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A Nation Divided
(1840-1861)

Secession of the Southern States



Secession of the Southern States
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.66

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    stephens, workforces, secede, agriculture, better, elimination, status, federal, bondage, military, collide, economic, profitable, compromise, refused, backed
     content words:    Southern States, When Missouri, Slave State, Henry Clay, Free State, President Andrew Jackson, South Carolina, In February, Confederate States, Jefferson Davis


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Secession of the Southern States
By Mary L. Bushong
  

1     For more than 100 years, the colonies had worked together to build a unified country. Social and economic pressures slowly built until one day the country split, and the South seceded from the Union.
 
2     The split between the North and South did not happen all at once or on a whim. The desire for one group to change and another to maintain its status quo caused two cultures to collide.
 
3     In the Southern States, most people depended on agriculture for their livelihoods. The vast farms or plantations required large workforces to maintain the crops, because there was no mechanization. Slaves had long been the accepted workers of choice, and slavery had become a part of Southern culture.
 
4     When the invention of the cotton gin made cotton a very profitable crop, the number of plantations growing it increased quickly. A way of life that had been dying a natural death was infused with new life. Men hungered for more land to grow more cotton to become richer. Since workers were essential, they were taken to the new land as well.
 
5     When Missouri was settled, it was with many Southerners looking for a better life. They had their slaves with them. When Missouri asked to join the Union the first time in 1819, the House of Representatives refused to allow them. They were not sure they wanted another Slave State.

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