The Union States Facts for Kids

  • Union States history dates back to 1787 when the United States Constitution was written, which created the Union State on March 4th, 1789.
  • The Union was a large industrial power and their leaders were good at politics.
  • So they won on the battlefield and in the end, they beat the Confederates in the American Civil War.

What was the North?

The North or Union was the region in the United States of America that included free states that opposed slavery. The North’s struggle against slavery and secession obscured the reality that it was four separate areas. They were New England, the Middle Atlantic States, the Old Northwest, and the Great Plains. Keep reading to learn more Union States facts.

Back in 1796, President George Washington talked about the danger of basing political differences on geographic lines. In 1787, when slavery was banned in the Northwest Territory (a place called the Midwest), it disappeared in all states north of a line called the Mason Dixon Line.

The North developed in a way that was different from the South. The North had more free labor, commercial vigor, and agricultural diversity. This changed when transportation developed in the 19th century.

Both immigration and trade were important in the North, so they shared the same ideology, political institutions, cultural ties, and economic patterns.

By the mid-nineteenth century, the issue of how far slavery should be allowed in the western territories was a major point of contention that divided the North and caused it to confront the South.

Abolitionism grows strong

As the cotton industry took off and slavery became more common in the south, people started to oppose it. One of the first solutions that were widely accepted was colonization. People who were against slavery would send slaves back to Africa.

Supporters of colonization thought that slaves should be sent back to Africa. They thought that because the slaves were brought here against their will, it would be a good idea to send them back. To do this, money was raised so they could go from America to Africa. Liberia was created as a new home for freed African-Americans from America.

But most black people opposed this practice. Most African-Americans had never been to Africa and so they wanted to live as free citizens in America. Then the Abolitionist movement was born.

People started to think differently about slavery. They thought that it made America bad.

Abolitionists thought that they should leave people without slaves. They sent letters to Congress and the states, so they could get slaves out of there. But this was not enough, so they wrote books to send into the south, telling them that slavery was bad for them too.

People in the south were angry when they heard people say that slavery was bad. They got into arguments with each other.

The president told the post office not to carry Abolitionist literature in the south. A law was passed on the floor of Congress that said you could not talk about bills that would make slavery go away because it was against their religion to let slaves go free.

People who opposed slavery were attacked and hurt by people who supported slavery because they thought it was wrong for people to take their slaves away from them. Churches in northern states helped abolitionists, but churches in southern states used their Bible to argue against letting slaves go free, even though they knew it would be better for them if they did so.

Abolitionists were always a minority. It was hard to end human bondage. It took a long time. They started peacefully, but then they used swords too. The seed of another conflict had been planted.

How did the North become the Union?

On the eve of the Civil War, there were 19 free and 15 slave states, with the Mason-Dixon line serving as a border between them. (The boundary between them followed the Ohio River and latitude 36°30′ except for Missouri.)

North became a region during the war. The North got the name Union during the Civil War.

The North, which included all of the Confederate states and four border states that battled with the Union, had a population of 22 million people, generated 75 percent of the nation’s income, and controlled 81% of its industrial capacity at this time.

The Union had more good leaders too. These were Ulysses Grant, William Sherman, Philip Sheridan, and George Thomas.

The North wanted to make sure African Americans in the South had equal rights. They tried to do this but mostly they failed.

Industry and ideas in the North

Meanwhile, the North was having an economic boom. It was industrializing. The North got more like big cities and had more businesses by the 19th century.

The North has many natural resources. There are also many railways which help people to get around. This means that the North was the economic center of the country. The plains on both sides of the Mississippi had a lot of farmland where people can grow food.

Dominance was not without its costs. Millions of people came from southern and eastern Europe to the north. They had problems with houses, health, and education.

America was not united. People in the south did not want to be one country anymore. They wanted to make their own country. They split up from America and started fighting with each other because of slavery.

The economy in the northern states kept changing. The agriculture part of the economy was still very important, but now there were also factories where people work.

In the North, people had invested a lot of money in different things that help them get from place to place. These things include canals, roads, steamboats, and railroads. In the banking and insurance industries, new services were invented. These helped make it more affordable to get newspapers, books, magazines, and telegraphs.

The Southern economy was based on big farms that grew crops. The farms had many slaves who worked there. Rather than invest in factories or railroads, Southerners invested even more money into slaves than they did into the land.

Yet for Southerners, this appeared to be a very good decision. The price of cotton, the South’s defining crop, had been going up since 1850. This meant that slaves were worth more too. Three-fifths of the wealthiest people in the country were from the South.

The Civil War

Union States: Depiction of the American Civil War.

The most devastating war in American history was fought within its borders. For four long and bloody years, other Americans were murdering Americans. Every 25th man among the American people died during the conflict. Over 640,000 soldiers were killed in the war. Many civilians perished as well — numbers of deaths that are frequently unknown.

The subject of slavery was the single biggest difference between the North and the South during the Civil War. People in Union states thought that slavery should be outlawed. Abolitionists were working to change people’s minds.

The Confederacy was founded on the idea of white supremacy. They thought that it is okay to have slaves, but most people in the South did not believe this. The state should be able to decide if slavery is legal or not.

People in the Union were more likely to work in cities and industries. Improvements in farming tools helped them to achieve success.

The Confederacy did not have as many factories and railroads as the Union. It was more rural and had small farms with fewer people.

Union goes to war

After a few generals who were not successful, General Ulysses S. Grant would be in charge of the Union Army. President Abraham Lincoln supported him and they both pledged allegiance to Washington D.C., which was the capital of the Union.

When Grant was made the army commander, he used the size of the troops to overwhelm the enemy. The Union had many advantages that helped them win the war.

Robert E. Lee was a general of the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War in 1864. He served under Confederate President, Jefferson Davis and they both wanted to have Richmond as their capital in Virginia.

Lee needed to be smarter about his plan because he had fewer people. The General only had to protect his territory from Union forces. But the Union forces needed to invade and conquer the Confederacy.

The North had most of the factories and industry. The North manufactured 97% of the continent’s firearms, 96% of its railroad locomotives, 94% of its cloth, 93% of its iron, and over 90% of its boots and shoes. They already had an army and navy when the war began.

Read more about The American Civil War

The Union wins

Lincoln did some political things to make the Union win. From the beginning of the war, Union people tried to make sure that no other countries knew about the Confederacy.

The Union’s final advantage was that its policies helped to keep popular support. At the same time, it eroded Southern support. The Lincoln administration had ways to talk with the press so they would write good things about them in newspapers.

The Union had the victory, which made the Confederacy give up all their plans. This goal was accomplished even though the South had a strategic advantage.

After the Civil War, the South was destroyed. The Union was saved and slavery was gone.


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