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10 Causes of the Civil War
Transcript of 10 Causes of the Civil War
The Cotton Gin
The Cotton Gin was invented in 1793 and patented in 1794 by Eli Whitney. The machine did wonders for the cotton industry. It could separate the fibers of cotton from the seeds. At this time, slavery was a practice that had been dying out. With the addition of this invention, the South suddenly became more dependent on plantations and slavery. Cotton became so profitable it greatly increased the demand of slave labor. If the Cotton Gin wasn't created, there is a great possibility slavery could have simply just faded away. Slavery had already ended in mostly all the civilized nations in the world but the United States. It set our nation apart from the others in a civilized respect because it wasn't particularly dignified.
The Abolitionist Movement
The Abolitionist Movement in the United States was an effort to end slavery in the country. Abolitionists argued it was socially and morally unjust and all men were created equal. Their goal was to emancipate all slaves and end discrimination and segregation. It can date back to the time of the Revolution, the Quakers especially, supported these ideals for society. Abolitionists really grew in numbers during the Second Great Awakening. It gave the people a reason to help emancipate slaves under religious beliefs. The growth of abolitionists, especially in the North, began to present distinct divisions in the country. Its forces began to spread into politics. People who supported the antislavery movement poured their complaints into Congress, finally silenced by the Gag Resolution is 1836 by southern representatives in the House. Obviously this was not an argument that should just be shut out and it would not be silenced until we warred.
Manifest Destiny is the belief that Americans were destined to spread across from the Atlantic to Pacific Ocean. The stage was set with the Louisiana Purchase and the explorations of Lewis and Clark. People reached greedily to gain the new land and the vast territories like Oregon and the Mexican Cession. Yet, it was of great controversy whether or not these places would become slave or free states. While we warred for these new lands with other countries, we fought among ourselves on the issues of whether slavery would be allowed or not. General Cass supported the idea of popular sovereignty so the people of a territory could decide their fate. Yet, abolitionists sought to end slavery altogether. The Wilmot Proviso stated that slavery should simply not exist in any land gained from Mexico. This idea was endorsed by the House but not the Senate, southerners didn't like the idea of losing the ability to make possible slave states. Thus the disagreement of slavery only continued it's raging growth.
The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was an imaginary train, a network of antislavery homes, or "stations', in which runaway slaves or, "passengers", were helped taken away from the evil southern "conductors" or abolitionists. Most memorable of the conductors was Harriet Tubman, who risked herself again and again for hundreds of others, by going back into the lands that had enslaved her. She saved over three hundred lives from the shackles of slavery. The finally destination and sanctuary were the free-soil lands of Canada. Actually, not many slaves were lost from this scheme, per year only 1,000 out of 4 million of slaves were runaways. Yet, the slave-masters' honor was hurt. They hoped the constitution that protected slavery could help them with their slave catching. Yet, this was a major abolitionist movement, it definitely held a lot of importance. So many risked their lives to help these people. Yet, it sadly had a stronger punishment with the signing of the Compromise of 1850.
10 Causes of the Civil War
Compromise of 1850
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Election of 1860
The 18th Century
The Compromise of 1850 was finally signed after seven months of debate. Concessions to the North included California admitted as a free state, Texan territory disputed with New Mexicans to be surrendered to New Mexico, and the abolition of slave trade within the capital, The District of Columbia. The South concessions included the remains of the Mexican Cession, Utah and New Mexico, to be open to Popular Sovereignty, Ten million dollars in compensation for Texan government's surrender, and a more harsh Fugitive Slave Law. So many of the great compromisers, like Henry Clay, Daniel Webster John Calhoun, joined with great effort to make this possible though, nothing was completely 'settled'' after this. The North seemed to get the better end of the stick. California now tipped the balance in Northern favor. Also the move to forbid slave trade in the Capital didn't forbid slavery in the Virginian state, though northerners had hopes to emancipate the state in its entirety. Yet, one law that was a southern concession, the Fugitive Slave law, angered many northerners. It required all northerners to catch fugitive slaves even if they held no previous opinion on slavery. If they didn't, one could be fined or even jailed! Northerners revolted by aiding the Underground Railroad Campaign. This then angered southerners who were offended that the northerners wouldn't execute the law. The shooting could have, almost started at this point.
Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe and published 1852,
captured hearts around the world. The book features a story of a slave who is separated from his family. This type of occurrence happened often in the South, even though Harriet Beecher Stowe had no long personal experiences with slavery. In her later years she claimed that "God wrote it". Hundreds and thousands of copies were sold making it the bestselling book of its time. It left a significant impression onto Northerners. Northerners who previously had no opinion on the issue of slavery now pitied the imaginary Tom and joined the abolitionist cause. Her sentimental literature also helped keep the Civil War among those residing in the Americas. Since the cotton industry of the South was so beneficial for the British and French, their governments considered aiding the Confederacy, but the popularity of the novel among their own people might not support the notion.
Kansas was the place where blood began to be seriously shed before the real war actually began. Anti-slavery organizations sent pioneers to settle in Kansas in hopes that it would become an anti-slavery state and gain profit. This distressed southerners who now felt betrayed, They were under the impression that there had been an unspoken agreement that Kansas would become a slave state while Nebraska would become a free state. Proslavery border ruffians poured from Missouri to vote. Tensions only continued to grow, feuding over simple land claims. The shots finally rang out in 1856 when a gang of proslavery raiders sacked the free-soil town of Lawrence. Then a radical abolitionist known as John Brown entered the battlefield. He and his men tore apart five proslavery men. He then escaped to New York, where he was not captured for his 'terrorist butchery,' but applauded and admired for his destructive actions at what was now known as the Pottawatomie Creek Massacre. The Civil War began in Kansas in 1856 and would continue until it merged with the larger Civil War in about five years.
America was already far past the point of no return, no matter the results of this famous election. The country now had statistics to show how fatally divided they had become. It was basically two elections, Lincoln and Douglas running in the North and Bell and Breckinridge for the South. Lincoln won the minority of the nation, sixty percent of the country voted for other candidates. The southerners rejoiced because they now had a reason o secede. A chain reaction spread along the southern states as South Carolina was the first to leave the Union, only four days after the election. Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas all followed suite, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas would follow after the war began. The election of 1860 surely left the Union torn apart. I think war had already been inevitable at this point, but any glimmer of hope to remain as one solidified unification has dissolved and the Confederate States of America were carved out.
I believe there were always tensions between northern and southern states before they were even states. The tensions had been engraved as they settled. The clear differences of the people who settled in each place defined the people they would become. From the beginning, slavery had never existed in the North as strongly as it had always been present in the South. Also in the colonial clashes with Britain before the American Revolution, there was a clear lack of unity. During the Albany Congress in 1754, about a century until the Civil War, only delegates of seven of the thirteen colonies came, all northern. Let's not forget General George Washington was chosen not because of his fantastical leadership skills, but because he was a southerner. Southerners had begun to distrust the New Englanders. Many were loyalists and had no real reason to fight. Also, during the creation of the Constitution, many states wanted to end the slave trade, most hoping this new nation could be built without slavery. Yet, two Southern states, South Carolina and Georgia, depended on slave labor. Thus the Slave Trade compromise came to be, stating that Congress could not end the slave trade until 1808. There were many compromises in the states over the constitution and most of them settled northern and southern arguments. Each side needed to please each other to stay unified.
War was inevitable at this point. The clashes of the outside world have now entered the political battlefield in a more fiercer manner. On May 22, 2856, Congressman Preston Brooks approached Senator Charles Sumner who was simply sitting at his Senate desk and continuously pounded upon him with his cane until is broke. Charles Sumner was a leading abolitionist, yet was very cold-hearted and very disliked among his fellow senate men. As he delivered his speech, "
The Crime Against Kansas
," he offended Preston Brooks of South Carolina. The speech condemned proslavery men and insulted the well-liked South Carolinian senator, Andrew Butler. Preston S. Brooks took it upon himself to fight in the name of vengeance Though Sumner had been quite offensive in his speech, Brooks was wrong to begin an actual fight in the one place that was left to talk about issues and compromise without worldly fears. Other congressman now had to bring weapons to their work scared of attacks from other politicians. There was no time for peaceful resolutions with everyone so incredibly fearful of one another. Also, the fact that Preston Brooks and Charles Sumner were both re-elected and seen as heroes for their side of the great divide to be, reflected on how inflamed the war had become.