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Antebellum Period

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Alden S

on 20 November 2012

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Transcript of Antebellum Period

The Antebellum Period 1793-1848 The Antebellum period in America was a time of economic advancements and growth around the 1790's to the start of the civil war. Through this period of time America fathered ideas like the cotton gin and McCormick's reaping machine; it would create transportation over rail and river while expanding roads and city growth. It would mark the start of mass immigration and create an industrial revolution. It would change life in the city and life in the country. It created naval advancements and start creating a world market. The Antebellum period is a huge impact on the american society and it would shape the years to come. Eli Whitney's cotton gin As the demand for cotton rose higher and higher the south needed a new way to increase production due to the Industrial Revolution which would contribute to the rapid growth of a global market(Tindall and Shi 451) In 1792 Eli Whitney a recent Yale graduate traveled visited Mulberry Grove home of Nathaneal Greene to asses the problem of separating cotton seeds from cotton fiber(Tindall and Shi 452). In the Spring of 1793 Eli Whitney created the cotton gin(short for engine)(Tindall and Shi 452).
The cotton gin would have a huge impact on the United Sates and the world. The cotton gin enables the operator to produce 50 times more cotton the a worker by hand(Tindall and Shi 452). To be able to export more cotton mean the south will get more money. Although this leads to economical stability it does not lead to socail stability.This creates a demand for more laborers which will spark an increase of slave trade in the Southwest which will decrease the standard of living for many people. This increase slave trade will also add to the secular feelings the southern slave owners have as they feel the uproar of the northern abolitionists. Which will lead to the free states slave state divide which leads to a civil war. 1832
Mills rapidly begin to be established in the North With the invention of the cotton gin, The North quickly jumped on the opportunity and established mills all throughout the Northeast. Mill owners hired slaves, women and children at extremely low wages and intolerable working conditions. This boosted the north's economy with huge profit margin from the low wages. People on the outside had no idea what when on inside the mills, unaware of the abuse of the workers.(Kennedy Bailey 293) This created a major social divide between the mill workers and the rest of world. The workers were divided and angered that nobody would help improve the working conditions. 1836
Irish begin the flow of immigration into America Water Transportation 1820's-on By early 1820's water transportation was overtaking turnpike travel as the main way for transportation(Tindall and Shi 456). The use of steam and flat boats, and barges was cheaper and easier than wagons(Tindall and Shi 456). By 1836 361 steamboats were traveling the waterways of America(Tindall adn Shi 457).
The steamboat gave America a new and improved way to increase efficiency to transport goods internally. It created a nationwide market that would be able to create more income and for cities like New York and New Orleans; steamboats transport goods to port cities faster therefore America creates more income value off exports. Water transport would eventually give away to railroads. The value of manufacturing out put went from $100.71 to $149.97 from 1850 to 1860 showing the shift of the north to becoming reliant on manufacturing like the mills (Brown 198) America is the land of opportunity, the Irish see this and take this great chance packing up everything so that their children can start life in the greatest country in the world.(Kennedy Bailey 298) Many of these workers are very able, in fact more able than most americans taking jobs from them. Creating a divide and a sense of inequality. But these able Irish are another boost in the economy creating an even bigger economic separation from the south. Leading to a larger social indifference the tensions are growing To hide the fact of the poor working conditions, the mill owners had the literate workers write a journal about factory life and censored it in order to make the mills look like a positive working environment creating good public opinion and attracting workers(Kennedy Bailey 295-296) The poor working conditions finally were put into view in 1860 when a mill collapsed and killed over 600 workers. (Kennedy, Bailey 297-298) Disaster in Massachusetts Mill (Kennedy, Bailey 297-298) Railroads 1800's-on At the heart of all of the economy during the antebellum period is slavery. It fueled the economy with its cheap labor making the north a power over the south with its mass manufacturing of cotton. Creating a social divide between the two halves of the country During the 1820's port cities were scheming in ideas to connect port cities to one another by faster means than roads and water(Tindall and Shi 459.) Eventually 30,626 miles of railroad were laid in the U.S.A(Tindall and Shi 459).
Railroads for the United States meant faster, and more efficient way to transport goods over the country. Now internal crops can be shipped for export to the coast in no time boosting profits for the port cities. The effect is building the nations economy and paving the way for economical domination. Railroads would also allow faster westward expansion which adds to the manifest destiny fever. This would be a crucial domino in the western takeover by the Americans. The cheap wages and inequality of the workers built a major social gap between the poor and the rich. The workers began to realize this unfair inequality and decided to take a stand. Labor Unrest Increasing Tension American culture There were strikes and conflicts at which ensued and created a greater tension between the two sides and also was effecting the production and economy of the north This gave the south a chance to get back and the north and become as powerful as there brothers above them. In 1836, 20 citizens were arrested for criminal conspiracy by striking for higher wages.(Kennedy Bailey 305) These workers were incredibly under paid and saw a strike as the only way to get equality. But this not only ruined their lives but widened the gap evermore between the rich and the poor. But the motivation behind the convictions was not justice, but economics. If the strikes were allowed to continue it would have sparked a chain of riots throughout the northeast and lead to a eventual raise in wages. This would harm the Northeast economy greatly most likely cutting profits in half. But In the long run it is an action that should have been completed to remove the tension and potentially quell the idea of war. Tailors Strike in New York With a shift from country work to city work many Americans pursued new ways of entertainment. Instead of country and regional based activities like shooting, races, and fishing the people in the city began to develop new ways to kill time(Tindall and Shi 472) People began to create drinking games and tavern based games especially fights be it animals or people(Tindall and Shi 473). Performing arts grew popularity as well as song writing and bands. During the antebellum period Americans created new ways of entertainment that would pave the way for what we do today. The combinations of people from different origins coming together would create a brand new American culture nobody saw coming. It would create a new identity for America. Around the 1830's emerged an entirely American concept never seen before in the world. "Minstrelsy" was a type of music composed by whites featuring banjos and fiddle music that built upon racial stereotypes.(Tindall and Shi 474) It was the first American origin way of entertainment. German Immigration Although the north employed more than twice as many hands as the south, (Brown 197) the north made a substantial amount more profit. Showing an economic divide. Even though the majority of the south's labor was by slaves. Cotton was in such high demand that the massive production in the north and t The German wave of immigration peaked around 1854 bringng about 215,000 germans to America(Tindall and Shi 479) bringing cultured professionals such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, and engineers(Tindall and Shi 479). This created a spark in fields that Americans were lacking in. They also created german roots by creating communities based off traditions of their homeland(Tindall and Shi 479-480) which would add to the mixing pot of the multinational identity of America. A wave of Germans also brought a wave of new religious perspective along with a new community full of entertainment and prosperity Levi Strauss, created a durable work pant to assist gold miners in the west, this paves the way for jeans, a pant widely popular in this common era Nativism Not all of the americans welcomed the flood of immigrants with their new ways and habits. Many Irish and German Catholics aroused Protestant hostility towards the immigrant Cathlics.(Tindall and Shi 480). With the growth of a religious divide would create tension between Americans and the newcomers. This would spawn anti Catholic sermons by a man named Lyman Beecher(Tindall and Shi 481). This would create even more tension that would eventually lead to armed clashes between Protestants and Catholics in 1844(Tindall and Shi). These clashes would lower the standard of living in the areas where clashes occur becasue of the danger and risk it poses to be in an area of armed conflict The effect of these events are that now the Americans look upon the newer immigrants with resent and ignorance rather than opening up thier world to them which if they did open up could maybe benefit them greatly. The American Party The anti Catholic events would lead to feelings of anti foreign, which would give birth to the American party. The American party is a party that would not vote to elect any foreigners or Catholics(Tindall and Shi 481). This would also create more tension between the Americans and the foreigners and would threaten the ability for Catholics and foreigners to hold an office(Tindall and Shi 480). When asked about this party the denied and said they knew nothing about it and hence they are coined the Know-Nothing party(Tindall and Shi 481). In the Lowell mills, regulations were put in which were designed to fix the lives of the mill workers in order to increase efficiency and production. Many of these regulations had to do with religious practice.(Kennedy Bailey 307) Socially these workers did not have the same rights in the factory as given to them by the constitution. This showed the lack of value for the workers as nothing more than money making slaves. Money was the motivation behind this social divide. Mill Regulations The biggest labor dispute before the civil war was by two shoemakers, Lynn and Natick, who when their request for higher wages was denied, walked out and began to strike. Though their initiative failed it sparked many others. This causes a huge impact on the economy as with higher wages comes the decrease in profits as the north's economic domination over the south is starting to slow down Wage strikes Hit Their Stride Although many of the innovations that made the North and the West thrive economically came from the south. The south showed the least economic benefit from the inventions. Putting them at the bottom of the economic ladder in America. While production of cotton was increased the rate of production was the same leading to more slave workers. This still did not do enough to catch up to the ever growing North caught up in the Industrial revolution. South suffering from Ideas With the increasing growth of the Economy in the north, cities begin to form and attract a large number of americans and immigrants in search of work. While in the west, people looking for opportunity of riches and open land went out into the unknown while the south stuck to its core values of cotton and slaves which while helping the aristocrats already with their fortunes, the common people were getting poorer and found that going anywhere else would give them more opportunity than staying where they were. Not only a social divide lead to a population decrease in the south and and increase everywhere else. Population Growth in the North and West In conclusion, leading up to the civil war were many social and economic differences between the 3 regions of America. While this was a prosperous time economically, some had much more success than others. The north's success off the inventions of the south created anger between the two sides while the south continued to lose population to fortune seekers heading west. All three regions could contribute to the social divide as there was a large difference between the rich and the poor. In the north, mill workers were considered as slaves receiving less rights than a normal citizen and being censored while expressing the cruelty. In the south if one was not wealthy one had no money at all. While many people traveled to the west the chance of success was slim. During this era one was either poor or rich. A country that was built by people coming together was now completely divided. By the end a civil war was inevitable. CONCLUSION
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