Civil WarBefore the civil war that tore the fabric of American life, there werethree sections of American people with different economic, cultural andpolitical attitudes. The balance of power was kept by different alliances, whichcame up in the pre-civil war period. The west was the balancing power and it wasits shift that decided the course of American history. While it was allied withthe south for economic reasons, a delicate balance was maintained. The minutethe west allied with the north, the shift resulted in irreconcilable differencesand led to war. The boundaries of the sections were very fluid but the basicsections in the 1840s-1860s were the north, which included New England, NewYork. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the west which included the present mid-westfrom Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa to Minnesota and thesouth which included Maryland to Texas and Missouri to Mississippi. NortheastThe northeast was comparatively advanced, industrially. The dominating classcomprised of the bankers, manufacturers and merchants. The growth of industry ofAmerica was mainly in the north. The northeast section was known for itstrading. The merchants realized more returns in manufacturing than the earlyagriculture so we see a gradual but definite shift to industrial investment,which signaled the beginning of industrialism. The industrial capitalists werethe ruling class in the north. They were the aristocrats because of theireconomic dominance, which also meant their dominance in the political system. Inthe political arena they were represented by lawyers articulating their positionand their philosophy hoping to influence policy making. For example DanielWebster, the politician from Massachusetts had the entire business community ofthat area behind him. The ideals from the time of the declaration ofindependence still remained, as there was no fear of tyranny of the majorityover the minority. Checks and balances were maintained to protect the right toprivate property. Numerous inventions were made with the number of patentsincreasing from 544 in 1830 to 4778 in 1860. Samuel Morse invented the electrictelegraph system by the 1840s, which came into use by the 1850s. CharlesGoodyear invented the new method of vulcanization of rubber in 1839which startedbeing practiced in 500 odd places. It also resulted in the establishment of therubber industry. The steam cylinder press was invented by Richard Hoe in 1846,which helped to make the printing of newspapers cheaply. Isaac Singer inventedthe sowing machine in this period as well. The dominant economic business wasthe manufacturing of clothes, which diversified in this period with the use ofsteam as power. In the 1830s we see the introduction of railroads with coalreplacing wood as the material for generating power. This led to the rise of thecoal industry in the northeast as the main coalmines were situated there.
Agriculture in this area also diversified since it could not compete with thefertile virgin land of the west, which produced wheat, corn, cattle, sheep andhorse. There was a shift in agricultural products as with the growth ofurbanization there was a need for dairy products, food and vegetables. New Yorkbegan to produce apples, New Jersey and Maryland peaches and berries. Dairyproducts like milk and butter and cheese also were produced. Farmers who wereengaged in agriculture in the northeast either diversified or migrated andbecame the labor class of the urban areas. Women and children also worked, oftenfor long hours (12-15 hrs. a day) getting paid $4-10 per week for skilled and$1-6 for unskilled work. The labor was too weak to get organized into unions.
Some states like Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania tried to regulatechild labor by necessitating parental consent The labor supply came mainly fromthe European countries like Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, France andAustria because of the population problem in the west. From 1840-1850, it isestimated that around 2 million immigrants came to the United States especiallyfrom Germany. West The west was the balancing section in the American union asit shared common features with both the north and the south. The economy wasagrarian like the south but with industries like the north. True, the industrialgrowth in the west was slow when compared to the north, but it was faster thanthe south whose industrial growth was minimal. Industries like meatpacking inChicago (Ill.) and Cincinnati (Ohio) and industrial centers like for meat,distilled whisky, leather, wooden goods, flour etc. were common. The maineconomic occupation was predominantly farming with small farming communitiesunlike the