore tell us.
In reality, however, less than 1/5th of the farmers owned the huge
plantations in the south. The sharp difference in the economy of
the north and the south led to the rise of serious conflicts on
the issues of tariff and slavery. While the northern states advocated
high tariff so as to protect their industries, high tariff affected
the interest of the farmers of the south.
Advertisements in which Black people were offered
for sale just as if they were prize animals.