The divide between North and South opened over bitterly contested issues including slavery and trade tariffs. When Southern states threatened to break up the Union, and the newly elected Republican promised to hold it together, conflict was inevitable.
In a fully democratic nation, as the United States of America eventually became, the Army of Northern Virginia would never have existed. It was created to defend a breakaway part of the United States, the slave-holding Southern states, most of whose citizens had decided to leave the nation and form their own. For years the populations of the geographic regions of the country had grown ever more different. Indeed, they had started differently. Colonists in the North settled to do good, while those in the South came to do well. That is, Northern settlers came to create good lives for themselves and a good society for all, often basing this society on religious principles such as those of the Puritans of Massachusetts and the Quakers of Pennsylvania. For the most part, Southern settlers came to make as much money as quickly and as easily as possible, and leave, unconcerned with anybody but themselves. Northern crops were foodstuffs such as wheat and rye, while Southern crops were tobacco and cotton; and though the latter were easier to grow and more profitable to sell, they were nonetheless labor-intensive.
It is not surprising then, that in the 17th century, when human slavery was introduced throughout what would become the United States, it was in the South that it found the most fertile ground. The system would die by the end of the next century in New England and the mid-Atlantic states as far south as Pennsylvania and New Jersey because it ran against their basic ethical beliefs, as well as the fact that it made less economic sense on the small farms of those areas. In the South, where farmers aspired to own large plantations dedicated to one or two cash crops, slavery was quickly adopted widely. At first laborers were both white and black. Whites, however, served for only a set period of years before being relieved of their duties. This short-term (or indentured) servitude was less efficient than lifelong