Causes of the American Civil War
From the time America was formed until 1860, America was a nation divided. They fought in the American Revolution in order to become a free country from Britain’s control and you would think that this war would soon bring the new country together in an unprecedented fashion. In fact, it may have divided them more than the Revolution had brought them together. This division was a result of location and personal disagreements on what to do with the newly acquired land from previous wars and what to do with the slaves in the south. There is a common misconception that the American Civil War was fought only over slavery, when in fact, there were several other reasons for why the War Between the States was fought.
With the end of the Mexican-American War, America had received western territories from the Mexicans as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This land was obtained in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in exchange for 15 million dollars. Now, this is a problem with the Americans because they have the decision whether or not to make these states free states or slave states. In order to ease the talks surrounding what to do with this new land, Congress passed the Compromise of 1850 that made California free and allowed the residents to decide whether or not Utah and New Mexico would be considered to be a free or slave state.
Congress, as a part of the Compromise of 1850, passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. As a result of the Fugitive Slave Act, Federal officials were being forced to arrest any runaway slave from their owner’s control. If they had not made the arrest like they were supposed to, they would have been liable to pay a hefty fine. It also detailed that citizens were required to assist the lawmakers in making their arrest of the runaway slave. The Act also destroyed many dreams of these runaway slaves from the South to run off to the North and make a free home for them and their family.
The final main point from the Fugitive Act was to deny the arrested runaway slave their right to a jury trial. As states in the Africans in America Article, instead of being handled by a jury, these cases were handled by special commissioners whose sole duty it was to see over these hearings. These commissioners would be paid five dollars if a fugitive was released and ten dollars if he or she was sent back to their landowners. Simply because these hearings were solely based on money, many of these were ruled in favor of the landowner in order for the commission to get their money.
The Underground Railroad was setup in order to help the runaway slaves from the south to have a free, safe life in the north. Harriett Tubman was very well associated with the foundation and effectiveness of this plan. A system such as this was also used in Germany during Hitler’s reign to hide the Jews from the German soldiers in order to keep them safe.
This railroad was neither underground...