“Slavery cause the Civil War”
Jeffrey W. Crawford
Instructor: Dr. Peter Skirbunt
Course: History 1301
College: Central Texas College
Did slavery cause the Civil War? While slavery was not the only cause for the South to secede and take up arms against the United States, it was the central motivation for the Civil War. While many still debate the ultimate causes of the Civil War, Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McPherson writes that, "The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states.
In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected President which he was the first Republican president on the platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America. The incoming Lincoln administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession. The concern and fear was that it would discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually fragment the no-longer United States into several small countries. The question over slavery was the initial and arguably one of the only causes to divide the north and the south starting in the 1820’s and ending years later in 1865. In 1819 there were 22 states in the US, 11 free and 11 slave and the balance of slavery and freedom was balanced, however Missouri applied to enter the Union as a slave state. The north were outraged and denied the request, which led to very heated debates in Congress causing great tension between the north and the south. It wasn’t until a year later that a compromise was completed which stated that no state or territory in the Louisiana Purchase Territory and above the 36 30 line could become a slave stated. To balance the problem the north created and made Maine a free state, as Missouri had become slave. The Missouri compromise did ease tension at the time but the question had been asked about if slavery was right or wrong and the balance would have to be constantly equal to stop tension and conflict in the future.
Westward expansion was also a great area of concern, Democrat James Polk was very committed to the idea, he wanted to annex California and New Mexico from Mexico and let the Americans settle there. He believed it was ‘manifest destiny’ to control the whole continent. The idea of westward expansion was a good one because it would enable people to live in more room and to grow the population, however many northerners merely saw the idea of westward expansion to spread slavery. Polk’s ideas angered and worried the north and caused relations to break down further due to a lack of trust.
fThere were many issues that led to the American Civil War. Among these issues were slavery, politics, disagreements on the extent of the rights of the states versus the power of the federal government, expansionism, sectionalism, and economics. While there is no issue on the actual events that led to the Civil War, there is a disagreement over the exact causes that led to the war.
Generally, however, one of the main causes that led to the Civil War was the issue of slavery. Though slavery was not the only reason why the civil war broke out, it is considered as main reason that led to the conflict between the Northern and the Southern States. Slavery was an important issue not only because of moral or religious grounds. On the part of the Southern States, they protected continuation of slavery because their whole economic system depended upon the continuation of slavery (Chadwick 8). The Northern States, however, objected against the issue of slavery not only because of religious and moral grounds but also because self-interest. Politically, the continuation of slavery was essential as it was a major source of wealth for the wealth plantation owners in the...
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