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Events That Lead To The Civil War

Essay, Research Paper

The civil war, known for its issues of slavery and the conflict between the north and the south. The split in the union can be traced as far back as the 1810?s, just as the industrial revolution was beginning. With the industrial revolution?s effects on the north and the south caused the economy to split.

The north became more industrialized; the south started relaying more on agriculture. In the north, machines, interchangeable parts, and mass production took over, and started the building of factories. These first factories were used for making textiles and later evolved to manufacturing a wide variety of goods. This sparked opportunity for jobs, and with immigrants flooding in form Europe it was no problem filling the positions. With the factory system, it was efficient and inexpensive for the north to employ a large work force. The factories caused slavery in the north to die. In the south cotton was becoming king; it was the biggest money marker the south had. Cotton is a very laborious crop, hence the ownerships of a lot of slaves. Unlike the immigrants in the north, slaves were property. Slaves were also much less of a prophet, because when a slave got sick an owner couldn?t just replace him, they needed to take care of their property. In the north if a worker got sick, there were plenty more immigrants waiting for a job.

In 1818 the power balance in congress was equal; ten free states-ten slave states. Then, Illinois became the 11th free state and Alabama followed as the next slave state. There were two more states that wanted to enter the union, Missouri and Maine. This brought about the Missouri compromise of 1820. In 1819, Missouri wanted to join the Union, but in the North, as a slave state. This would make the balance of power in congress unequal. Many Northerners were opposed to the idea, so northern congressmen refused to pass the bill. Northerners proposed that Missouri be a slave state and that no more slaves were to be brought in and all slave children would be free at the age 25, so Missouri would eventually become a Free State. Southerners were opposed to the idea. Congress debated for many months, and then Henry Clay proposed that Maine enter the Union as a Free State. He also proposed prohibiting slavery above the 36030? latitude, the southern boundary of Missouri. The South agreed, since plantations would not be able to survive further North of that line.

Another minor step leading to war was disagreements of tariffs on imports and exports. In 1828, A Tariff was passed to help try to protect New England Manufactures. The tariff was as high as 45% to 50% of the original European price. The north wanted these higher tariffs so their products could compete on the same level as the cheaper foreign products. Opponents of the tariff called it the Tariff of Abomination. Southerners were opposed to the tariff because they exported cotton and other materials to Europe in exchange European goods were imported to America. Southerners claimed it was an indirect tax on their region of the United States. Southerners began to ask for states rights. South Carolina even went as far as to ask for the tariff taken off or they would succeed. The tariff was lowered by Congress. The north didn?t need to buy as many foreign products as the south because they were very self-reliant.

After the United States went to war with Mexico, a win meant more land but, the Missouri Compromise of 1820, only dealt with the Louisiana Territory. In 1846, David Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, proposed an answer. His plan said: any land acquired from Mexico was to be free land. The House passed the bill, but it was shot down in the Senate. It was able to pass in the House because Northerners controlled it but it was unable to pass in the Senate because Southerners controlled it. This was a big issue because it showed that there was little that either side could do to pass a law that one side favored but the other didn?t, which also showed a continuing separation that would last until the war.

In 1849, Gold was discovered in California, which drew thousands and thousands of people to California. Later, California applied for statehood as a free state, but since there were 15 free states and 15 slave states the south opposed it, to keep equal power in congress. If California were admitted to the union as a free state the South wouldn?t be able to stop any bill from passing, since the north would gain control of congress. This is why the south was pleading. California wasn?t the only problem congress had though, they also were in debate over the new territories. Congress was fighting over whether or not slavery should be allowed in the new territories. These two things brought the compromise of 1850. In the compromise the north got California as a free state and the prohibiting of slave trade in Washington D.C. In return, the south got tougher fugitive slave laws, allowing them to send bounty hunters after their escaped slaves. The fugitive slave law made the south happy but didn?t help their relations with the north. When the northern community saw how the southerners came and treated blacks, many sympathized the slaves and supported abolishing slavery. In addition to tougher fugitive slave laws the south also gained popular sovereignty in the new territories, opening slavery to the new land. The compromise of 1850 delayed the war for 11 years, allowing the north to grow stronger and become more self-sufficient. During these 11 years the south didn?t grow much, slaves made up one-third the south?s population. The compromise did one other thing; it threw out the old Missouri compromise, eliminating the 36036? line.

After the Fugitive Slave Bill was passed there was a lot of hatred for slavery. In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe?s novel, Uncle Tom?s Cabin, was published. Written about a slave escaping from slavery, the break up of many slave families and marriages, and the effects of slavery on blacks. Stowe?s work created uproar; it led to southerners saying that slaves were treated much “better” than there are prorated in the book. Many northerners who read the book and saw the play came away with the idea that they must stop the Fugitive Slave Bill. Uncle Tom?s Cabin, resembled what Harriet Tubman was doing, helping slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. Slave owners saw this as stealing and were outraged.

Stephan Douglas of Illinois introduced a bill in which the Nebraska Territories west of Iowa and Missouri would be organized. Douglas also wanted to make a transcontinental railroad by expanding the existing lines from Chicago to the Pacific. The railroad could only be established if the Nebraska Territory was organized. Under the Compromise of 1820, slavery was banned in that territory. Many Southerners agreed with Calhoon, that slavery should be open to all territories. Many refused to pass the bill until it allowed slavery. Douglas proposed that the territory be divided into the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, which would use popular sovereignty. Congress did pass the bill. Northerners protested the revitalization of the Missouri Compromise saying that the bill could be used to open slavery in any territory. When Pierce was elected president the bill passed, making the Kansas-Nebraska Act law in 1854.

Now that the territories were open to popular sovereignty, northerners and southerners flooded into Kansas hoping to get enough people to set up a pro/con slave government. With both sides trying to gain an edge over the other violence broke out. In 1856 ?Bleeding Kansas? too place. Northerners and southerners were killing each other in the territories and every time it was brought up in congress fights broke out.

Another political party was forming; they were called republicans. They formed when the Whigs split. The republicans didn?t want to abolish slavery, unlike the abolitionist Whigs, but they didn?t want it in the new territories. The south sees them as a threat, as people out to destroy their way of life.

The Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court in March 1857 was one of the biggest steps leading up to the secession of the southern states. Dred Scott was a slave who was taken to Missouri from Virginia and sold. His new master then moved to Illinois, a free state, for a while but soon moved back to Missouri. When his owner died, Scott claimed that since he had lived in a free state, he should be a free man. The case eventually made it to the Supreme Court. The court had two questions to answer before they made a ruling. First, was Dred Scott a citizen of the United States? Second, did living in a free territory make Scott a free man, even though he went back to a slave state? These two questions lead to a bigger question: does Scott, having been a slave, have the constitutional right to sue? On March 6, 1857 the court made their decision. The vote ended up seven against Scott, two for Scott. Northerners were outraged and southerners were pleased.

1859, John Brown a radical abolitionist, led 18 men into Harper?s Ferry to seize the federal arsenal. He planned on giving weapons to slaves so they could rebel against their owners. The south saw this as a threat, that a man was helping blacks kill them and their families. Brown was captured and hung.

The election of November 1860 was the final straw for the south, after Lincoln was elected South Carolina seceded from the union. Abraham Lincoln was a republican, his main goal as president was to preserve the union, not abolish slavery. The seven deep southern states were the next to secede, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. These eight states then formed the confederate states of America, electing Jefferson Davis as their president and Alexander Stephens as their vice president.

The start of the War

April 12, 1861, less than a month after President Lincoln was inaugurated, Lincoln already had trouble with the confederate states of America. All union troops loyal to the north had been expelled form the southern posts and sent back to the north, but one fort was still occupied by union troops, Fort Sumter. Lincoln told Davis that he was going to re-supply the fort. When the ships came with supplies the south fired on the fort starting the war.