Was the American Civil War Inevitable?

Topics: American Civil War, Abolitionism, Abraham Lincoln Pages: 7 (2546 words) Published: May 6, 2005
Was the American civil war inevitable?

The civil war was inevitable, only however, after one key event; the cotton gin made the civil war inevitable. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 was the key element which enabled the south to have sufficient vested interest in their traditional lifestyle in order to feel the need to defend it at all costs even from their Northern countrymen. The core argument of this essay centres around the evidence which clearly defines their being in existence two ‘nations' with in America constantly in opposition to each other. Therefore the growth of sectionalism and the events which led up to the conflict made war an inevitable outcome of the hostilities which had arisen from the to ideologically different factions which grew in the United States. Firstly this essay will identify the economic factors which made the civil war an inevitable event with reference to the singular factor that could have averted the need for the conflict. Second it will identify the political measures which were dictated by the sectional economic interests. The third section of this essay will introduce the ideological incompatibility between north and south which added fuel to the fire of sectionalism. The fourth section will discus the underlining social conflict which made inevitable not only the civil war but also a "second American revolution". The final section will deal with the counter arguments which advocate the alleged ‘repressible' nature of the War Between the States.

Economic Victory was thought to have been in the hands of the modern north that saw with the end of the slave trade and the unproductive problems of slavery, the decline of the southern economy. If the economy had continued to decline then the slave labour would have surely died out and the north would have a bloodless victory on their hands. However with the invention of Eli Witney's cotton gin in {date} slavery was born again and with ruthless further the south clung on to their tradition, for it had became profitable again. So profitable in fact that the south would defend it militarily if needed. James M. McPherson (1988) terms the South's move to leave the union as a "counterrevolution" which they under took in order to preserve their economic system, which they feared would be destroyed by a "revolution" signalled by the election of Lincoln. It is the opinion of this essay that the southern succession was an inevitable step for the south to take in response to what they saw as the ultimate threat to their way of life. However due to the North's core belief that the union was eternal it necessitated the very revolution which the south sought to avoid in the shape of the civil war. Lincoln had made it clear in his debates with Douglas that although he did not like slavery he would not tamper with it, however he had used the antislavery issue to his advantage in gaining support from abolitionists.

"I say that we must not interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists, because the constitution forbids it, and the general welfare does not require us to do so" Abram Lincoln, giving a Speech at Cincinnati, Ohio September 17, 1859

In 1854 Douglas' economic proposal of a trans-continental rail road set the stage for a conflict which signalled the end of political compromise. The Kansas Nebraska act which was a direct result of the economic conflict overturned the Missouri compromise. The following ‘bleeding Kansas' incident heightened tensions on both sides and provides further evidence that the inherent economic conflicts could not be contained with in the bounds of politics. The sections had all ready resorted to arms to solve their differences it was merely a matter of time before their representatives made the violence official under the banner of the War Between the States. The different economic structures of north and south were a fundamental division which made the conflict inevitable. The...

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