“All men are created equal” was an uncommon idea and value that Abraham Lincoln believed in at the time of greatest separation of our country, where the white man and a colored man where treated with equality. 1 Why did such a simple concept nowadays create such a major conflict dividing our nation into two. Which resulted in the bloodiest battle in all of American history which all started over one very simple ideal manifest destiny which helped to drive the opinions of the people on major key issues such as slavery and the strength of both the northern and southern political powers.
This conflict though casted a dark shadow on the people which they never though would go away. Conflicts were easy to come by in colonial America when there was disputes over land, crops, or even livestock and more than one person wanted ownership over these things. The need for land and other possessions came from when the British came over to America in 1590 and met the Indians for the very first time. The British first encounter was a peaceful one they had other plans to expand the empire of Britain into the Americas but in consequence uprooting the Native Americans in the process.
This is a prime example of manifest destiny, the need for conquering and expansions of ones reach. The concept of manifest destiny comes up again and again throughout if American history for example in 1676 when Nathaniel Bacon led a group of people to continue pushing the Indians out of the state of Virginia to inhabit it more profitable regions. 3 The demand for land was at an all-time high between the north and the south regions. The North was in a full swing of an industrial revolution, trying to expand infrastructure in the north by using factories and public transportation to build cities and other necessities.
During this time of rapid expansion in the north there was a war out on the west trying to claim that ideal of manifest destiny. But after the Mexican-American war was finished we opened up a new frontier for settlers to settle. But with the opening up of this new frontier the south wanted to try and expand their agriculture based economy into these new potential areas. But tensions were on the rise with the north and the south as the push for manpower and industrization as the push west continued.
As the pressure was surmounting between the north and the south the westward expansion was in full swing but what made it way more desirable was gold. During this era the west was this beacon of hope and revitalization to the country as well as to expand economic prosperity in America. As we continued westward the north and the south had very different ideals, the north wanted to industrialize the west by expanding the railroad and mining for precious materials. But the south saw this a near perfect opportunity to expand the free labor market and to expand their agricultural based economy. Because of these opportunity the north and the south were fighting over the lands west of the Mississippi river to spread their ideals into America. Though they were fighting over these lands there were still limited in there options because Mexico still owned part of Texas, the Indians stilled claimed a small region, and the British owned part of the Oregon territory. In this process of westward expansion the United States had gained many enemies as well as the continued contentions were still on the rise between the north and the south.
The enemies of the United States were the Indians, Mexicans, and Continued British. As the westward expansion continued we were pushing the Indians away from their native home in order to move to more valuable lands. They continued through this time period to barricade the American Indian people into areas around the United States. As the continuing to quarantine the Indians there was a war in the other front with the Mexicans in trying to expand the territory of Texas and found it as a state in America.
But the war with them was long and dragged out and ended up in the favor of the Americans forming a new enemy toward America. During the same westward push the British owned the Oregon territory which encompasses modern day Oregon, Idaho, and northern California but the dispute over the territory was minor and the British saw no further pursuit in the matter and gave up. So during this expansion of America there were several conflicts that resulting in major westward expansion.
Also during this time there was major political discontent between the republicans and the democrats to push for certain laws to be enacted to work in each parties favor. But this westward expansion was the apex idea of manifest destiny to help to expand upon the American Dream. But with this dream came the some consequences which were slavery and the way this group of people was treated led to the biggest and bloodiest argument in all of American History Slavery was the most important and controversial topic in all of American history and it really pinned the north and the south against each other.
Although both regions did agree on some aspects of slavery, but the North began to serious oppose the practice of slavery in the south and create a strong belief that all men are created equal. A great quote states that states “Protection tends to destroy commerce”5 The Slave trade was a much needed necessity in the south for their economy. The south endorsed slavery because it kept their economy afloat because it also helped to keep stable and profitable, and since the south was an agricultural based economy they helped to create a hierarchal slave system.
Slavery was a part of everyday life down in the south it helped to determine places to live, as well as economic status in society, and even had the profound effect of the power and deminer in society. This is why the south had such a hard set idea of not becoming industrialized like the north because of how profitable slave trade was. Because of the south being so set on their way of life they had no intention of changing what they wanted to do really causing the tension to reach a boiling point which little did we know was the point of no return.
Because of the continuing struggles between the north and the south they got fed up so and the south seceded from the union and soon to be named the confederate states of America, but the north never recognized as an independent nation. So in response to this major action President Lincoln gave a speech arguing for the Confederate states of America to return back to the union stating that he has no purpose to interfere with the states that work slaves. Each state was to decide the rights of the state because he recognized that America was not based on uality. 6
Lincoln’s idea for all men are created equal, helped to take shape for the most profound document in all of American History, The emancipation proclamation which helped to grant freedom to slaves and states that anyone who did not return to the union was considered free and protected. 7 But for the south they were baffled and offended that the north had such an audacity to dictates who territory was who. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and war broke out. The civil war was inevitable.
America was dynamic, going through multiple revolutions and experiencing an ever growing population and economy with the Mexican American war and the traveling westward. Times were changing and some were not ready to give up their traditions to keep things at the status quo, while others were pursuing a revolutionary future with the building of factories and the industalization of the north. When opinions differ and each side wants to protect their interpretation of how the world should work, it is going to lead to conflict. The Civil War was never predetermined, but it was certainly inescapable.