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The Causes Of The Civil War Essay

, Research Paper

"The tragic ?fireball

in the night? imagined by Jefferson had finally rung. The

Missouri Compromise had failed. Proslavery and

antislavery civilians clashed in the streets and took up arms.

Thousands of Northerners were willing to die for their

beliefs. The Civil War had begun. The states were at war

with each other." This dividing battle between the North

and the South was unavoidable. The Civil War was caused

by economic, political and moral problems. It all started by

an alarming increase in a need for cotton, which triggered

the building of a barrier between two territories in a

growing nation. New Machinery was changing the textile

industry in New England and Britain. These mills needed

more and more cotton, creating a new demand in the south.

For this trade with Europe, after 1812, raw cotton

accounted for one-third all cotton exports of the United

States. By 1830, it increased to half. Cotton quickly

became a big money-making cash crop for the South and

North economy alike. But the demand also revived the

need for slaves. The plantations had to be worked, and

blacks were a cheap, efficient way to get the cotton

picked. To make their jobs easier, Eli Whitney took

advantage of the new idea, and invented the cotton

gin(short for engine). It rapidly cleaned the seeds from the

short, sticky fibers of upland cotton, the variety that grew

all over the South. The process was simple: a roller carried

raw cotton along wooden slats. Sharp metal teeth thrust

through the slats and quickly pulled the fibers from the

seeds. In 1794, he obtained a patent. Whitney still earned

little because it was simple enough for manufacturers to

copy. Even though the machine made attaining cotton

faster, slaves were still pushed to work harder and produce

more. Blacks under captivity certainly led a harsh, unfair

life. But that is where the white southerners believed blacks

belonged. Northerners knew better. Harriet

Beecher-Stowe, a female, black abolitionist was aware of

these conditions. She wrote Uncle Tom?s Cabin, which

was published in 1852, and described the incredible cruelty

and horrors of slavery. Stowe wanted to "write something

that would make the whole nation feel what an accursed

thing slavery is." Her novel became widely popular, and

within a year, readers had bought 300,000 copies.

Wherever it went, it carried it?s powerful message of the

evils of slavery. She hoped the novel would bring a

peaceful end to slavery, but instead it seemed to bring the

nation closer to war. Of course, not all Southerners

supported slavery, nor did all Northerners oppose it. Yet

antislavery feelings were on the rise in the North?few

white Southerners went to extremes. Their concern lay in

maintaining the plantation system as it existed. With her

book she was able to gain many Northerners support in the

antislavery race, yet at the same time she outraged the

Southerners. Harriet?s novel was one of the many things

that sparred mistrust between the North and South. The

North didn?t trust the South because they refused to help

Southern plantation owners capture slaves. North

depended on the South for making money, and the South

depended on the slaves to pick their cotton. This created

the Northern fear of Competition. The North was afraid

that South would gain power of crops and put them out of

business. This meant that slavery would double. The North

was torn between giving the slaves their rightful choices, or

keeping the economy balanced. It was a matter of moral

standards. The South wanted to break away from the

union, while the North still wanted the two territories to

stick together. This conflict was the main cause of the Civil

War. The South argued about their state?s rights. They said

a state could nullify a federal law it did not consider

constitutional. Southern states based their right to leave the

union, on the fact the original 13 states had existed

separately before they formed together for the United

States. The South could break their allegiance to the union

because they were not part of the original U.S. If they

could form there own confederacy, the South could

continue the use of slaves while also keeping their reign on

the cotton industry. The political issues that caused the Civil

War, revolved around matters that involved territorial

subjects and slavery acts. In 1820, the Missouri

Compromise was worked out and gained congressional

approval. Missouri was to be admitted as a slave state, and

Maine would enter the union as a free state. The

compromise also prohibited slavery in other American

territories west of the Mississippi river and North of

Missouri?s southern boundary. Stephen A. Douglas

introduced a bill called the Kansas-Nebraska Act. It

proposed to divide the area into two territories: that of

Kansas and that of Nebraska. It was implied that Kansas

would become a slave state, and Nebraska would be free

of slavery. Popular sovereignty was also put into effect.

This act gave the voters, in each territory, the right to

decide whether to become a free state or a slave state.

Together, they rendered the Missouri Compromise

meaningless. As the South?s dependence on slavery

increased between 1790 and 1860, the gap between the

Southern cotton economy and industrial economy of the

North widened. The opposing goals and needs of the

North and South created a deeper conflict- a conflict that

eventually lead to war. Basically, the North fought to keep

the union together, and give black slaves freedom, while the

South fought for their lifestyle, homes, and to keep things

together economically. The northerners had high moral

issues while the Southerners wanted to keep their

plantations and cotton production. They weren?t willing to

give up there slaves. There were too many conflicts

between the two territories, so they fought to resolve them.

John Brown, a vengeful abolitionist put it best, "the crimes

of this guilty land will never be purged away, but with

blood". The north won the war, and ties were broken. The

barrier they had started to build so long ago finally