Slavery As The Cause Of The American Civil War

2055 words - 8 pages

The American Civil War was the bloodiest military conflict in American history leaving over 500 thousand dead and over 300 thousand wounded (Roark 543-543). One might ask, what caused such internal tension within the most powerful nation in the world? During the nineteenth century, America was an infant nation, but toppling the entire world with its social, political, and economic innovations. In addition, immigrants were migrating from their native land to live the American dream (Roark 405-407). Meanwhile, hundreds of thousand African slaves were being traded in the domestic slave trade throughout the American south. Separated from their family, living in inhumane conditions, and working countless hours for days straight, the issue of slavery was the core of the Civil War (Roark 493-494). The North’s growing dissent for slavery and the South’s dependence on slavery is the reason why the Civil War was an inevitable conflict. Throughout this essay we will discuss the issue of slavery, states’ rights, American expansion into western territories, economic differences and its effect on the inevitable Civil War.
Slavery
Slavery was the core of the North and South’s conflict. Slavery has existed in the New World since the seventeenth century prior to it being exclusive to race. During those times there were few social and political concerns about slavery. Initially, slaves were considered indentured servants who will eventually be set free after paying their debt(s) to the owner. In some cases, the owners were African with white servants. However, over time the slavery became exclusive to Africans and was no limited to a specific timeframe, but life. In addition, the treatment of slaves worsens from the Atlantic Slave trade to the plantation, and evolved into a moral concern (Roark 511-512). However, the North ignored the issue throughout the American Revolution and into the early nineteenth century, but still found grounds to fight slavery. For instance, the Slave Trade Act of 1807 which prohibited the importation of slaves to America, but did not stop domestic slave trading. This picture of slavery did not upset many Northerners as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s depiction (Roark 340-341).
For the most part, the North took a laissez faire approach to slavery that it would figure itself out eventually. However, there was a population of people who wanted to end slavery at all cost and they were called abolitionist. Harriet Beecher Stowe was an abolitionist and she published one of the best books in American history, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in 1852. The book detailed the poor treatment of slaves and the depicted their everyday life. This depiction enraged many Northerners who were unaware of the horrible treatment slaves endured daily. Stowe based her depiction off runaway slaves who ran to the North and told their story as a slave. Runaway slaves were another inevitable aspect of the Civil War (Roark 481,484-485).
In response to slaves running...

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