Why the American Civil War Was Necessary

Topics: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States, Abraham Lincoln Pages: 6 (1742 words) Published: January 9, 2008
History Term PaperThe Civil War, also known as, "The War Between the States" , was necessary, made many positive steps for the great nation to unify again and to incorporate slaves as citizens of that nation. The South refused to compromise about slavery and they decided to create their own establishment, The Confederate States of America. President Abraham Lincoln's goal coming into the war was to unify all the states and to relieve African-Americans (World Book). I agree with both of those statements and consider them to be valid reasons for war.

First off, if slavery was to be abolished in all of America, the North needed to take action. The words exchanged back and forth between the divided nation were not getting anywhere. The South were very stubborn and continued to rely on slaves to do most of the hard labor. They always seemed to be unsatisfied with laws and acts passed which caused them to split from the Union.

One attempt for an agreement between the regions was the Compromise of 1850. This compromise tried to make everybody happy about the issue of slavery in states. The things that pleased the Northern states were that California was assumed a "free state", slave trade was ended, and that the territories of New Mexico and Utah would have popular sovereignty. The one large plus for the South was that the Fugitive Slave Act was passed.

The Fugitive Slave Act, was a very reprehensible topic. It stated that all slaves must be returned to their owners, and it was one of the main causes of the Civil War. When the Pearl Incident occurred, which was when "76 slaves tried to escape from Washington D.C," people had mixed reactions (Wikipedia). Once again there was an argument dealing on the topic of slaves and slavery between the North and the South.

When Abraham Lincoln was elected, which by the way he did not receive a single electoral vote from a Southern state, he pledged to prevent the expansion of slavery. However, he did not say anything about ending it in states where it was already present. None of this persuaded the South and they started up their threats of secession. Negotiations continued until finally the first states started to secede, and on Febuary 9, 1861 the Confederate States of America established their own government. "The original seven states included South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas." Once Lincoln sent out for troops, several more Southern states followed their lead. These included Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee (Wikipedia). This government didn't work well and in time they lost the war.

At the time of the American Civil War, the percentage of white families living in the lower South who owned African-American slaves was 36.7%. "The total slave population in the South was 3,500,000 in 1860" (Wikipedia). Blacks were helplessly being forced into labor in the South and many rebellions sprung up but did not help much. President Lincoln was well aware of what was taking place in the Confederate States and he tried to do something about it during the War (119, Jordan). It was very unfair for the South to rely on slaves for their labor. They didn't pay the African-Americans hardly anything at all, they treated them like dirt, and they worked from dawn until dusk. A nation that is based on this type of economy was doomed from the start.

On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This order consisted of two different orders. Slaves living in the Confederate States of America were free. The other part of the proclamation described the exact states that this applied to. Instead of when the Union captured Confederate slaves and returning them to their owners, now they could free the slaves, and recruit them to join in on the cause for complete abolition and unification.

Following the Proclamation, African-Americans could participate in the War. After abolition however, they were still heavily...


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Jordan, Robert P. The Civil War. American Society of Civil Engineers, 1969.
McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: the Civil War Era. Oxford UP US, 1988.
"Proposal and Ratification." 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1997). 20 Dec. 2007 "Records Relating to Freedmen 's Labor." Freedmen 's Bureau Online (1997). 20 Dec. 2007 .
"Surrender Terms At Appomattox, 1865." Surrender At Appomattox, 1865 (1997). 19 Dec. 2007 .
"The Civil War and Emancipation." Peoples & Events (2002). 18 Dec. 2007 .
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