Reason Behind the
American Civil War
The American Civil War commenced in the 1861till 1865, after where a great deal of pressure is building between the Northern and Southern states. This tension was said to be the debate of slavery between the North and South, however there are some documents that points out that slavery is not the only reason. The conflict between the north and the sought had been brewing since the early 1600s, before slavery was even introduced to the colonies that would become the United States of America. The issue with slavery was one of the biggest reason for the civil war; however it was one of the biggest support in the real cause of the civil war. The real reason for the American Civil War was not only about slavery, but it was Europe’s role in the American economy.
Europe’s involvement of America’s economy can be dated as far back as Marco Polo’s expedition to China. In 1323, Marco Polo voyaged to China, a country that was obscure to the majority of Europeans. Polo depicted China to be “abound with ginger, silk, and fowl” and also stated that “there [was] vast abundance of silk and much trade” (Marco Polo, Voyages and Travels of Marco Polo, ).Europe, ready to explore the new land and new resource of wealth, decided to establish thriving trades with China. After years of successful trades, new conflicts had risen when the Turkish Empire conquered Constantinople and the eastern Mediterranean, allowing the powerful Empire to gain control of all land routes to the Silk Road (Zinn, Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress).
Without an access to the silk and spices they desired, Europe soon turned their interest elsewhere for a trade route. In 1492, Spanish explorers were off on an expedition in search of a westward sea route to the Indies. The expedition was led by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus who landed upon “unknown, uncharted land” in which he believed to be the Indies, but turned out to be the Americas. Columbus, believing he landed in the Indies, labeled the Native Arawaks of the lands, “Indians.” Afterwards, a series of unfortunate events had followed involving the tragic enslavement and deaths of thousands of Native Americans that would cause the future colonists of Jamestown, Virginia to focus on slave labor in order to keep their economy afloat (Zinn, Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress). If it were not for Europe’s sponsor of Columbus’ expedition, slave labor would not have been the economic focus of the South.
In 1607, the colony of Jamestown, Virginia was founded and was severely unstable due to the lack of knowledge of survival in the new world. By the time the colony of Jamestown, Virginia became stabilized, they were solely dependent on slave labor in order to farm their sole cash crop, tobacco (Borio, 2012). Since Native Americans were of no use as slave laborers due to their decreased population size and lack of immunization to European diseases, indentured servants were used for labor instead (Zinn, Persons of a Mean and Vile Condition). This continued until 1619, when the first documented slaves from Africa arrived in Jamestown by the assistance of a European trade company. African slaves soon became their main work force because of their affordability and immunization to diseases (Zinn, Persons of a Mean and Vile Condition).
As time went by, Great Britain became controlling and abusive of their powers over the colonies which caused the colonists to retaliate. The American Revolution took place and the colonies were able to win their freedom from Great Britain, thus creating the United States of America. The people of this newly formed nation split into two different sections and were now focused on developing their own economy. The South focused their economy on agriculture while the North based their economy on manufacturing. By 1639, the South had a booming economy with more than 700 tons of tobacco exported to...
Cited: Borio, Gene. "A Brief History of Jamestown, Virginia." Tobacco.org. http:// www.tobacco.org/History/Jamestown.html (accessed January 19, 2012).
Marco Polo, Voyages and Travels of Marco Polo (New York: The F.M. Lupton Publishing Company, [n.d.])
Schur, Joan B. "Eli Whitney 's Patent for the Cotton Gin." archives.gov. http:// www.archives.gov/education/lessons/cotton-gin-patent (accessed January 22, 2012).
Scheeren, William O. "Invention of Cotton Gin." ehistory.osu.edu.
"King Cotton Diplomacy - Its Objectives and Reasons for Failure." worldhistoryonline.org. http://www.worldhistoryonline.org/american-
history/king-cotton-diplomacy-its-objectives-and-reasons-for-failure.html (accessed January 22, 2012).
Zinn, Howard. "Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress." Chap. 1 in A People 's History of the United States: 1492-present. historyisaweapon.com. http:// www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinncol1.html (accessed January 18, 2012).
Zinn, Howard. “Persons of a Mean and Vile Condition.” Chap. 3 in A People 's History of the United States: 1492-present. historyisaweapon.com. http:// www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinnvil3.html (accessed January 18, 2012).
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