Civil War Article

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Sectionalism & Slavery ------------------------------- Pg. 3

State Rights---------------------------------------------- Pg. 4

President Abraham Lincoln---------------------------- Pg. 5

Kansas-Nebraska Act & Dred Scott Decision--------Pg. 6

Photos------------------------------------------------------Pg. 7& 8

While the causes of the Civil War can be attributed to various factors, the principal cause is considered to be sectionalism. Sectionalism is a term that describes a situation in which the needs or desires of individual parts become more important than the well-being of the greater whole. Such was the situation between the Northern and Southern states leading up to the Civil War. The two regions were marked by various differences, and the war was ultimately the result of both sides staunchly refusing to concede to the other on specific issues. Sectionalism was one of the causes of the Civil War. The Southern states seceded from the Union because they didn't want President Lincoln to free their slaves. The South depended on their slaves to help with their farms; the slaves were part of the South's life. When Abraham Lincoln became President, the South didn't want to be part of the Union. They became the Confederate States of America. After the Civil War though, the South was united again with the North and slavery was abolished.

Many Americans are confused by the causes of the Civil War. While the slaves were freed in territory captured by Union armies by the Emancipation Proclamation during the war, and all forms of slavery ended by the 13th Amendment after the war, recent films such as Gods and Generals have portrayed Southern generals as hoping for an end to slavery, and as fighting first for their state and its rights under the Constitution.

The Constitution had given all rights not specifically "enumerated" (specified) as belonging to the President, Congress or Federal judges to the states. For example, the Constitution doesn't give the Federal government the right to run a nationwide school system; therefore each state operates its own.

Before the Civil War, many Southerners felt that their states' rights were being ignored. Now, this was primarily in the matter of slavery. The main problem was that slaves would head north when escaping their masters. The Constitution had guaranteed that all such slaves would be returned to their masters.

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The concept of states' rights had been an old idea by 1860. The original thirteen colonies in America in the 1700s, separated from the mother country in Europe by a vast ocean, were use to making many of their own decisions and ignoring quite a few of the rules imposed on them from abroad. During the American Revolution, the founding fathers were forced to compromise with the states to ensure ratification of the Constitution and the establishment of a united country. In fact, the original Constitution banned slavery, but Virginia would not accept it; and Massachusetts would not ratify the document without a Bill of Rights. The debate over which powers rightly belonged to the states and which to the Federal Government became heated again in the 1820s and 1830s fueled by the divisive issue of whether slavery would be allowed in the new territories forming as the nation expanded westward. States’ Rights are the theory that state and local government's actions and laws in dealing with social and economic problems supersede federal actions and laws. The theory goes back to the founding of our nation. Jefferson and Madison advocated states' rights in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. John C. Calhoun's Theory of Nullification, the South's justification for declaring independence from the US, also advocates states' rights. The argument of the States' Rights theory is that the Constitution is a compact between states, not between people. The states created the national government and gave it only limited power. States' Rights supporters...
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