Causes of the American Civil War

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 299
  • Published : November 12, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
A common assumption to explain the cause of the American Civil War was that the North was no longer willing to tolerate slavery as being part of the fabric of US society. Also, that the political power brokers in Washington were planning to abolish slavery throughout the Union. Therefore for many people slavery is the key issue to explain the causes of the American Civil War. However, it is not as simple as this and slavery, while a major issue, was not the only issue that pushed America into the Great American Tragedy. By April 1861, slavery had become hopelessly entangled and complex with state rights, the power of the federal government over the states and the South’s way of life – all of which made a major contribution to the causes of the American Civil War. By 1860, America could not be seen as being a standardized society. Clearly defined areas could be identified that had different outlooks and different values. This was later to be seen in the North versus South divide that created the two sides in the war. The South was an agricultural region where cotton and tobacco were the main backbone to the region’s economic strength. The area relied on exports to markets in Western Europe and the class structure that could be found in the UK, for example, was mimicked in the southern states. In the South, the local plantation owner was a ‘king’ within his own area and locals would be respectful toward such men. The whole structure was represented as a strictly Christian society that had men at the top while those underneath were expected and required to accept their social status. Social advancement was possible, but consistently it was done within the senior families of a state, who were the economic, political and legal brokers of their state. Within this structure was the wealth that these families had built up. It cannot be denied that a huge part of this wealth came from the fact that the plantation owners oriented the work on their plantations around slave...
tracking img