• "Plan of the City of Lowell, Massachusetts," 1850. Courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Plan of the City of Lowell, Massachusetts
    • Date
    • 1850
    • Creator
    • Sidney and Neff
    • Description
    • Printed map, 47.25 x 55 inches
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
    • Partner
    • Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • "The Cotton Kingdom," 1863. Courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    The Cotton Kingdom
    • Date
    • 1863
    • Creator
    • Atkinson, Edward
    • Description
    • Printed map, 21.25 x 18 inches
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
    • Partner
    • Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

  • "Hilton Head, Drayton's Plantation, Sorting Cotton," 1862. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library Rare Books Department.

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    Hilton Head, Drayton’s Plantation, Sorting Cotton
    • Date
    • 1862
    • Creator
    • Moore, Henry P.
    • Description
    • Albumen print, 11 x14 inches
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
    • Partner
    • Boston Public Library Rare Books Department

  • "Map Showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States Compiled from the Census of 1860," 1861. Courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Map Showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States Compiled from the Census of 1860.
    • Date
    • 1861
    • Creator
    • Hergesheimer, Edwin
    • Description
    • Printed map, 31 x 39.75 inches
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
    • Partner
    • Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Boston Public Library

By 1861, life was very different north and south of the Mason Dixon line. Although neither was monolithic, the North was characterized by industry, reliable transportation and a wage labor force that had been bolstered by internal and transatlantic migration. A burgeoning middle class arose and a new Republican Party promised that the free soil of western territories would enable all men to participate in fulfilling the founding vision.

Southern politicians also wanted to expand the nation but in service to an agricultural system built on slave labor. Limited transportation and few urban areas were not a problem for the realm where cotton was "king." The small farmer could aspire to enter the planter aristocracy, as long as the new territories would allow slavery.