Social Change in the Nineteenth Century

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What were some major differences between the North and the South before the Civil War?

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Before the Civil War, most of the South allowed slavery. The slaves were viewed as necessary in order to provide labor for the large plantations. A small number of individuals controlled most of the wealth in the South; therefore, they also controlled most of the political power as well. This led to a wide gap between the haves and have-nots in Southern society. Most Northern states had done away with slavery before the war. Northern farms were more self-sufficient enterprises that either used hired help or extended families to supply seasonal labor needs.

The North was more socially mobile than the South; one could hope to rise to greatness if one was involved in business or agriculture in the North. While the North had an underclass of poor laboring immigrants from Europe, the North had more opportunities than the South. The North also spent more money on education than the South; in the South, education was considered the domain of future plantation owners, and it was dangerous to...

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