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The causes of the Civil War - Essay Example

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Today the American Civil War represents one of the most important conflicts in the history of the United States. While the war itself only lasted from 1861-1865, the effects have been felt significantly throughout the United States since…
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Download file to see previous pages Today the American Civil War represents one of the most important conflicts in the history of the United States. While the war itself only lasted from 1861-1865, the effects have been felt significantly throughout the United States since. In addition to enacting significant death tolls on both the Northern and Southern participants, the political ramifications of the conflict were truly revolutionary as they resulted in the emancipation of slaves throughout the country. While ostensibly the Civil War was a direct result of then President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, declaring the abolishment of slavery, upon further inspection it’s clear there are a number of complex causes behind the war. This essay considers the various causes to the Civil War in an attempt to gain a broader understanding of their political implications. Perhaps the primary catalyst behind the Civil War was the economic differences between the Northern and Southern states. While industrialization had enacted factory production and similar means of economic subsistence in the Northern states, the Southern states had evolved along a different path. Within the Southern regions, where the climate encouraged more agricultural means of production, the economy had become almost entirely reliant on cotton production. Within this spectrum of existence, cheap labor was essential to ensure the economy functioned, so slavery became a key part of Southern existence. In addition to embracing slavery, the Northern modes of city-life encouraged greater means of interaction between the social classes. As a result, it’s argued that Northern regions evolved more progressive views on the social hierarchy, while the Southern regions remained in an antiquated order (Chambers 1999). This would led to conflicting perspectives that would eventually mount, greatly contributing to the opposing regions engaging in warfare. Another pivotal aspect that contributed to the start of the Civil War was general disagreements on political policy between the Northern and Southern regions. In these regards, one of the primary disagreements was between the belief the Southern belief that states should be primarily responsible for determining legal policy, versus the Northern view that the Federal government should be the primary decision maker in these matters. One of the primary arguments was advanced by politician John C Calhoun and referred to as nullification. This would give states the power to nullify laws that were passed by the Federal Government. As it became clear that such a measure would not be allowed, the Southern states moved toward seceding from the Union (Jones 1999). Ultimately, this would be a primary influence in bringing the Southern states to war. Another primary political issue was the moral disagreement between individuals that supported slavery and those that were vehemently opposed to it. As slavery had become a long-entrenched aspect of the American economic landscape, even as growing concern over its immoral aspects mounted it became increasingly difficult to break the nation from these past practices. With the Louisiana Purchase, the United States gained a large portion of land in the Western United States. The Federal Government deemed that new states admitted to the Union through this land would be free from slavery, placing increased pressure on the Southern states that embraced slavery to move toward abolishment. In addition to these aspects, tension began to emerge between the Southern and Northern states regarding slave laws. With laws such as the Compromise of 1850, Federal officials in southern and northern regions were forced to arrest fugitive slaves, or else themselves be arrested or fined (Gienapp 2001). Laws such as this caused tension with Northern individuals that believed these laws violated general human rights. In addition, there existed a growing abolitionist movement of political revolutionaries that sought to end slavery through protesting and sometimes violent means. These ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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