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The Road To The American Civil War

1671 words - 7 pages

The majority of speculations regarding the causes of the American Civil War are in some relation to slavery. While slavery was a factor in the disagreements that led to the Civil War, it was not the solitary or primary cause. There were three other, larger causes that contributed more directly to the beginning of the secession of the southern states and, eventually, the start of the war. Those three causes included economic and social divergence amongst the North and South, state versus national rights, and the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dred Scott case. Each of these causes involved slavery in some way, but were not exclusively based upon slavery.
The North and South were forming completely different economies, and therefore completely different geographies, from one another during the period of the Industrial Revolution and right before the Civil War. The North’s economy was based mainly upon industrialization from the formation of the American System, which was producing large quantities of goods in factories. The North was becoming much more urbanized due to factories being located in cities, near the major railroad systems for transportation of the goods, along with the movement of large groups of factory workers to the cities to be closer to their jobs. With the North’s increased rate of job opportunities, many different people of different ethnic groups and classes ended up working together. This ignited the demise of the North’s social order. The South was not as rapidly urbanizing as the North, and therefore social order was still in existence; the South’s economy was based upon the production of cotton after Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin. Large cotton plantations’ production made up the bulk of America’s economy. The South’s economy would now depend on the production of cotton. With the invention of the cotton gin, came the formation of more cotton plantations, and a need for large quantities of cheap labor; the dependency on cheap labor in the south would mean a dependency on slavery. The South had some urbanization, in cities such as Atlanta, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina. These cities served as transportation hubs, mainly for the transporting of goods, specifically cotton. The South would transport cotton to the northern industries to produce finished goods from the cotton. The transportation hubs and railroad systems existed more often in the North than in the South, because there were more large cities. Due to the North and South existing with completely diverse demographics, geographies, and economies they were unable to understand the needs of one another in reference to the continuation of their thriving economies.
With the North becoming more urbanized and based on industry, its power was also growing. The bulk of politics, transportation, and industry all existed in the North. The South began forming an opinion that new political decisions were being made in the North’s favor, and threatening the...

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