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Comparing the Antebellum North and South

            The striking similarities of the two antebellum sections of the nation neither erase their equally striking dissimilarities nor detract from the significance of these dissimilarities. In my opinion I believe that the differences were more than enough to provoke the coming of the civil war. Economically, Edward Pessen argues that Northerners and Southerners alike made the same living primarily in agriculture. Due to geographical climate differences both east and south specialized in different crops not only roughly in equal quantity, but also has been recently claimed in equal quantity as well. In view of the regularity which Northern Farmers brushed aside the lonely voices in their midst who urged the subordination of profits to the "long range needs of the soil," and their unsentimental readiness to dispose of "family land" so long as the price was right, what Stanley L. Engerman has said about Southern planters seems to apply equally well to Northern agriculturalists: they were certainly not "non-calculating individuals not concerned with money.".
             With this one similarity being noted I would like to bring in James McPherson's argument "the North was more urban than the South and was urbanizing at a faster rate." In 1820, 10 percent of the free-state residents lived in urban areas compared with 5 percent in the slave states; by 1860 the figures were 26 percent and 10 percent, respectively. In 1800, 82 percent of the Southern labor force worked in agriculture compared with the 68 percent in the Free states. By 1860 the Northern share had dropped to 40 percent while the Southern proportion had actually increased slightly to 84 percent. Southern agriculture remained traditionally labor intensive while Northern agriculture became increasingly capital-intensive and mechanized. .
             The Southern lag in this category of development resulted not from any inherent economic disadvantages, not shortage of capital, nor low rates of return, nor non adaptability of slave labor, but from choices of Southerners who had money to invest it in agriculture and slaves rather than human manufacturing, according to James McPherson.

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