Northern and Southern Antebellum Blacks Before the Civil War

Topics: White people, Abolitionism, Black people Pages: 3 (1056 words) Published: November 20, 2013
In the years preceding the Civil War, the antebellum period in the 19th century had a very volatile disposition due to the heightened tensions regarding racial and sex discriminations, unpolished laws of the country, and constant straying of leadership. Indeed both white and black people began to make a coinciding step forward towards abolitionism, but it did not guarantee safety for blacks or immediate abolition of slavery and discrimination. However, the progress made by blacks at this point in time were very significant; it is safe to conclude that blacks have made huge efforts in brushing off the humiliation made by white men by deeply engaging in economic prosperity, trades, and other indicators of benchmarks such as education. But, the economic opportunities and lifestyle of northern and southern blacks were different by a wide margin and location proved to be the main factor.

At a glance, the free blacks in the north enjoyed a slightly better environment than the blacks in the south. The south was always plantation-oriented whereas the north was more urbanized. Therefore, the free southern blacks were usually working the field as agricultural laborers (Franklin 168). They were not limited to the agricultural side of life. Some southern states, disturbed by an economic problem by white migration to the West, opened up many economic opportunities for the blacks in the south. The free blacks that were skilled soon filled positions such as making clothes, preparing food, operating machines, piloting ships, and becoming a part of pharmaceutical stores (Franklin 168). The blacks that were skilled enough to grab jobs of these kinds developed a strong sense of economic independence. It also indicated a sense of strong will to drive towards a better life despite white oppression that was rampant in the south. Although the job opportunities were wider in the simpler types of skilled jobs, the south was known to have barred blacks from certain jobs that northern...

Cited: Franklin, John H., and Evelyn B. Higginbotham. From Slavery to Freedom A History of African Americans. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education , 2010. Print.
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