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Causes Of The Civil War Essay

920 words - 4 pages

Civil War was a war fought within the United States of America between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy) starting from 1861 and ending in 1865. This war was one of the most destructive events in American history, costing more than 600,000 lives. It was thought to be one that helped shape the character of the American individual today. This unfortunate war started as a result of many years of differences between the Union and the Confederacy. It erupted after many years of conflict building up between the two regions. Between the North and the South there lay deep economic, social and political differences. While there is considerable debate about the influence of individual events that led the states to this civil war, the following events are often cited as contributing.Uncle Tom's Cabin published in 1852 was a novel that depicted slavery's cruelty, inhumanity, and destructive impact on families through characters and a plot that appealed to the sentimentality of nineteenth century readers. Uncle Tom's Cabin moved Northerners to tears and made slavery more personal to readers who had previously considered it only a distant system of labor that exploited black people. It angered white Southerners. They condemned it as a false depiction of slavery and their way of life.Then there was the Dred Scott case in 1857. Scott was born in Virginia but by the 1830's, he belonged to John Emerson, an army doctor in Missouri. In 1846 after Emerson's death, and with the support of white friends, Scott sued for his freedom. Scott and his lawyers contended that because Scott had been taken to territory where slavery was illegal, he had become a free man. Scott lost his first suit, won his second, but lost again on appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court. After going through more appeals the final decision came from Chief Justice Roger Taney and the court that Scott would not be free. White Southerners were delighted with Taney's decision. Republicans were horrified. But instead of earning the acceptance, let alone the approval of most Americans, the case further inflamed the controversy over slavery. But if white Americans were divided in their reaction to the Dred Scott decision, black Americans were discouraged, disgusted and defiant.The issue of whether new states would be slave states or free states was another build up to the Civil War. The Compromise of 1850 was the annexation of Texas to the United States and the gain of new territory by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the close of the Mexican War (1848) aggravated the hostility between North and South concerning the question of the extension of slavery into the territories. The antislavery forces favored the proposal made in the Wilmot Proviso to exclude slavery from all the lands acquired from Mexico. This, naturally, met with violent Southern...

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