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The year 1830 marks the opening of the great sectional debate in Congress which culminated thirty years later in secession and civil war. In order to understand
General the long series of events leading up to that terrible
characterconflict it is necessary to have a clear apprehen- istics of the sion of the underlying economic differences be- period,
1839-1860 tween the North and the South which formed the basis of sectionalism.
The South was by nature an agricultural and exporting section, while the North was commercial and manufacturing. During the decade 1820-1830 the average annual value of the exports of cotton, tobacco, and rice was about $33,000,000, while all other domestic exports from the entire country amounted to only $20,000,000. The South was dependent upon foreign markets for the sale of its products and therefore advocated free trade, while the North felt that its development was dependent upon the protection of its industries and the creation of a home market.
Slave labor was not suited to the climate or to the diversified industry of the North, while it flourished under Southern skies and was ideally adapted to the cultivation of the staple crops of tobacco, rice, sugar, and cotton. As free and slave labor are mutually exclusive, free labor became in time