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The American Civil War: Causes And Conflicts

1602 words - 6 pages

The American Civil War, which began in 1861 to 1865, has gone down in history as the one of the most significant events to have ever occurred in the United States of America, thus far. At that time, questions had arose wondering how the United States ever got so close to hitting rock bottom, especially being that it was a conflict within the country itself. Hostility steadily grew through the years dividing the nation further and further, and finally leading to the twelfth day in April 1861 in Fort Sumter, North Carolina. The American Civil War was an irrepressible battle and aside from the obvious physical effects of the war, the disagreement over states rights, the act of slavery, and the raising of tariffs played crucial roles in the division of the country as well as the conflicts that followed.
At the beginning of Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, he reflects back to the start of his presidency,
“All thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. Both parties deprecated war. Nonetheless, the war came.”[1]
A civil war is a struggle for power inside a nation.[2] Ironically, the American Civil War was of no such thing. It was not a war over who would govern the United States. The South simply wanted independence from the Union and to come together and form the Confederacy. However, from the viewpoint of the North, it was a war of Southern Secession. In 1858, William, H. Seward, the soon to be Secretary of State, described the differences between the North and South as an “irrepressible conflict.”[3] In 1860, once Lincoln came into Presidency placing Seward in his Cabinet, the misconstrued perspectives of both sides had grew larger and more violent, and with the first shots that were fired, the once avoidable battle between the North and South of the United States had begun, and indeed became irrepressible.[4]
The political influence on the Civil War, dates back to the American Revolution in 1775, when the Second Continental Congress voted and declared that the thirteen colonies, were to be free and independent states.[5] From them on, the question of how much power the national government should have, as well as how much sovereignty the colonies should have, caused for a steady disagreement that would remain unresolved. In 1787, the creation of the U.S. Constitution would grant the national government dominance over the states. However, the southerners still felt that they should be able determine whether or not they accepted certain acts, and the idea of nullification was proposed. John C. Calhoun was first to present the states right to nullify, or ignore federal laws in which they disagreed, in his doctrine.[6] Things seemed to have remained calm until the commencement of Lincoln’s presidency when nullification was no longer allowed.
South Carolina and the other southern states to follow, announced their intentions to leave the Union. They believed that since they...

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