The Factory v. the Plantation: Northern and Southern Economies

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
10:00–11:30 a.m. (EST) Enter Classroom Enter Forum


Peter Coclanis
Director of the Global Research Institute
Albert R. Newsome Professor
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
National Humanities Center Fellow

About the Seminar

The North was industrial and progressive, the South agricultural and traditional. These differences helped provoke the Civil War. At least that is how it is generally taught. In fact, most Northerners were farmers, and the South possessed a small but significant industrial base.

Just how different were the Northern and Southern economies on the eve of the Civil War? This seminar will explore the proposition that the War came not because the regions were so different, but because they were so similar.

Competency Goal 3, Objective 3.01: Trace the economic, social, and political events from the Mexican War to the outbreak of the Civil War.

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Assigned Readings

  1. A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, Frederick Law Olmsted (excerpt)
  2. “Negro Slavery at the South,” Solon Robinson, 1849
  3. “Mary Paul Letters,” 1830-1860
  4. “Tracking the Economic Divergence of the North and the South,” Peter Coclanis

Suggested Additional Resources

  1. “Tracking the Economic Divergence of the North and the South,” Hinton Rowan Helper
  2. “Tracking the Economic Divergence of the North and the South,” Thomas Jones

Seminar Recording