History CH 13 THE AMERICAN Journey – Assignment Example
The North/South Division Extends West During the 19th century, the United s grew dramatically in both territory and population. As Americans moved west to take advantage of the open land for farming, the tension between North and South extended westward. Settlers tended to seek out similar growing conditions based on where they came from on the East Coast (Goldfield et al. 366). As a result, the Old Northwest maintained much of the culture and values of New England while the Old Southwest maintained much of the culture and values of the South. The crops grown in the Old Northwest and Old Southwest further cemented the transplantation of traditions. Farmers in the Old Northwest grew wheat that tied them economically to New England while the cash crop in the Old Southwest was cotton, which was harvested by slaves on the large plantations (Goldfield et al. 367).
As territories gained statehood, the issue of slavery became an issue both within the newly accepted states and nationally due to potential shifts in the balance of power between the slave states and the free states. These battles over slavery increased tensions between North and South and foreshadowed the coming conflict over slavery. Prior to the civil war, a balance was maintained between slave states and free states when territories gained statehood. The admission of Indiana, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin as free states was counterbalanced by the admission of Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, and Texas as slave states (Goldfield et al. 369). Although there was a balance between the number of admitted slave states and free states, this process made slavery a constant national issue as these territories gained statehood. Despite the series of compromises enacted by Congress to maintain the status quo, including the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850, relations between the slave states and the free states deteriorated.
With the elevation of territories to statehood, the conflict between North and South extended to the western frontier. New Englanders tended to settle in the Old Northwest while Southerners tended to settle in the Old Southwest. Both groups brought to the frontier the institutions of freedom and slavery from the North and South respectively. Ultimately, the compromises between slave states and free states were not enough to soothe tensions and prevent a civil war.
Goldfield, David, Carl E. Abbot, Virginia D. Anderson, Jo Ann E. Argersinger, Peter H. Argersinger, , William Barney, and Robert M. Weir. The American Journey. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2009.