After the Constitution was adopted by all of the States in 1789, uniting the States into one nation, differences between the States had been worked out through compromises. By 1861 these differences between the Northern States and the Southern States had become so great that compromise would no longer work. Thus, a conflict started within our nation that was called the Civil War.
For more than 30 years arguments between the North and South had been growing. One of these quarrels was about taxes paid on goods brought into this country from foreign countries. This kind of tax is called a tariff. In 1828 Northern businessmen helped get the "Tariff Act" passed. It raised the prices of manufactured products from Europe which were sold mainly in the South. The purpose of the law was to encourage the South to buy the North's products. It angered the Southern people to have to pay more for the goods they wanted from Europe or pay more to get goods from the North. Either way the Southern people were forced to pay more because of the efforts of Northern businessmen. Though most of tariff laws had been changed by the time of the Civil War, the Southern people still remembered how they were treated by the Northern people. In the years before the Civil War the political power in the Federal Government, centered in Washington D.C., was changing. The Northern and Mid-Western States were becoming more and more powerful as the populations increased. The Southern States were losing political power. Just as the original thirteen colonies fought for their independence almost 100 years earlier, the Southern States felt a growing need for freedom from the central Federal authority in Washington D.C. They felt that each State should make its own laws. This issue was called "State's Rights". Some Southern States wanted to secede, or break away from the United States of America and govern themselves. Another quarrel between the North and South, and... [continues]
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