Marc Egnal’s essay on “The Economic Origins of the Civil War” explains how each section modernized in different ways. In this excerpt, Egnal, a history professor at York University in Toronto, argues that the East-West orientation of antebellum Northern commercial traffic helped stoke a sense of free labor nationalism. You can read Egnal’s full essay inside the print edition of Volume 25 of the OAH Magazine of History (April 2011) or online via Oxford Journals.

Study Questions
1. Visit each of the places listed in the sidenotes for the first page of the Egnal excerpt. What can you learn about them from records such as nineteenth-century gazetteers?

2. Who was “Long John” Wentworth and why was he an important example for Marc Egnal’s argument?