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Welcome to U.S. history!

A look at the North and the South during the Jackson Era

American Diversification
The North had always been busier, and more in tune with entrepreneurism.

The economy of New England, and the upper middle states, were up to this period, dominated by overseas shipping and agriculture.

Now they were moving towards manufacturing, and "empire building" at home. They created the Erie Canal, from the ocean to the great lakes and with this deep into the Northwest.

New York became the trading hub of a huge expanse territory and was soon named the "Empire State".

There was also, in the North, a distinct shift in the structure of society. The original "New Englanders" had been different from the southern colonists. Religion for instance was an important issue. In New England people were urged to study the Bible and read religious writings. A high value was put onto learning to read and write.

In the Jacksonian North, the old patriarchal system, in which the family name and a mystique of power and honor played a big role, was yielding to another power such as money and manufacturing assets. Wealth did not have to be shown openly and often was quietly locked into bankvaults or kept in portfolios.

Northerners were less willing to settle disputes with a gun than men from the South. To evalidate themselves Northern men were less often than the southerners seeking pleasure in winning fights.  To break dependents in order to gain complete control over such unfortunates, a common "gentlemen sport" in the South was frowned upon by the Northerners.

The North began to see the South as an uncivilized, unchristian part of the Union.

The South kept up on their style of society. Here we had the self-sufficient gentlemen. "Men of means" were ruling over mass dependents. Here in the south to be somebody wasn't hidden, it showed by wealth displayed in great plantation homes, and control over many heads.

To be a "gentleman" one had to maintain a form of dignity, which also asked for immediate response if insulted by anyone. Personal matters were taken care of by the people, never by civil authorities. Duels were common.

"Gentlemen" did not do a day's work, such as laboring. However "gentlemen" had their daily chores, doing business, playing polo, giving instructions to overseers and foremen and listening to their wives' plans for festivities and parties.  Southern "Gentlemen" loved to be entertained and all the good things in life. What the Northerners called sin, the Southerners called sinfully good.

"Gentlemen" were also masters, such also meant they knew how to break any "bad habits" of a slave. A master was one who knew how to handle his property and make him/her submit to insults, or even disrespect him/herself through clownishness. A "gentleman" and master was he who had complete control and respect from all who depended on him.

The old ways were kept intact -- much of the doings dated back to times before the middle ages. Anonymous masses (excluding slaves of course) had their chiarivari and their lynch law. There was a primitive tendency to gleeful cruelty.

In the South "gentlemen-like-behavior" as well as dueling was common right to the Civil War.

Many Southerners saw in the unwillingness to stand up for a duel by Northerners a weakness and therefore felt superior to those "softies from the north!"