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The Beginnings of the Sectional Crisis
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During the antebellum period, the North and the South were complete opposites. This led to each side viewing itself as superior and viewing the other as "backward." Each side believed itself to be superior, in all aspects, to the other. The reasons for these opinions can be found in the different economic, social, and cultural systems found in these two regions. The Southern economy was primarily agricultural. This economy, like many other agricultural economies, did not allow for a great deal of social mobility. The South also lacked factories, or much industry. However, this was not the main difference between...
a sectional division. These two rival economic, social, and cultural systems-capitalism and slavery-could not exist in the same country without tearing it along the Mason-Dixon line. Northerners looked to Southern lawlessness and the egotism of the "aristocracy" while Southerners saw Northern "wage slavery" capitalism as cruel. The North frowned upon the South's rigid social structure it was more rigid than the North's, but did allow for social mobility, economic system, and culture. Moreover, these "irrepressible differences" threatened to tear the nation by its seams. However, at this point, no one knew how deeply these differences would divide the nation.
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