SS7 Chapter 14 Notes: North and South

Section 1: The Industrial North (p. 376-381)

The early 1800s saw many innovations in industry, or the production of goods. Innovations are improved ways of doing things. There were new machines and new ways to use them. The ways in which Americans worked, traveled, and communicated with each other changed as well. Much of this took place in the North.

Products were made using mass production instead of individually. Mass production means using machinery to make goods in large numbers.  New innovations during this period include:

  • The invention of the sewing machine caused the clothing industry to explode in the North.
  • The invention of steamboats allowed people to travel either way on major rivers and canals.
  • Railroad systems were established throughout the United States.  These systems connected major cities to one another and caused the Midwest cities to really develop.
  • Samuel Morse invented the telegraph, a machine that uses electric signals to send messages.  The telegraph uses Morse code to send messages which consists of dashes and dots.

Improvements in farming that helped the Midwest grow included:

  • The steel-tipped plow invented by John Deere.
  • The reaper invented by Cyrus McCormick which helped with harvesting wheat.
  • The thresher invented by Cyrus McCormick which helped separate the grain from the stem of wheat.

Section 2: People of the North (p. 382-386)

Factory work conditions for workers were horrendous.  People worked long hours for very little pay in very unsafe conditions.  There were no laws to protect workers from unsafe conditions or unfair pay.  Factory owners were worried more about making a profit than their worker’s safety.  Even children worked in these conditions. It would be years before things started to get better.

Workers tried to improve their conditions by:

  • Forming (trade) unions where all the skilled workers would unite as one to fight for better treatment.
  • Using strikes as a weapon.  A strike is a refusal to work.  At first this was illegal but that later changed.

Even in the North, where there was little slavery, there still was prejudice and discrimination.  Prejudice is an unfair opinion of a group (a belief) while discrimination is unfair treatment of a group (an action).  Africans Americans in the North still couldn’t vote or attend school.  Women were also discriminated against and were kept out of the workplace.

Industrialization caused big changes in cities. Factories were usually in cities. Because factories attracted workers, Northern cities became much bigger.  This spread to the West and major cities such as St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Pittsburg became major centers of trade.

Immigration also greatly increased.  The greatest number of immigrants came from Ireland where there was a famine, a severe food shortage.  However there were some Americans against immigration and they were called nativists.  They said immigrants would take jobs from “real” Americans. They said immigrants brought crime and disease.  They even formed a political party called the Know-Nothing Party.


Section 3: Southern Cotton Kingdom (p. 387-390)

The South’s economy was based on farming.  At first most of the farming took place in the Upper South, the more northern half of the South.  As time went on, the Deep South, the more southern and western half of the South, grew stronger.

The economy of the South was very strong. That economy depended, however, on enslaved workers. Slavery was growing in the South, even though it had almost ended in the North.

Cotton became the most grown crop after the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney.  The cotton gin separated the seeds from the cotton which made the process much easier and faster.  The cotton gin made more Southern people want to grow cotton which in turn increased the demand for slaves.  Slavery spread across a larger area of the South.

Being the South’s economy revolved around agriculture there was little need to develop industry.  There weren’t really factories like in the North.  In terms of transportation, the South was very limited.  They relied on natural waterways but railroad development did grow like it did in the North. This rail shortage would hurt the South in the years to come.


Section 4: People of the South (p. 391-397)

Slavery was at the center of the Southern economy. That does not mean that every white person owned large numbers of enslaved people. There were four main groups of white society. There were yeomen, tenant farmers, the rural poor, and plantation owners.

  • Yeomen – made up the majority.  Owned zero to few slaves.  Grew crops for themselves and traded when needed.
  • Tenant farmers – also made up the majority.  Rented (did not own) the land.
  • Rural poor – free African Americans had enslaved slaves.
  • Plantation owners – were large farms.  Cost were high to run plantations.  Owners were men that often traveled.  Wives ran the house.  The hired overseers, plantation managers, to run the slaves in the fields.

Life was hard for most enslaved African Americans. They worked hard, earned no money, and had little hope of ever being free. They feared that an owner could sell them or members of their family. Even with all this, enslaved

Enslaved people kept old African customs. They told traditional African folk stories to their children. They performed African music and dance.

Many enslaved African Americans followed traditional African religious practices. Others accepted Christianity. Enslaved people expressed their beliefs through spirituals. These are African American religious folk songs.

The slave codes were laws in the Southern states. Slaves codes controlled enslaved people. One purpose of the slave codes was to prevent slaves from rebelling. Slave codes prevented enslaved people from meeting in large groups. They needed a written pass to leave the slave-owner’s property. It was a crime to teach enslaved people to read or write.

Nat Turner was a popular religious leader among enslaved people. Turner had taught himself to read and write. In 1831, he led a group of followers on a brief, violent rebellion in Virginia.

A runaway might receive aid from the Underground Railroad. This was a network of “safe houses” owned by people who were against slavery. The Underground Railroad helped enslaved people escape slavery.

There were no statewide public school systems in the South. There was less literacy, or the ability to read and write, in the South than in other parts of the country.