Causes Of American Civil War. Essay

1195 words - 5 pages

The American Civil War: Causes and ConsequenceBy ak_69The American Civil War was a combination of four decades of intense social conflict and reflected economic, social and political differences between the Northern and the Southern states. Through the four years of bitter conflict and sacrifice, America would emerge a stronger and unified nation. This essay will examine the major causes and aftermath of the war.Slavery vs. FreedomAt the root of the Civil War was the issue of slavery. The South was based on one crop-cotton-and the labour of the 4 million slaves who wee needed to grow it. The slave became an ever more important element of the southern economy, and so the debate about slavery, for the southerner, gradually evolved into an economically based question of money and power, and ceased to be a theoretical question at all. It became an institution that southerners felt bound to protect.In the 1840s and '50s the Northern states wanted to prohibit slavery in the Western territories that would eventually become new states. The Southern states opposed all efforts to block the expansion of slavery and feared that the North's stance would eventually endanger slaveholdings in the South itself. By the 1850s, some Northerners had begun calling for the complete abolition of slavery. However, Congress could not abolish slavery until the number of free states exceeded the number of slave states and they could win a majority in the Senate.Even as slave states were added to the Union to balance the number of free ones, the South found that its representatives in the House had been overwhelmed by the North's explosive growth. More and More emphasis was now placed on maintaining parity in the Senate.It was when the amount of land available for expansion became scarce that the North and the South began to feel friction as to who would control more states, slave or free. The South wanted more slave states, where the North wanted more free states, to give them more land and power in the Senate. The more land and as a result power the South gained, the more afraid the north became; as a result the more the North felt they must prevent the south from expanding.Moreover, expansion for the South meant growth, politically, socially and economically, and it meant more political power.Economic Friction:During the 19th century America became increasingly divided by economic structure. The North had grown a manufacturing sector, financial and commercial services essential to trade, small farms using free labour. The massive immigration of the 19th century brought new industries to America's North to provide for the booming population. The North and the West provided the greatest opportunities to new settlers.The South was overwhelmingly agricultural, relying on cotton and on the labour of slaves who grew it. The South did not experience the industrial expansion of the North. What continued to set the South from the North was its "peculiar institution" Negro slavery....

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