1860-1877 Revolution Due to Social Developments

Topics: American Civil War, Southern United States, Abraham Lincoln Pages: 8 (1383 words) Published: December 6, 2010
Throughout American history, many have worked to make constitutional and social equality for all

Americans, slave and free, black and white. Between 1860 and 1877, America had gone through civil war

and reconstruction, from destructive to constructive. Hence, there had been many factors that attributed to

constitutional and social developments in America history, but the main reasons for the change could attribute

to the economic rivalry between the industrial North and the agricultural South and the pivotal gap concerning

slavery and the political reconstruction.

The United States experienced a great period of constitutional developments from 1860 to 1877 due to

the civil war, Emancipation Proclamation, three civil rights bills, and the reconstruction. However, slavery

became the dominant issue in splitting the North and the South. The presidential election began in 1860. It

was apparent that most Northerners refused to accept leadership by a Southerner; and it was also clear that most

Southerners would not accept a leadership from the antislavery Republicans in the North.(History Textbook P.

369) Southerners even threatened to secede if a Northerner was elected. On Election Day, Lincoln received

39 percent of the popular vote and 180 electoral votes and won the election. (History Textbook P. 370) As a

result, the country quickly moved toward disunion. South Carolina seceded from the Union shortly after

Lincoln’s election. On December 24, 1860, the South Carolina Declaration of Causes of Secession stated: “By

the United States Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several states, and the exercise of certain

of their powers were restrained, which necessarily imperiled their continued existence as sovereign states.”,

which stated in Document A. Over the following weeks six additional southern states left the

Union —Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. On February 4, 1861, these southern

states created a new nation—the Confederate States of America.

Despite Lincoln told the South in his inaugural address that he hoped war was not inevitable,

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you.(Lincoln First

Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861, American Treasures of the Library of Congress) his words were ignored.

On the contrary, in Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address, he said,”We have vainly endeavored to secure tranquility

and obtain respect for the rights to which we were entitled…..”(History Textbook P.381) However, the

southerners felt their rights of holding slaves were being threatened. Then, in April 1861, the first shots fired

on Fort Sumter signaled the start of the nation’s Civil War.

During the Civil War, the need for a stronger central government was urgent.(History Textbook P.391)

As Senator Sherman stated that to nationalize the country was essential to the United States. “If we are

dependent on the United States for a currency and a medium of exchange, we shall have a broader and more

generous nationality.” (Document B, L2) Because in 1862, Congress passed an act that created a national

currency which was declared by Congress to be acceptable for legal payment of all public and private debts ,

Americans no longer relied on state banks.(History Textbook, P393) However, limited state power and rights

as in banking system was essential way to prevent government from being overthrown. “It has been that

principle of states rights, that bad sentiment that has elevated state authority above national authority, that has

been the main instrument by which our government is sought to be overthrown.(Document B, L4-6)

While the Union’s battlefield casualties mounted, Lincoln was pressured to make the abolition of

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