of civil war
believe the civil war was fought for many reasons and is not held to just one.
If I had to choose one main reason it would be because of the future of
slavery, States rights, western expansion and the bleeding in Kansas. This war
was fought by the Northern and Western states and territories to preserve the
Union, and the South fought to create Southern independence as a new
confederation of states under its own constitution.
was of great importance to the south because of the southern economy. The south
was an agricultural-based economy whose biggest yields were cotton and tobacco,
depended almost entirely only slaves for labor (Slavery without submission).
Northern workers felt that slavery hurt wages and took land that could have been
used by poor whites to sustain an economic independence, whereas Southerners
argued that ending slavery would destroy the southern economy (Sectional
Crisis). In 1790, a thousand tons of cotton were being produced every year in
the South. By period, 500,000 slaves grew to 4 million. 1860, it was a million
tons. (Slavery Without Submission)
majority of labor landowners bought African slaves to work their massive plantations,
and even small time farmers often used slave labor. As the region expanded,
industries expanded too, particularly those needed to process the mass amount
of crops or extract natural resources. These industries often employed poor
whites as well as slaves, either owned or used. As the use of slaves lowered in
the North over time, it increased in the Southern states. This was because it
was smart for the landowners to use slaves instead of hiring white laborers who
might cost more, strike, or quit, as to where slaves couldn’t. Their plantations
depended on increased production of export crops on increasingly tired soil. The
tobacco plant in itself requires massive amounts of water, and other nutrients to
stay alive. The plant “tired” the soil by taking all of the important
nutrients away from the soil.
addition, the south wanted slave states to expand into the west while the north
wanted to make western states free states. Additional territories gained from
the U.S and Mexican war heightened the slavery debate. Abolitionists fought to
have slavery pronounced illegal in those territories, just like the Northwest
Ordinance of 1787 had done in the territory that became the states of Ohio,
Indiana, and Illinois. Slavery supporters feared that if the institution were
prohibited in any states carved out of the new territories the political power
of slaveholding states would be diminished, possibly to the point of slavery
being illegal everywhere within the United States. Pro- and anti-slavery groups
rushed to populate the new territories.
Republican party was opposed to westward expansion of slavery into these new
states and when Abraham Lincoln, who was a member of the Republican party, won
the 1860 election, the southern states saw this as a major loss to their cause.
were sure that the North meant to take away their right to govern themselves,
abolish slavery, and destroy the Southern economy. Having exhausted their legal
and political options, they felt that the only way to protect themselves from
this Northern assault was to no longer be a part of the United States of
America. After South Carolina seceded in December of 1860, it demanded that the
United States abandon its military forts in Charleston Harbor. On April 10,
1861, knowing that resupplies were on their way from the North to the federal
garrison in the harbor of Charleston,
South Carolina, Confederate forces in Charleston demanded the fort’s surrender.
The fort’s commander, Major Robert Anderson, refused. On April 12, the
Confederates opened fire with cannons. At 2:30 p.m. the following day, Major
Anderson surrendered. War had begun. Lincoln called for volunteers to put down
the Southern rebellion. Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee,
refusing to fight against other Southern states and feeling that Lincoln had
past his presidential authority, reversed themselves and voted in favor of
session. The last one, Tennessee, did not depart until June 8, nearly a week
after the first land battle had been fought at Philippi in Western Virginia.
(The western section of Virginia rejected the session vote and broke away,
ultimately forming a new, Union-loyal state, West Virginia.
debate over which powers belonged to the
states and which to the Federal Government became heated in the 1830s. The disagreement of whether slavery would be
allowed in the new territories forming as the nation expanded westward. The
Missouri compromise tried to solve the problem but this only temporary calmed
the storm that was a brewing. Congress passed a bill granting
Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be
forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th
parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri. Abolitionist
in the north made southerners believe that their way of life was under attack
and slavery would soon be illegal. Nat turner’s rebellion, a violent slave
revolt in 1831 gave southerners the argument that slaves were dangerous and
that being said slavery was stopping Africans to create conflict.
Rights)As long as there were an equal number of slave-holding states in the
South as non-slave-holding states in the North, the two regions had even
representation and neither could over
power the other. Each new territory that applied to be a state threatened to disrupt
the balance. Southerners argued for states’ rights and a weak federal
government but it was not until the 1850s that they brought up the issue of
secession. Southerners argued that, having ratified the Constitution and having
complied to join the nation in the late 1780s, they had the power to appeal the
agreement and threatened to do just that.
an effort to keep the balance of power in Congress between slave and free
states, the Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820 adding Missouri as a slave
state and Maine as a free state. The Missouri Compromise marked a major turning
point in America’s sectional crisis because it exposed to the public just how
big the slavery issue had grown. The
debate filled newspapers, city halls and Congressional records. Which
ultimately created rebellion in the southern states. Antislavery and
pro-slavery positions from that point forward repeatedly returned to the
arguments made during the Missouri debates. Legislators battled for weeks over
whether the Constitutional framers intended slavery’s expansion or not, and
these contests left deep scars. Even seemingly simple and straightforward
phrases like “All Men Are Created Equal” were hotly contested all over again.
Questions over the expansion of slavery remained open, but nearly all Americans
concluded that the Constitution protected slavery where it already existed.
(Sectional Crisis) The Missouri Compromise was criticized by many southerners
because it established the principle that Congress could make laws regarding
slavery; northerners, on the other hand, condemned it for acquiescing in the
expansion of slavery south of the compromise line.
so the act helped hold the Union together for more than thirty years. It
was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which established popular rule
regarding slavery in Kansas and Nebraska, though both were north of the
compromise line. Three years later, the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case
declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, on the ground that Congress
was prohibited by the Fifth Amendment from depriving individuals of private
property without due process of law (13-5). The Kansas-Nebraska Act
allowed each territory to decide the issue of slavery on the basis of popular rule.
Kansas with slavery would violate the Missouri Compromise, which had kept the
Union from falling apart for the last thirty-four years.
aftermath of the act led to the period of violence known as Bleeding Kansas.
Many people from Kansas would argue that the civil war ultimately started in
1855. This is when pro-slavery citizen’s rushed into Kansas to try to establish
that territory as a slave state. In doing so they looted, burned and killed in
order to intimidate the abolitionist. They were met by anti-slavery Kansans, as
well as many other abolitionist like John Brown, who solely went to Kansas to
fight against slavery. Though Kansa
eventually came in the country as a free state in 1861, the events there helped
spread the idea of violence as a solution to the slavery problem. , The uses of
propaganda by both sides increased tension which ultimately led to the civil
So overall there were
many reasons the civil war happened, mostly all of them lead back some way to
slavery. The civil war was a turning point in America history. The Civil War
was one of the most deadly wars in American history. More Americans died then
in all other wars combined. Sons fought against fathers and the nation was torn apart. The nation was
reunited and the southern states were not allowed to secede. (States Rights)The
South was placed under military rule and divided into military districts. Southern
states had to apply for readmission to the Union. The Federal government proved
itself superior over the states. Essentially this was a war over states’ rights
and federalism and the victor was the power of the national government. Slavery
was effectively ended. While slavery was not outlawed until the passing of the 13th amendment, the slaves were set free
upon the end of the war. Industrialism began as a result of the increase in
wartime production and the development of ne