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The Civil War (1861-1877)

The Civil War which lasted from 1861 to 1877 was mainly caused by the diverging society between the North and the South. The North and the South had different goals. There were many factors that led to the war and the chief ones were political and economic differences between the North and the South. The Norths aggression to control the South had led to the point where it was intolerable. The issue on slavery was one of the cause of the Civil War. Slavery and slave trades had become a big part of the Souths economy.

The slaves were needed to work on plantations which helped the South prospered. During the 19th Century, the North worked hard on abolishing slavery which they thought was an disgrace to the Union. Compromises were proposed working toward an end to slavery. One of the compromises was the Missouri Compromise which made Maine, a free state, and Missouri, a slave state, excluded slavery from Louisiana Territory and everything above the 36 30 north latitude. Other compromises such as the Compromise of 1850 did pleased both sides.

The Compromise included admitting California as a free state and interstate slave trade to be abolished which went in favour of the North. The Compromise also went with the South when it included stricter fugitive slave laws and New Mexico and Utah were created without slave restrictions. A book called, “Uncle Toms Cabin” was also published at this time emphasising the evils of slavery. This added tension between the North and the South. The compromises seemed to have settled the issue of slavery but it was just putting back the problem. The North and the South were far from settling the slave issue.

Another reason that caused the South to go to war was the difference in economic policies. The North was expanding more in the commercial and industrial side while the South was reliant on agriculture. Cities and factories had developed in the North and in the South, it was still staple-producing and agrarian. The Norths industry was beginning to dominate its economy while the South was still mainly based on agriculture. The South only produced manufactured goods for consumption and the North were able to export manufactured goods. The taxes and tariff was unfair to the South.

The Tariff Act of 1832 put high import fees on all European manufactured good which was established to protect the Northern industries. The Souths reaction to the Act was a threat to secede from the Union. Railroads were also built to bond the northern tier of states. This made transportation easier in the Northeast than in the South. The Northeast traded with the West while the South can trade only by sea. “(W)antto promote the industry of the New England states, at the expense of the people of the South and their industry” In politics, the North had an advantage over the South.

The North was more populated than the South and the South only counted slaves which was big part of their populations as of a person. Since the House of Representative was based on population representation, the increasing population in the North gave them a big majority over the South. In the North, they strongly believe that majority rules and that they should make and execute the laws. This can be seen in the Lincoln-Douglas election when they were the favourites in the election. They are both from the North and the South wanted Douglas to win because he was for popular sovereignty.

In the end, Lincoln won because the democratic party was split up and the Southerners was just outnumbered. There were good reasons that the South entered the war. The North had been going over the line, trying to take away their state rights. The South had to stand up for themselves and fight for their moral rights. The South which was dependent on slavery would have been devastated if slavery was abolished. The prospering North was trying to control most of the South for their own capital benefits. This war was not fought on the institution of slavery but on maintaining the Southern civilisation.

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