The Civil War was the most violent war in all of America’s history. Throughout all the wars America has been in, the Civil War has caused more deaths than any other wars America’s history. There was several reasons for the cause of the Civil War, not only one. To look at it in a broad way, the South felt overpowered by the North socially, economically, and culturally.
Both South and North ways of living were far off in similarity in any aspects of the world. At the core of all the issues lay one major cause for disagreement which is known as slavery. The number of events that led to the civil war drove people over the edge, had varying degrees of influence, and tended to have slavery as a reason hidden behind them.
The question, was the Civil War inevitable or avoidable? It was Inevitable, because the different beliefs of the south and the north.Senator Henry clay made a plan with four core supplies which later was known as the Compromise of 1850, this compromise is what put the South against the North (Foner 484). When the United States won over Mexico, it added more than 1 million square miles(Foner 480). Once they won over Mexico, california was trying to be an individual state at the time. This created a big problem to the government as to how to keep Slaves and Free states balanced. The Fugitive Slave Laws, that has been annoying the government for a while was brought into play(285). Some people feeling that considering California as a free state would not make the South upset. When others were feeling that the south might leave from the Union, which would be the biggest fear among the government at that time.
The Compromise states that the populations of states entering the Union should be allowed to vote on the option of being a Free or Slave state. This proposal became known as “Popular Sovereignty.” The solution to all the problems were brought by Henry Clay.
He believed that California should be entered into the Union as a free state and all other incoming territories would vote. He also suggested more strict Fugitive Slave Laws and to get rid of slave trade from the Columbia District. Lastly, during the compromise he included the plan to settle the boundaries of Texas and assume its $10 million debt.
The decision that led to the Civil war was Dred Scott Decision. Dred Scott was a black slave that lived in Illinois with his master for 5 years. He plead for his freedom based on his continuous stay on free land. Soon the Supreme Court had heard the case and said that since Dred Scott was a black slave and was equal to property. which, makes him not a citizen and not allowed to sue anyone. The Court took the case further, and said that since a slave was property they could be brought into any property and still be held there under the laws of slavery. The ruling was based on the Fifth Amendment which prevented Congress the right to strip people of their property without due process of law.
Southerners were happy with the win in the case, but the abolitionists were scared from the idea that slavery could spread anywhere in the country legally. This fear continued to expand in the North and caused conflicts between the North and South. On top of other issues leading up to the war, is the Kansas-Nebraska Act. When the Union offered the territory of Nebraska to enter, more disagreement between the supporters of the North and South had occurred. Stephen Douglas said that if they separate the territories into two states, Nebraska and Kansas, and allowed popular sovereignty to do its thing, then everything would turn out to be good. The problem with this idea was that the stated territory entering the Union was above the line of the Missouri Compromise. It would basically undo all the previous laws. While most of the North was not supporting to this, the South was supporting it adding to the reasons behind the Civil War.
John Brown going to a federal arsenal and attacking it was another reason for the two sides to hate one another even more. John Brown was a abolitionist from New England. His arrest on Harper’s Ferry took place in October of 1859. Brown’s goal was to embrace the federal arsenal in order to start a slave uprising and try to end slavery. While fighting for the arsenal, Brown’s people killed seven innocent people, including a free black, and injured a few more. The slaves did not know about the attack by Brown and were not able to start the slave uprising.
Later, John Brown and his followers were arrested by U.S. Marshals under the command of General Lee.
John Brown was hanged from being convicted of murder and treason. Even though they did not support his extreme acts, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson on Brown’s behalf spoke and wrote and for the overall mission he wished to accomplish. As a result, the South was even more angry with the threat of slave uprisings. But, in the North John Brown became a scapegoat to the cause of removing slavery and Northerners believed it was the right thing to do something about it.
Both slavery originated systems and free labor systems of North and South both reflected and strengthened the economic difference between them two. Eli Whitney came up with many inventions that helped both sides. In 1790’s Eli Whitney created the cotton gin (foner 327). The South depended on big production of export crops, mainly cotton and tobacco, grown and taken cared by slaves. In the south, slaves were there main source of wealth, making slaves the second most valuable form of property in the south, after real estate. Whitney’s cotton gin accelerated production of cotton substantially and helped the economy by making the cloth cheaper and more easy to get.
As a result, it also made the people in charge of the slaves greed money more, and they took it out on the slaves by making them to work harder and faster. Later, there has been an increase of slave trade. The states of the Middle Atlantic and New England regions formed a commercial market economy in the beginning of the nineteenth century, and the nation’s first factories were born. His other widely known inventions of changeable parts brought life into the manufacturing industry, it also made appliances with lots of parts more simple to produce and repair. The region that benefits more from this invention is the north because it was the industrial center of the country.
Therefore, this gave the North an advantage in the war because they were able to make weapons at an accelerated rate. Basically, the idea of more slavery in the South made the people from the North angry and made the South see slavery as more of a useless tool in the agricultural industry(foner 327). literature written Harriet Beecher Stowe also made things worse.
This book made slavery look like it was an act of evil and made the Northerners to believe that their accusations had been correct: Slavery was very cruel no matter how you look at it(Foner 450). The South was angry because the north sees the use of slaves for wealth cruel and evil. They stated that she wrote false claims and false things that happened to the slaves. The novel had been selling well around the world, mostly in Britain and France and this book also led them to believe the cruel acts shown in great details in Stowe’s book(Foner 450). This made the North and South hate each other more. Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860. When Lincoln won the election the South rather quickly seceded.
The American Civil War was unavoidable. Due to regional and political conflict the country would still be fighting and arguing to the point they can’t argue and fight anymore. No matter what was done by the government a conflict was necessary to abolish slavery from this region. People in the South continued to grow more angry, whereas the abolishment of slavery in the North became very popular. The Southerners were angry because the North, in their eyes, were trying to undo their way of life and change it.
While Slavery was the biggest reason to the violence and hatred between the North and South, there were also other reasons in which they hated each other like dealing with economics, state’s rights, and culture. But overall, slavery looks to be at the core of all of these issues.