What Events Led to the Civil War?

Topics: Slavery in the United States, Compromise of 1850, American Civil War Pages: 6 (2142 words) Published: March 20, 2008
What events led to the Civil War?

During the Revolutionary Era from 1765-1815, slavery existed in thirteen colonies. Maryland went from white servants to slaves. There was an agricultural economy that existed in the South that was dependent on the labor of slaves. Although slavery did not exist in the North exclusively; New York, Philadelphia, and New England were involved in the trade of slaves; so although the South was exclusively using slaves as an economic gain, the North also had financial benefits as a result of the existence of slavery. In the aftermath of the Revolution, slavery began to cease in the North. In Massachusetts they ruled slavery as not in concordance with the state. Other northern states like New York and New Jersey passed gradual laws saying "when a slave is born July 4th upon reaching the age of 21, they are free." Slavery was thus becoming sectional. The gradual laws were eventually let go cutting slavery more diligently. In the South, there was a discussion of slavery becoming a necessary evil. Manumission also came into process where owners had the ability to free slaves. Jefferson requested that as America expands, slavery not expand in the Southwest, but his request did not pass. The Northwest banned slavery, and in 1787 the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution began to play a major role in the Constitutionality and legality of banning slavery. In the Constitution, there are three parts that protect slavery. (1) Section 2: the 3/5 clause where a slave counts for 3/5 of a person. (2) International Slave trade: Africans are kidnapped and sold; Congress cannot ban this trade until 1808. (3) Demand Fugitive Slave clause (South): slaves who escape to the North are deemed by the Constitution to be returned to the South. Under Federalism there was a National vs. State separation where specific powers were maintained for the National Congress and reserves some power for the states. Constitution had a clause giving the National Congress authority to make laws and rules over territories. An expansion occurred in the U.S. between1815-1860. There was a market revolution; the economic changes affected the country sectionally. Railroads steamboat, canals, and roads contributed to the Growth of Expansion in the North especially. Textile manufacturing, migration from South to West aided the North in becoming more industrial. The Economic changes gave way to more reforms and an expansion of democracy leading to white male suffrage. This also led to a high voter turnout and two new competitive parties: Democrats and Whigs.

In 1819 a fight over Missouri becoming a state began. Missouri wanted to come in as a slave state; which was important for Southerners to maintain parity in Congress. Congress thus decided that if Missouri was to become a slave state, then Main must come in as a state as well; not as a slave state. The overall compromise however was that above the Missouri compromise line (36o30o) slavery is banned and below that line slavery was permitted. From 1831-1832 the Nullification crisis came about. South Carolina passed a national law about a protective tariff which said that tax on imported goods became very high to protect domestic manufacturing. White Southerners were upset about the protective tariff because they were purchasing their manufactured goods from the North. This tariff thus benefited the North and hurt the South. Fearing succession and an ultimate war, Congress decides to come to a political agreement with South Carolina and back out of agreeing to allow Andrew Jackson to use force against the national law. In the presidential election of 1844, Polk wins and says that Texas should be let in as a state. A war with Mexico was then at hand. In 1846, During the war, David Wilmot puts a proviso on a bill that says "Any territory that's acquired as a result of the war with Mexico must ban slavery." This proviso passes in the House. However, it is blocked in the Senate due to...
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