What region -- the North or South would you encourage people to move to in the 1860s?What would be four positive features of that region for geography, economy, transportation, and society?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

People who lived in the south during this time didn't have to agree with the plantation owners who traditionally owned and abused slaves...in fact, there were many slave owners who didn't rape the black women and beat the black men they owned.  As a result, even after the Emancipation Proclamation, they chose to stay with their "owners", get paid wages, and eventually were willed part or all of the land they used to work as slaves.  This doesn't excuse slavery as an abyssmal practice, but it should be known that not all slave owners were horrible and blood-thirsty as movies like ROOTS and books like UNCLE TOM'S CABIN suggest.  There were just as many respectible southerners who did not own slaves and didn't agree with the practice.  This is why books like HUCKLEBERRY FINN came to be...Mark Twain did not agree with slavery and made it clear in this manuscript.

That having been said, I would suggest the south because before the war, the prosperity of the plantations, riverboatmen, and other business owners was at its peak.  The weather is also very nice, especially in the spring and fall.  The people are generally very welcoming and cordial, and life is generally more laid back and not so hustle and bustle as in the northern cities.

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
What region -- the North or South would you encourage people to move to in the 1860s?

What would be four positive features of that region for geography, economy, transportation, and society?

  Whether you're talking before or after the Civil War, I would have encouraged people to move to the north, but out in the Great Lakes Region. 

1)  Geographically:  The cities of the northeast were too crowded, dirty, and disease-ridden.  Near the Great Lakes, there was still open lands, forests, and a chance to grow. 

2)  Economically:  The areas around the Great Lakes were mainly agricultural, but near the lakes themselves, there was a thriving economy and much trafficking on the lakes.  So, economically, the area was thriving.

3)  Transportation:  Excellent!  The Erie Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway had both been built by the 1860's and sea traffic came clear into and onto the Great Lakes.

4)  Society:   There were several large cities on the Great Lakes with the most modern, up-to-date fashions and styles.  A lady or gentlemen with considerable means could be in high society.


scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with Post #4--but only if I were white.  If I were black, I would not have moved North or South because both regions did not provide equal treatment for blacks; I would have moved out of the country, possibly to England which had already abolished slavery at this point.  Olaudah Equiano is a good example of a former American slave who emancipated himself from his Northern owner and moved to England.

That being said, a white person would most likely have the best chance of prospering if he moved to the Midwest part of the "North." The only drawback would be the geographical part of the Midwest (Michigan, Ohio, etc.) because of their often bitterly cold winters (lake effect snow, etc.).  However, Americans in general seemed to be more tolerant of "extreme" weather during the 1800s, and this might not have been such a dealbreaker to them.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm assuming you mean very early 1860s -- before the war started.

If  I were talking to someone who wanted to be in the middle class, maybe own their own farm or something like that, I would definitely recommend the North.  This is because they South was so dominated by the slave system that middle class whites had fewer options.

So economically, it's because of there being a more diverse economy with lots of different kinds of job opportunities in the North.

Transportation -- lots more railroads in the North.

Geography -- not so much different here -- not as hot in the summer but colder in the winter.

Society -- more egalitarian.  In the South, the rich people see themselves as an aristocracy.  In the North, it's more like everyone is equal.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would encourage people to move to the North, as the economy was so diverse as to offer opportunity to people of all economic classes.  While discriminated against, at least there was no slavery and a free black could pursue some semblance of a life, even if they were treated unequally.  It was vastly superior to the long term racism and slave system of the South.

In addition, there were many, many small family farms in the North that an immigrant family could aspire to owning, not to mention a well developed transportation system that could lead them west to the new land settlements there.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Assuming the year was 1860 and not afterward, the South still boasted fine weather and mild winters compared to that of the North. "Southern hospitality" was a term that had long been in use, and for a man who preferred a small town or farm life to that of the crowded and dirty cities of the Northeast, then the Deep South was still the place to be. 

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question needs to be on the discussion board, since it is asking for opinion rather than fact.

I would encourage people to move to the south. The economy of the south prior to the Civil War was mainly agricultural, so there was a great opportunity for other businesses and industries to develop.

giorgiana1976 | Student

Northern states offered more chances for a normal life in a society in process of modernization. There were many companies , a better railway transport . Also there was no slavery. After the Civil War there have been found many opportunities in Northern area, due to the re-building planes.

mkcapen1 | Student

 I believe I would want to know what race the people are that wanted to move south.  If they are black people, I think that they might have been better of in the North.  There were still inappropriate behaviors towards black people but nothing like what was happening in the south.  I would hope that with the factories and the railroad that the men could find work.

If I were white, the Southern Life would offer prosperity, but my personal values would clash with those of slave owners.  However, I would enjoy the more laid back atmosphere, and the agricultural lifestyle.  For immigrants the idea of developing a piece of land versus having to settle in a city would seem better and the area would offer a more accommodating climate for crops.

Transportation would be better in the north but the summer and long warm season would make it easier by foot or horse drawn carriage.

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