The American civil war was a turning point in the history of the American people. It has indeed shaped the lives of people today, not just in the United States but throughout the world. After the wars for independence, it was the next conflict which shed American blood and lives, which sadly was against other Americans as well. However, sad though as it may be, out of that conflict arose the realization that all men and women are created equal, and in a country like the United States, there is no place for slavery. Franklin and Augusta counties were at the center and heart of the conflict. The two were at two opposing ends of the spectrum.
One was a northern, slave free state, while the other was a southern, landed and slave powered community. The lives of the people of these two counties were shaped by the events from 1790 up to 1860, and their two different paths of development shaped their role in the civil war to come. In those days, land and agriculture was the true measure of power and wealth. It was only when one had land or other properties that one gained rights, privileges and even respect. In this regard, it is worthy to note that the two counties were relatively in the same region of the Shenandoah Valley, and they were only 200 miles away from each other.
Of course, what separated the two geographical neighbors was slavery. The land values in Franklin were much higher than in Augusta, and the former had better cultivated areas. In the former, larger land sizes resulted in lower values per acre. In contrast to this, people in Augusta were richer than those in Franklin, yielding a higher per capita income. The white residents of Augusta were two times richer than those in Franklin, mainly because they have both land and slaves as property.
One other significant similarity with regard to land was that in both counties, half of the population did not own land, concentrating the wealth and resources in a handful of propertied elite, which generally shaped early America. In economic terms, both counties were generally producing wheat and corn, with Franklin producing more wheat while Augusta produced more corn. Though the people in the latter were richer than those in the former, Franklin farms were more productive, especially with the production of corn. Both counties fared similarly with regard other less common crops that they planted.
Religion also played a role during these times. Both counties had a mixture of denominations, without any single one being the dominant faith. Franklin had more churches, numbering 92 based on the 1860 census. However, even though they had only 54 churches, Augusta had larger parishes, and had invested more heavily in their infrastructure and buildings. All of these data and statistics show that the two counties were generally demographically the same. They were situated in the same area, had similar industries and religions, and were only 200 miles away from each other.
The two even had quite similar laws, and state constitutions. The difference was slavery. Augusta relied heavily on slaves, and fought for the right to own slaves to the end. Franklin on the other hand did not, believing otherwise and deciding not to treat people as objects and as property. In the end, it can be said that though physically two things may be the same, the values and principle that one holds can spell the difference.
www. co. augusta. va. us http://valley. vcdh. virginia. edu/tablesandstats/fr_aug_stats. html www. co. franklin. oa. us
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