Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, the Northern and Southern regions of the United States struggled to find a mutually acceptable solution to the slavery issue. Unfortunately, little common ground could be found. The cotton-oriented economy of the American South continued to rest on the shoulders of its slaves, even as Northern calls for the abolition of slavery grew louder. At the same time, the industrialization of the North continued. During the 1820s and 1830s, the different needs of the two regions' economies further strained relations between the North and the South.
The first half of the nineteenth century was also a period of great expansion for the United States. In 1803, the nation purchased the vast Louisiana Territory from France, and in the late 1840s it wrestled Texas and five hundred thousand square miles of land in western North America from Mexico. But in both of these cases, the addition of new land deepened the bitterness between the North and the South. As each new state and territory was admitted into the Union, the two sides engaged in furious arguments over whether slavery would be permitted within its borders. Urged on by the growing aboli-
Words to Know
Abolitionists people who worked to end slavery
Emancipation the act of freeing people from slavery or oppression
Federal national or central government; also, refers to the North or Union, as opposed to the South or Confederacy
Industrialization a process by which factories and manufacturing become very important to the economy of a country or region
Secession the formal withdrawal of eleven Southern states from the Union in 1860-61
States' rights the belief that each state has the right to decide how to handle various issues for itself without interference from the national government
Tariffs additional charges or taxes placed on goods imported from other countries
Territory a region that belongs to the United States but has not yet been made into a state or states tionist movement, Northerners became determined to halt the spread of slavery. Southern slaveholders fiercely resisted, however, because they knew that they would be unable to stop an-tislavery legislation in the U.S. Congress if some of the new states were not admitted as slave states. In order to preserve the Union, the two sides agreed to a series of compromises on the issue of slavery.
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