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What Were The Key Issues Leading To The Civil War?

2365 words - 9 pages

Since the beginning of their new nation, the United States had many differences between the Northern and Southern states. During the Constitutional Convention they disagreed on how to determine their representation in the house based on population; the Southerners wanted to count their slaves and the Northerners did not, which lead to the three-fifths compromise. Later in the Convention there were concessions given to the South, which left the Northerners feeling uneasy, such as: a guarantee that the slave trade would not be interfered with by Congress until 1808 and slave owners were given the right to recover refugee slaves from anywhere in the United States. While many Northern delegates were disappointed with the rights given to the South, they felt it was necessary for the good of the Nation. This was necessary to form a strong central government and union between the states.
As the country began to grow and expand we continued to see disagreements between the North and South; the Missouri Territory applied for statehood the South wanted them admitted as a slave state and the North as a free state. Henry Clay eventually came up with the Missouri Compromise, making Missouri a slave state and making Maine it’s own state entering the union as a free state. After this compromise any state admitted to the union south of the 36° 30’ latitude would be a slave state and a state north of it would be free. The country was very much sectionalized during this time. Thomas Jefferson felt this was a threat to the Union. In 1821, he wrote, ”All, I fear, do not see the speck on our horizon which is to burst on us as a tornado, sooner or later. The line of division lately marked out between the different portions of our confederacy is such as will never, I fear, be obliterated.”
The question of slavery reopened after the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of California, New Mexico, and Utah. In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, this Act allowed the territories to determine whether they were free or slave territories by popular vote. During this time a new political party emerged called, the Republican Party. Their candidate, Abraham Lincoln, ran a successful campaign against the Democratic Party, who had been broken up by the differences in the North and South. Abraham Lincoln won the election of 1860 with domination in the north, and almost no help in the South. Before President Lincoln was inaugurated seven Southern states seceded the Union forming the Confederacy.
The North and South had been in disagreement since the birth of the Nation, however, this time it was different. President Lincoln did not even get to settle into the White House, shortly after his inauguration the Civil War had begun. Many people believe slavery was the key issue leading to the Civil War, but was it simply slavery, or were there deeper issues that lead to this “war between the states”? Charles B. Dew believes that the decision to secede...

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