The Causes of the American Civil War

Topics: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States, Compromise of 1850 Pages: 2 (697 words) Published: July 21, 2013
The causes of the American Civil War
The American Civil War is one of the most significant and controversial periods in American history. The Civil War was caused by mounting conflicting pressures, principles, and prejudices, fueled by differences and pride, and set into motion by unlikely set of political events. The war divided the country between the North (Union) and South (Confederate). The war lasted five years and by 1865 the Confederate forces were truly beaten. Out of this horrendous war though, where some 600,000 men died grew a greater sense of nationalism than is today, unrivalled around the world

One of the causes of the American Civil War was the economic and social differences between the North and the South. With Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in 1793, cotton became very profitable. This machine was able to reduce the time it took to separate seeds from the cotton. However, at the same time the increase in the number of plantations willing to move from other crops to cotton meant the greater need for a large amount of cheap labor, Indo European slaves. Therefore the Southern economy became a one-crop economy, depending on cotton as well as slavery. On the other side the Northern economy was based more on industry than agriculture. In fact, the northern industries were purchasing the raw cotton and turning it into finished goods. This disparity between the two set up a major difference in economic attitudes. The South was based on the plantation system while the North was focused on city life.

The second cause for the American Civil War was the fight between slave and Non-slave state proponents. As America began to expand, first with the lands gained from the Louisiana Purchase and later with the Mexican War, the question of whether new states admitted to the union would be slave or free. The Missouri Compromise passed in 1820 made a rule that prohibited slavery in states from the former Louisiana Purchase. The Compromise of...
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