The Chambered Nautilus Historical Context

Oliver Wendell Holmes
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The 1850s were a period of dangerous and rising tensions in the United States, but it was also a time of great intellectual progress and a flourishing of intellectual development in cities such as Boston. In a sense, therefore, it was a decade of contradictions and debate, and the great divide in values and patriotic sentiment would cause the country to erupt in civil war in 1861. This divide was between southeastern states, which were based on a cotton- and tobacco-producing plantation system, and northeastern states, whose economy was largely industrial. Although slavery had been outlawed in the North, it was legal in the South, and slave labor remained the basis of the southern economy. Much of the debate in the 1850s was about the destiny of the large middle and western sections of the country, to which settlers were moving in great numbers. Congress decided whether...

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This section contains 581 words
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