DBQ: WHAT CAUSED THE CIVIL WAR?
Proslavery and antislavery civilians clash. The "tea cup sitting close to the edge of the table" (Background Essay) begins to rattle heavily and almost fall off. The Civil War has begun. This "war between the states" shows that extremity of differences in opinions can lead to violence and death. There were over 618,000 casualties by the end of the war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865. So, what lead to this wildness? The Civil War was caused by three main reasons: economic differences, interpretation of the Constitution, and moral beliefs.
The North and the South were very different economically. The South had little industry; it was based off of an agrarian economy (Doc B). Slaves picked cotton off the plantation and the farmers sold these bales to make money (Doc A). The Southerners wouldn't be able to keep their wealth without slaves working for free. If slavery was abolished, then the farmers would have to pay their slaves to do this back-breaking work, which will cause the farmers to go broke. This is why slavery was so vital in the South. Now, the North didn't care much about slavery because it didn't affect them greatly. The economy of the North was based off of industry, unlike the South. Both the Northerners and the Southerners relied on each other economically. The North depended on the South for cotton and tobacco (Doc D), and the South depended on the North for industrial materials, such as utility, the making of railroads and canals, etc. (Doc C).
Everyone interprets the Constitution differently; this problem arose between the North and the South. Many states in the South wanted to secede and felt the Constitution gave them that right (Doc E). But, the President, Lincoln, enforced the federal rights, saying that they could not do so. He believed that "the Union of these States is perpetual." (Doc F). The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, and property...
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