The differences in the lifestyles and ethics of the North and the South are one of the main reasons for the start of the Civil War. While there were several major differences between the North and South two of the major differences were the increases in modernization in the North compared to the lack of modernization in the South. While the North was focused on increasing the amount of technological advances enjoyed by the North the South was focused on creating their version of an ideal society based on the lifestyle of the English gentlemen farmer.
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This lifestyle was maintained by the presence of the slave population which assisted in the creation of the Southern aristocrat or gentlemen. The very emphasis on this ideal delayed the South’s acquisition of the modern technology that would have decreased the need for slave labor. In order to maintain ownership rights Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 which required any federal marshal to return any suspected runaway slave to the supposed owner. This led to the practice of federal marshals of kidnapping free Negros and selling them to slave owners. In response to the Fugitive Slave Act, a book entitled Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1852. This book focused on the issues around slavery promoting the abolitionists cause.
The North was well known for its focus on modernization and the creation of the American Industrial Revolution. Several of these inventions include the sewing machine and the Pullman sleeping car. The focus on modernization created increased transportation opportunities and increased wealth for the leaders of the Technological Revolution. This increased wealth created an increase in the social reforms including the creation of a public education system as well as the enhancement of abolitionist movement.
As the North focused on modernizing their lifestyles the differences in the North and South became more increased. While both of these geographical locations evolved over the years leading up to the Civil War and the North believed that the slaves should be freed popular sentiment in both regions believed in the superiority of the white population when compared to the Negro population.
The debate over slavery created tensions between these two regions. The North with its focus on abolishing slavery created a situation in which abolishing slavery became associated with the preservation of democracy. In the South the focus was on preserving their rights with an increased commitment to receiving equal representation in the government.
As the tension between the two increased, disputes over the Constitution arose. The language of the Constitution had several sections in which the language was ambiguous. These areas included the regulation of interstate commerce, the responsibilities of the federal government in the return of escaped slaves and most importantly if a state had the ability to succeed from the Union. The Articles of Confederation proclaimed the continuity of the Union while the Constitution held no such terminology.
The original differences of these regions in either choosing to modernize their economy or to maintain a lifestyle based on a historical precedent led to increased tensions and increased differences between the regions. While there are many influences on the national attitudes and beliefs that led to the onset of the Civil War, these were the fundamental differences that created the division between the two regions.