Causes of Civil War

Topics: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States, Compromise of 1850 Pages: 5 (1821 words) Published: December 12, 2012
The American Civil War was a grave turning point in the history of North America. It was a conflict that pitted the Northern states of the American union against the Southern states. The war raged for four years, from 1861 to 1865, and was marked by some of the fiercest military campaigns in modern history. The civil war was a terrible rift in our nation, fought between the northern states, known as the union, and the southern states, known as the Confederate States of America. The people’s opinions were so divided over the issues of the civil war. Eventually, the south succumbed to the north and surrendered on April 9th, 1865 but not before the war had caused 618,000 deaths. This horrible not only fought because of the issue of slavery but also a cause of social and economic differences as well as states’ rights. One of the main issues that would spark tensions between the states that eventually would lead to war was the argument of states’ rights. The South would vigorously argue throughout the years before the war that the federal government’s authority was not above that of each individual state. This would mean the federal government was in violation of what the founding fathers created it to do. Many historians believe that this response was elicited by the fact that the Northern population was growing so quickly that it would soon have control of the federal government. Before 1860 many of the presidents that had been elected were pro-south or they were indeed from the south. With the north controlling the federal government it would mean pro-north presidents would be elected and with this comes the addition of free soil states which would effectively end the South’s equality with the North in the senate. The South’s dwindling political power would lead many of the states to begin to ponder why they were still a part of a Union that was not working in ways they believed were equal to both the North and the South. Another act that the South would have attributed to their decline in political power was the tariffs that were placed on them. The Tariff of 1828 was put into effect to protect rising American industries by taxing foreign goods to make them more expensive. This would lead eventually to one of many crises in this region in which some states even talked about secession for the first time. States’ Rights would again come into play with the acquisition of new territories such as New Mexico and new states being admitted to the union like Utah. The federal government faced with mounting pressure issued the Compromise of 1850 which allowed those states to decide for themselves if they wanted slavery or not. The second major issue that further caused a divide between all of the states was the various economic factors and the way the vastly different Northern and Southern economies worked. In the times before the Civil War you could already see the increasing disparities between Northern and Southern economies. The North benefited from its Industrial Revolution and became an economic powerhouse. Many large cities would be established and over a quarter of northerners would be living in these urban areas. Factories would spring up all over the north numbering in the thousands. This would eventually lead to a fall in laborers working in the agricultural sector, about a 30% drop. Immigrants would also tend to migrate to the North rather than the South due to more job opportunities and easier transportation. The north featured over two thirds of the railroad tracks in the country. About seven out of every eight immigrants would settle in the North which gives the North a huge population advantage over the south and an ever growing workforce. In sharp contrast the south contained no large cities other than the great city of New Orleans. Only one tenth of the population lived in urban areas and it was not favored to live in cities because transportation was very difficult. This was because in contrast to the North the...
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