Examining the Civil War

Topics: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States, Abraham Lincoln Pages: 5 (1801 words) Published: July 16, 2007
Examining the Civil War

The Civil War is considered to be greatest war in American history, perhaps because it is the only war ever fought on American soil. Three million men fought in this war and 600,000 died. As of today, this war is the most fascinated because it was fought on American soil. There have been many documents and books written about the Civil War, this war also settled disputes betweent the states and gave many blacks their freedom. The origins of the American Civil War are entwined within the complex issues of slavery, expansionism, sectionalism, and political party politics of the Antebellum Period. As territorial expansion forced the United States to confront the question of whether new areas of settlement were to be "slave states" or "free states," the power of the slaveholders in national politics waned, and as the North and the South developed starkly divergent economies and societies, the divisive issues of sectionalism catapulted the United States into the Civil War (1861-1865). (http://wn.wikipedia.org)

The south produced cash crops such as cotton, tobacco and sugarcane; these products were exported to the north or to Europe. The south did depend on the north for manufacturing and the commercial and financial services that are needed for trade. (Funk & Wagnall's, 1986) The north and the south also had different visions about economic and social structure, there was free labor in the northeast and the northwest but in the southeast and southwest there was slavery which created a conflict for the north because they opposed the practice of slavery. The American Civil War has been known by numerous alternative names that reflect the historical, political, and cultural sensitivities of different groups and regions. It saw the end of slavery and the downfall of a southern planter aristocracy. It was the watershed of a new political and economic order, and the beginning of big industry, big business, big government. It was the first modern war and, for Americans, the costliest, yielding the most American causalities and the greatest domestic suffering, spiritually and physically. It was the most horrible, necessary, intimate, acrimonious, mean-spirited, and heroic conflict the nation has ever known. On the eve of the Civil War, the United States was a nation divided into four distinct regions: the Northeast, with a growing industrial and commercial economy and an increasing density of population; the Northwest, a rapidly expanding region of free farmers; the Upper South, with a settled plantation system in most areas, however exhibiting a declining economic fortune in some areas; and the Southwest, a booming frontier-like region with expanding cotton economy. The economic and social structures across the nation's geographical regions were based on free labor in the Northeast and Northwest, and on slave labor in the Southeast and Southwest, which resulted in the emergence of distinct visions of society by the mid-nineteenth century in the North and in the South. Before the war, however, the Constitution provided the basis to define the terms in which debate over the future of government would continue, and had been able to regulate conflicts of interest and conflicting visions for the new, rapidly expanding nation. Moral arguments against slavery had long existed, but in the interest of maintaining unity, party loyalties had mostly moderated opposition to slavery, resulting in compromises such as the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850. As slavery and constitutional questions concerning states' rights were widely viewed as the major causes of the war, the victorious Union government sought to end slavery and to guarantee a perpetual union that could never be broken. During the early part of the war, Lincoln, to hold together his war coalition of Republicans and War Democrats, emphasized preservation of the Union as the sole Union objective...
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