Friday, December 2, 2005

In what ways did the North develop a distinctly different culture from the South?

In the last few lesson we covered the philosophical foundation of the American Dream as well as the result of the British policy of mercantilism. It should be clear that the hard working and religious colonists would eventually come into conflict with the English crown. What many ignore, however, are the differences that existed WITHIN the colonies. Today that is exactly what we will explore.

I. America - Divided at Birth

A. The North

1. What is the climate and topography of the North like?

-rugged, harbors

-temperate, cold winters, shorter growing season.

2. how might one make a living in the North?

-Industry, shipping, trade, some farming.

B. The Middle Atlantic Region

1. What is the climate and topography like in the Mid Atlantic?

-Flat lands, plains, harbors, moderate growing season

2. How might one make a living in the Mid Atlantic?

-Industry, shipping, trade, farming.

C. The South

1. What is the climate and topography like in the South?

-Flat lands, plains, less harbors, long growing season

2. What do you think was the most popular way to make a living?


The headright system encouraged more farmers to gain land in Virginia and indentured servitude focused in the North East.

D. Difference Between North and South

1. Culture - The culture of the North developed differently than the culture of the South as a result of the difference outlined above. The Northern economy was industrial and faced paced. Workers worked at the docks and in small cottage industries. Deadlines and production schedules needed to be met. In the South workers were farmers. For the most part there was no rush. One woke up, tended to the crop but basically one waited for mother nature to do its job. Add to this the fact that most large Southern plantations imported slaves the farmer wasn't doing any farming. The plantation owner became the "Gentleman Farmer." He dined on fine foods in his mansion while the work was done by slaves. Clearly there was a difference in lifestyle and culture.

2. Economic Needs and Strengths - The North's needs centered around commerce. The Northern economy needed people to buy its goods and use its ships. As such it was hurt worse by mercantile policies than the South. The British would not buy Colonial finished goods but the would but Southern cotton, tea and tobacco. Eventually when the colonies became independent the North favored protective tariffs that the South bitterly opposed. This would be a crucial element in the Civil War.

3. Population - The population of the North was much greater than the population of the South. As the colonies moved towards rebellion and then formed a new nation this would become a critical issue in determining representation.

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