Civil War Essay: The Major Contributing Factors To The Civil War

905 words - 4 pages

If asked, most people would blame as the cause of the civil war the issue of slavery. This is understandable; many people in the U.S. at the time were against slavery, going to far as to help runaway slaves escape to the free north. But, while slavery at face value was a major factor, international politics and economics played a major role. Several factors, including the election of Lincoln, the raid on Harper's Ferry, the Dred Scott decision, and, most importantly, the fugitive slave law, contributed to the growing rift between the North and South and, eventually, the Civil War.Abraham Lincoln is most always associated with the Civil War. But, he was not elected through a majority of the popular vote. In fact, with only forty percent of the popular vote, he wasn't even close to a majority. His Republican platform reached out to many groups, but left out the South. Many southerners thought he was an abolitionist, although he did favor monetary compensation and a Union. As a result of southern fears over Lincoln, he was not allowed on the ballot in ten southern states, and many states threatened to secede if he was elected. His election prompted the first state, South Carolina, to secede from the Union, and started the Civil War. This contributed to the growing rift greatly, in that the South not only felt their livelihoods were being threatened through the potential loss of their slaves, but also had a sense of disenfranchisement at the polls, because the minority candidate won. But, even though if Lincoln had not been elected, the Civil War would have been delayed, Lincoln was really just the straw that broke the camel's back. The south was looking for an excuse to secede, and Lincoln gave it too him, which makes this election a relatively minor event in contributing to the civil war.But, while Lincoln was the straw, the North had placed many other burdens on the South's proverbial camel. In 1859, abolitionist John Brown decided to attempt to incite a slave uprising. At Harper's Ferry, Brown attacked an arsenal. The result was seven people dead, no slave uprising (they were not aware of the endeavor), and John Brown martyred for the abolitionist cause. Zealous abolitionists praised Brown, but southerners saw him as a murderer. What angered the south most, however, was not that a fanatic murdered seven people, but that abolitionists in the North financed him. The rift widened between the North and South for southerners, who believed there was a conspiracy in the North to send armed gangs to steal slaves and murder innocent people. The Raid on Harper's Ferry added more to the growing fissure between the North...

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