Expansion and Reform
Economic development, while increasing wealth and prosperity, also brought regional differences more sharply into focus. While the North began its path of Industrial Revolution, its increased urbanization and technological advancements separated it even further from an agrarian South. There was also a "transportation revolution" involving railroads, canals, and trans-regional roads, many times centered in the North. Slavery was also becoming a larger factor in the South, and would cause strife and political debate as new territory was added to the Union, particularly in the case of the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas–Nebraska Act which effectively repealed it. Despite expansion, free African Americans and women were still largely disenfranchised. Reforms movements occurred in bursts, setting the stage for post-Civil War major reforms.
Learn more in the National U.S. History Content Standards.
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Mary Smith Kelsey Peake was an educator of both free and enslaved African Americans prior to and during the Civil War.
An enslaved man, Blind Billy was a renowned Lynchburg fifer.
Born into slavery, Noah Davis raised more than $4,000 to free himself and his family members during the 1840s and 1850s.
As author of The Virginia House-Wife (1824), the first American regional cookbook, Mary Randolph transformed cooking and household management in ways that continue to influence chefs and domestic supervisors.