Civil War Essay

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The Causes of the Civil War

In the 1800’s there was much turmoil over the debate of slavery and whether it was inhumane or not. Slavery caused the nation to separate into 2 factions; the north, who believe in abolishing slavery and the south who thought that slavery was a “benign institution” as quoted by Ulrich B. Phillips. There is much debate whether slavery was the prominent cause of the Civil War. Contrary to popular belief, slavery was not the ultimate cause of the Civil War; in fact the economic, cultural, and political differences between the North and South played more prominent roles in the instigation of the Civil War and influenced the beginnings of slavery.

In the 1800’s the United States was booming and had many exports it shipped out to different countries around the world. The North’s economy was based upon industrialization; the building of ships, the gathering of coal and many other factors that contributed to its prosperous way of life. Unlike the North, the South took a more basic approach and invested in cotton. A big pay off, cotton was the South’s number one major export. The South essentially built it’s economy with cotton as its foundation. This difference in the economies between them was a factor in the beginnings of the Civil War. Charles and Mary Beard in The Rise of American Civilization (1927) stated that, “there were inherent antagonisms between Northern industrialists and Southern planters,” causing them to fight for the control of the government in order to protect their investments. This animosity increased tensions and played a big role in the spark of the war.

The North and South had very different views on the how the country should be controlled. Each selfishly, as Charles and Mary Beard quoted; “sought out to control the federal government so as to protect its own economic interests…and used slavery and states rights largely as smoke screens”. This can be seen through the many acts that political leaders from both...
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