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United States Civil War (Essay Sample)

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The paper talks about the causes of civil war in America.

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United States Civil War
Introduction
The civil war was unavoidable, and it was caused by numerous events that pitted the South and North societies. The differences between the South and the North politics and ideologies were what inevitably led to the civil war. After independence, there were sharp differences in the economies of the North and South and there was also a massive migration of black slaves and white Americans into the independent state (Foner 24). The South by 1830 was the chief producer of cotton, which was one of the major American exports. Cotton was a mainly grown in plantations in the South and this necessitated the use of slave labor. Slaves were needed to work in the cotton farms, harvest the cotton and operate the cotton gins. This resulted in an influx of slaves in the South and their population soared with time. On the other hand, the North was mainly industrial and labor was provided by the many immigrants who had moved to the United States from Europe in the period of 1790 to 1860 (Foner 24). The North had no use for slave labor and was deeply opposed to its use in the South. Although there were many factors that led to the civil war, this paper will look at the five key events that happened between 1840 and 1860 and made the civil war inevitable. It will also give a personal opinion on the key factor that eventually led to the civil war.
Release of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
This was a book written by Harriet Beecher in 1852, an abolitionist. The main purpose of this book was to illustrate the evils of slavery. The book was based on a story of a slave by the name Tom, who was harshly treated by his master Simon Legree (McNeese 36). The book brought out the cruelty of the master and the great suffering that Tom went through as a slave. This book created awareness on the reality of slavery and received massive support by the North abolitionists. This tragic story convinced the northerners that slavery was cruel and there was great need to abolish it. The southerners on the other hand, felt that slavery was a constitutional right and the northerners were trying to interfere with it.
Kansas-Nebraska Act
This Act was passed on May 30, 1854 by the US congress (Freehling 61). It permitted residents in the Nebraska and Kansas territories to choose whether to permit or prohibit slavery in the two states. This Act would lead to repealing of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 that forbid slavery on the north of latitude 36°30´. Many northerners were infuriated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, as they upheld the Missouri Compromise as the only binding agreement. The Act received massive support in the South. After the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, many anti-slavery and pro-slavery supporters moved into Kansas with an aim of affecting the outcome of the election (Freehling 61). Pro-slavery supporters won the elections, although the anti-slavery supporters shunned the results citing fraud. Anti-slavery supporters called for another election that was snubbed by the pro-slavery supporters. This led to Kansas territory having two opposing legislatures and violence inevitably erupted. John Brown led the anti-slavery troops, culminating in many deaths and the territory was nicknamed, “Bleeding Kansas” (Freehling 64). President Pierce, who supported the pro-slavery settlers, dispatched the Federal troops to dismantle the anti-slavery administration. Another election was called and the pro-slavery won again, although the results were nullified due to election fraud. Kansas was not recognized as a state as the Congress failed to adopt the constitution of the pro-slavery settlers (Freehling 62). Before commencement of the civil war in 1861, antislavery settlers won and Kansas became a part of the union as a free state.
The violence in Kansas spilt over to the Congress in1856, when Senator Summer took to the floor and delivered a scathing attack against the South for supporting slavery. He personally attacked Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina in his speech. Preston Brooks, a pro-slavery congress man, attacked Summer with a cane in the Senate. The North condemned Brooks’s vicious attack, but many southerners celebrated his actions.
The Dred Scott Case
A decision delivered in 1857 by the Supreme Court, brought America to the brink of the civil war. Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri, but had lived in Minnesota, a free state for two years with his master. Upon his return in Missouri, Scott filled a lawsuit against his slavery, since he said that his time in Minnesota had changed him into a freed slave. The Supreme Court ruled against him by stating that as an African, he could not sue anybody since he was not a US citizen. The court went further and said anyone was free to own a slave on the federal territory and declared the Missouri Compromise of 1820 unconstitutional (Freehling 110). This decision further divided the North and the South, and most democrats in the North joined the Republican Party. This decision also infuriated the North abolitionists, who increased their efforts towards fighting slavery.
Harpers Ferry Raid
John Brown raid on October 1, 1859 was one of the main events that eventually led to the outbreak of the civil war. He took 21 men and crossed the Potomac River to Virginia with the main objective of capturing the Harpers Ferry, and stealing the supply of weapons kept there. These arms would help Harper and his men to establish a base within the Blue Ridge Mountains, from where they would launch attacks on slaveholders and assist the runaway slaves. The attack was initially successful as Brown managed to cut the telegraph wires, shutting down communication with the outside world. The men captured the rifles manufacturing plant and the local armory and took some 60 people as hostages (McNeese 38). However, the raiders failed in their bid of isolating the town, as a train passing through on its way to Baltimore, raised an alarm upon arriving. Federal troops and the local militia were dispatched to rescue the town and prevent the raiders from escaping. Brown was seriously wounded in the confrontation between his men and the government troops. Afterwards, John was found guilty of com...
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