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Civil War -- Long & Short Term Causes
Transcript of Civil War -- Long & Short Term Causes
Long & Short Term Causes of the Civil War
When the Republicans won the presidential election of 1860 they promised not to disturb slavery where it already existed.
But, Southerners didn't trust Republicans to protect their rights, so they decided to secede from the Union starting with South Carolina in December of 1860.
Despite many attempts at compromise, by February of 1861 6 other states had seceded from the Union, forming the Confederate States of America.
Some people celebrated secession, but others were alarmed by the potential consequence - war.
In his Inaugural Address, Lincoln spoke to the seceded states, saying that secession would not be permitted. He tried to convince them of the dire consequences that may follow their departure.
In just two months, Fort Sumter was attacked by the angered Confederacy and the Civil War had begun.
Lincoln ran in 1860 against John Breckenridge (Southern Democrat), John Bell (Constitutional Union Candidate), and Steven Douglas (Northern Democrat).
As a Republican, Lincoln had gained national attention during the 1858 state Senate race against Steven Douglas.
He gained many votes in the North, had less than 40% of the popular vote but did very well in the electoral college.
Because of his well known anti-slavery beliefs, he had to be heavily guarded as soon as he was elected because of assassination rumors going around.
The South had been threatening to secede if a Republican became president. Immediately following Lincoln's election, secession began.
In four months seven states had seceded and the Confederate States of America, led by John Davies, had been formed.
Just one month later the Civil War began with the attack on Fort Sumter.
Election of Lincoln as President
The day after Lincoln became president, he received a message from the commander of Fort Sumter, a US fort located on an island guarding Charleston Harbor in South Carolina.
The message stated that the fort was low on supplies and was being ordered to surrender by the Confederates.
Lincoln sent a message back, informing the governor of South Carolina that an unarmed boat filled with supplies was being sent to Fort Sumter.
Lincoln promised that his forces wouldn't shoot unless the Confederacy did.
Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, ordered his forces to open fire on Sumter before the supplies arrived.
Fort Sumter eventually surrendered on April 14th, after two days of fighting.
Lincoln called for volunteers to join the army, while four more states joined the Confederacy.
This was the start of the Civil War.
Firing on Fort Sumter
Long Term Causes
The South believed that slavery was perfectly acceptable because of its major role in cotton production. Here, slavery was legal.
Southerners considered slaves property, not people. They tried to pass laws in the North such as the Fugitive Slave Act, which required all citizens to help catch runaway slaves.
The North's population was made up of mostly abolitionists, or people who strongly favored the abolition of slavery. Consequently, the North's states were free.
For decades, the two regions argued over keeping or eliminating slavery. Eventually, the South seceded and war began.
Conflict Over Slavery in the Territories
Economic Differences Between the North and South
From 1820 to 1861, the Union attempted compromise multiple times to prevent war from beginning.
In 1820, the Missouri Compromise maintained balance in the Senate by banning slavery in the rest of the LA Purchase north of the 36"30' North latitude line.
In 1840, after the start of the Mexican War, David Wilmot introduced the Wilmot Proviso, which would ban slavery in any lands bought from Mexico. This was met with protests in the South
The Compromise of 1850 was a group of laws declaring that CA would enter as a free state, new territories would have no limits on slavery, and that the slave trade would be banned in Washington, D.C.
In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act was thought of by Steven Douglas and passed, supporting the idea of popular sovereignty.
The last effort to compromise was made in 1860. Senator John Crittenden suggested numerous amendments to the Constitution to protect slavery south of the 36"30' North latitude line. Republicans rejected this.
Though Congress tried many times to settle the arguments, war was inevitable.
Failure of Compromise in Congress
This is a short term cause because it happened quickly (after all, Lincoln was elected in just one day).
Within a month, the first effects of this event had started - South Carolina seceded from the Union. Not soon after , the Civil War began.
All in all, the election of Lincoln was something that quickly brought our country to war.
North was very industrialized - had the factory system, new machines (the sewing machine and power-driven loom), improved transportation (steamboats, clipper ships, locomotives, ), and good communication (the telegraph).
Even though slavery had practically disappeared in the North, it grew stronger in the South because of the revolutionization of cotton picking. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, which could clean cotton much faster than before. Farmers now wanted to grow more cotton to make more money, so they needed more laborers to do the work. So, the value of slaves increased ,
Industry developed slowly in the South, and agriculture was extremely profitable in this region. So, most Southerners didn't want to industrialize.
The regions' people had conflicting views on how the economy should work. Eventually the South left the Union and the Civil War began.
The differences between the North's and South's economies are considered a long term cause of the Civil War because they happened over a long period of time and "built up" to the major event - the first battle of the War.
Over a period of 70 years, the two regions became different from each other in business and economy.
This made conflicts arise and eventually led to battle.
Secession of the Southern States
The Secession of the Southern States is considered a short term cause of the Civil War because it happened very quickly - in a matter of just a few months.
From November to February, 7 states seceded from the Union.
This rapid change to our country's structure led us directly to the Battle at Fort Sumter, which marked the beginning of the war.
The firing on Fort Sumter is considered a short term cause of the Civil War because it brought our country straight into battle.
The fighting at the fort took place in just two days. Within this time period, Lincoln decided to fight back against the Confederates.
Lincoln's decision immediately began the Civil War.
Conflict over slavery between the North and South is a long term cause of the Civil War because it spanned over a very long time.
For over 50 years, the two territories disputed on the issue of slavery and whether it was legal or not.
Eventually, the South became fed up and left the Union.
This eventually led to the Battle at Fort Sumter - the beginning of the Civil War.
The failure of Compromise in Congress is a long term cause of the Civil War because it went on for many years with many attempts at striking a balance.
Despite the countless tries at negotiation, neither side was willing to back down or give something up.
Because of this, the South decided to secede. And, soon after that, the Civil War was in full swing.
"Abraham Lincoln Elected President." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 21 May 2014.
Appleby, Joyce Oldham. The American Journey. New York: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.
"The Election of 1860 Brought Abraham Lincoln to the White House." About.com 19th Century History. About.com, 2014. Web. 21 May 2014.
by: Basia Klos
SS hour 6