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How Inevitable Was The Civil War?

2720 words - 11 pages

Was the American Civil War Inevitable?"So short-lived has been the American Union, that men who saw it rise may live to see it fall." No other event in the history of the United States has garnered more debate, both before and after, as the American Civil War. Although there is not an actual date to reflect back upon and say this is when it started, we can look at the attitudes, Congressional debates, and newspaper editorials of the era and see a common thread weaving its way toward war. Many times throughout this debate the power struggle between the two sides swayed one way or the other, only for the struggle to be revived by the other side. As the years rolled by, the underlying conflicts remained unresolved, and the festering of these ignored issues led us on a path toward war. If the end result of a country torn apart by a war in its own backyard could have been seen at the end of that path, the opposing sides may have choose a different way of settling things, but they did not. And in that respect, because compromises failed to resolve issues, because each side felt they were right without question, because of economics, because of personal and sectional attitudes, and because three million slaves yearned for, and undeniably deserved freedom, the Civil War was indeed inevitable. For the "road less traveled" to have been followed, all parties would have had to change their course at a time when they did not realise a different way must be taken in order to avoid a war decades in the future. By the time armed conflict loomed on the horizon, it was too late to turn back, and both sides had too much at stake to acquiesce to the other side.Was the Civil War inevitable? Did brother have to fight against brother and father against son in order for a solution to be reached? Could individuals so moved as the wife of one of Lincoln's cabinet members, who rushed across the Potomac with Union troops to secure the property of Robert E. Lee at Arlington House against vandals, be destined to turn and kill their fellow countrymen over political issues? Not from the beginning of the debate for sure. But at some point in time during the ensuing years, a line was drawn. No longer would those on one side be willing to compromise one iota for those on the other. It is at that point in time when the Civil War did indeed become inevitable. When compromise was no longer an option or even a suggestion, both sides turned their backs on the other and marched toward Sumter. This point was not reached overnight, and the outbreak of the Civil War cannot be contributed to one cause or problem. "The men who struck this blow at our government are playing for a bigger stake than the right to...extend slavery." A tapestry of issues and conflicts eventually led to war. The decades prior to war had seen a steady precipitation of individuals to one side or the other in the sectional dispute. Economics, the ideologies of the people, and the expansion of United States territory...

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