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Causes of the Civil War

There were quite a number of reasons as to why the United States found itself in the midst of a civil war back in the 1800’s. Most the issues centered on economic and moral ground. At the center of the controversy though were the Southern Slaves. The slaves were seen by some as remnants of the British rule of the country and as such, should be abolished. There were some in agreement with this statement. While others thought that slavery signified more of an economic issue because the Southerners could afford to have slaves while the north could not.

The north had an economy that leaned more towards industries while the south concentrated more on agriculture and the production of cotton. Hence the slave dependency of that area. The paper entitled Causes of the Civil War: A Balanced Answer, quotes Sidney E. Ahlstrome, in his book A Religious History of the American people as having said the following about the civil war: Had there been no slavery, there would have been no war. Had there been no moral condemnation of slavery, there would have been no war.

The United States of America has always been known as the land of the free and in fact, did great battle with Britain in order to gain this freedom. So for the country to have slaves, endorse slavery, and trade slaves was simply unthinkable. This had to be stopped. It was a matter of doing what is morally right. Slaves were being unjustly treated in the south. They were not being paid wages, made to work without much time for rest and were traded like basic commodities at the local barter shop.

The condemnation of slavery by most of the northerners dealt a big blow to the southerners. Certain southerners, such as Robert Barnwell Rhett for example, believed that without slaves to work the cotton fields, the entire socio-economic foundation of the South would collapse. This gives support to the argument that the primary reason slavery was a focal point of the war had to do with the economics of the state.

Although the Missouri Compromise of 1820 limited the spread of slavery, the south still wanted to propagate slavery in order to help keep their control over the politics and economics of the area. While over on the northern side, there were people who felt that there was a need to control the South both politically and economically so they backed the movement to free the slaves. For the south, owning a slave was a way of life and they were prepared to protect his tradition in any way imaginable.

When talks of the South seceding from the Union became public knowledge, everyone knew that it all boiled down to slavery and economics. The civil war was now becoming inevitable. By this time, slavery was dying a slow yet natural death in terms of interest from the rich southern society. Yet, Southern politicians had a big stake in the continued existence of slavery. This was the main reason why the south fought to have their own independence and rights, free of the dictates of the Northerners.

It is well documented that Abraham Lincoln tried his best to avoid a Civil War. He was one of the politicians who wanted to wait and see how slavery would die a slow, natural death. But the southerners like William Lowndes Yancey, would continue to pursue their right to “own” slaves. Eventually, the abolitionists like John Brown and Henry Ward Beecher decided they would be willing to mount a civil war against the south if it meant that slaves would finally be freed and would be accorded the same rights at the white man worker.

After a mothball effect of other related reasons and events, the civil war became a reality. Slaves, after the war, were freed and given the right to earn wages, vote (in some states), and had their god given right to freedom and rights as an individual finally accorded to them.

Works Cited

Causes of the Civil War: A Balanced Answer. July 2006. December 7, 2006. <http://members. tripod. com/~greatamericanhistory/gr02013. htm>

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