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Most Significant Cause Of The Civil War

1226 words - 5 pages

No single event could ever lead to a war that was of the same magnitude as the American Civil War in the 19th century. William H. Seward, who would become Secretary of State to Lincoln, even said in 1858, before the war started that this was an, “irrepressible conflict,” with slavery at the heart of it. Before this though, a few particular events led to the deep divisions between the North and South, which would be the conditions in which the war started. The most significant event that led to the Civil War, would be the Kansas Nebraska Act which was designed by Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois since it led to violence in Kansas and brought the debate to the forefront of the country, as to whether slavery should expand to the new territories or not. Two other events, which were also greatly significant, however not to the same extent as the Kansas Nebraska Act, would be John Brown and his attacks in Pottawatomie Creek and Harper’s Ferry, and the election of Lincoln in 1860.
Senator Douglas introduced the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, which organized the territory west of Missouri and Iowa as Nebraska and Kansas. Douglas introduced it since he hoped to build the first transcontinental railroad, which would be in the North and go through Chicago, where he owned a significant amount of land. With these two new territories, and the issue of whether they should enter as a free or slave state, he decided that these states should choose and have popular sovereignty over this issue since he thought this would lead to the least fighting. In order for this act to be effective, it meant that the Missouri Compromise and its boundary restrictions on the territorial expansion of slavery had to be repealed. This repeal of the Missouri Compromise, led to widespread opposition from the North. Eventually though, it was passed with the support of Southern congressmen, and President Pierce. Afterwards, many people poured into Kansas for the election on whether to come in as a free or slave state. It became difficult to submit a constitution, all because of this issue, since there was so much fraud and corruption from both sides. It took until 1861, right before the war started, until a constitution was finally passed, which introduced Kansas as a free state.
This act devastated any sectional harmony that might have been present. After this act was issued, much violence ensued from both sides, including an assault on the antislavery town of Lawrence by proslavery men, and John Brown’s attack on settlers who advocated slavery. This violence earned the territory the name, “Bleeding Kansas” as the deaths and violence continued, and the act could be considered the cause of the brutal whipping against Senator Sumner by Representative Preston Brooks, which was over this issue of Kansas. The act was the trigger and one of the biggest events that occurred, which can be listed as a cause for the Civil War. What made it particularly significant was that the violence that...

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