Life was very different in the various regions in the years 1800-1840. Those residing in the Northeast, West and South adapted different lifestyle based on what the environment and American Revolution had for them. Some of these variations resulted from the difference in climatic conditions and geography, population demography, and the extent of development especially the cities. Sectionalism refers to the diverse structures and lifestyles in the various part of the world. It increased between 1800 and 1840 which marked the transformation in the United States. The northeastern cities developed due to industrialization while southerners produced raw materials. During this period, people started to occupy the west section also as its influence on American politics and life improved. However, as regional difference intensified, infrastructure development, especially in transportation and communication, bridged that gap.
In the 1800s, the West referred to the current Middle West-Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Lowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Other states such as Missouri in 1800 were also part of American South. Before the American Revolution, only a few lived in the West. However, some people moved to settle in West because the Eastern States were getting crowded. Most of the natives in this region had farm-related occupations. Life here was quite dangerous and challenging with few factories, cities, and stores. Those in the west had to be self-sufficient getting most of their needs for themselves. They were, therefore, independent with a minimal outlet to the other sections. Due to uniformity, they were democratic taking each other equally. Women also had an opportunity to tame the frontier giving them rights they did not enjoy anywhere else in the country (Glenn, p.110). A persons ability counted more than family background and wealth unlike in the Northeast where they had noble families.
The New England and Middle states consisted of the Northeast region of America. Most residents lived on small farms early 1800 but with time they embarked on other ways to earn a living. Since the colonial period whaling, shipbuilding and fishing had been significant occupation that netted a living to the Northeast residents. However, technology advancement began to offer more opportunities. The region has many swift-flowing rivers to supply upcoming industry with power. Sine Northeast had a larger population than the other sections labor was readily available. The region also enjoyed the transportation facilities hosting the most important port cities America. People in this area had to embrace industrialization making it the center of trade and manufacturing in the United States.
Due to advanced development and urbanization Northeast had a good number of people working in the factories. Sanitation was not as good as it is today and diseases such as tuberculosis and cholera were common. Religion developed and churches emerged as the center of the community. Also, they valued education which was well organized. Nevertheless, only the boy child had a chance to pass through the secondary school. Girls were rare in the institutions unlike in the west where gender equality was no longer an issue. At this time college education was meant for only the wealthy classes in the region.
The South enjoyed large acres of level, fertile lands as well as long growing seasons. Most southerners practiced subsistence farming with minimal production for commercial purpose. Later on, large cash crop plantations became the most features associated with a southern way of life. However, this acted as a boosting factor increasing slavery due to high demand for labor. A third of the population was slaves mainly from Africa. At this time tobacco was the main cash crop but by 1820 cotton overtook it due to growing textile mills in the Northeast and England. The culture in the South was determined by upper-class plantation owners and their families. The section mainly relied on a steamship for transportation. The contract to the North is that South had fewer factories and railway as compared to the northeast. Lastly, because people lived farther away from each other church was not well established.
Cultural independence was hard to achieve in all the sections despite the focus on nature in American society. Hence, tastemakers proceeded to look abroad for classical and then revival style. Thou Americans had started identifying themselves as a nation; they were divided by two key sectional interests which was industrialization and slavery. For example, the western part was against slavery and had little to do with industrialization while the other regions could not make any progressive step without the two since they formed their development foundation.
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Glenn, Evelyn N. Unequal Freedom: How Race and Gender Shaped American Citizenship and Labor. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2002. Internet resource.Bottom of Form
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