Slavery in the North & South

slavery 1850Development of the North

  • busy cities
  • embraced technology
  • built factories staffed by paid workers
  • heavy immigration created diverse society


Development of the South

  • agrarian
  • economy and way of life based largely on cotton
  • depended on labor of slaves


Cotton cultivation and slavery spread across the Deep South

  • through Florida and Alabama into Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas


The acquisition of land from the Mexican-American War caused controversy between the North and the South.

Northern View of Slavery

  • Slavery ended early in the North, but slowly
  • By 1800…50,000 slaves in the North and 1 million in the South
  • In 1860, there were 18 slaves in New Jersey
  • Most white northerners viewed blacks as inferior

o   Laws limited rights of free blacks

o   Discouraged or prevented the migration of more

  • Few northerners had personal experience with blacks – slave or free
  • Only a few held strong opinions about slavery
  • Abolitionists

o   Vocal minority

o   Wanted to end slavery

o   Believed slavery was morally wrong

o   Some believed in gradual end to slavery…some wanted immediate end to slavery

  • Not all northerners wanted to end slavery

o   Bankers, mill owners, and merchants profited from southern cotton and tobacco

o   Sympathetic to plantation owners

o   Some northern workers feared job competition from freed slaves


Southern View of Slavery

  • believe God intended that black people should provide the labor for white “civilized” society
  • Northern free labor system harmed society more than slavery
  • Slaves healthier and happier than northern wage workers



California Statehood threatened the balance of power

  • Mass population migration to California in search of gold
  • Need for government was large as it became a wild and lawless place
  • Drafted a state Constitution in 1849

o   Asked to be admitted as a free state

  • What to do???


There were other issues dividing North and South

  • Texas dispute with government over northwestern border
  • New Mexico and Utah organizing to become territories …and eventually states…probably free
  • Abolitionists gaining support to ban slavery in Washington DC


Southerners demanded the federal government enforce the weak Fugitive Slave Law of 1793

  • runaway slaves must be returned to their masters
  • no government aid was provided for this
  • South believed its property and honor were at stake
  • North insisted federal government should not help enforce slavery