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The Causes Of The Civil War

“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 rowing 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 dvantage 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 Toms 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 its powerful message of the vils 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 Northfew 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. Harriets novel was one of the many things that sparred mistrust between the North and South. The North didnt 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 tick together. This conflict was the main cause of the Civil War. The South argued about their states 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 Missouris 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 Souths 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 he 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 werent 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 crumbled.

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