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The Mexican War Did Not Cause the Civil War

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Plagued with the ever-present plight of war, the United States has endured many forms of this widespread and deadly affliction over the course of its relatively young life. Unceasingly analyzed in hopes of perhaps understanding the underlying and sometimes hidden causes, such wars have captivated the minds of scholars since the moment the nation’s fathers tore independence from the stubborn clutch of England. Consider the great Civil War, a war that tested the United States’ reputation of increasing power, of unification, of steadfastness. Often simplified and romanticized when being presented to young children, the causes of the Civil War are much more muddled and shady than any middle school teacher can make them out to be. While it is undeniable that the Mexican War accelerated the arrival of it, the Civil War was ineffable. Propelled by factors such as the Supreme Court’s controversial Dred Scott decision, the popularity of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the emergence of the Republican party, based on the fundamental opposition to slavery, the eventual explosion of tensions between the North and the South was unavoidable.

The Mexican War certainly made the issue of slavery extremely pressing. With the acquisition of new territories during the first half of 17th century, such as The Louisiana Purchase, Oregon Country, and Kansas and Nebraska, a decision to either allow or outlaw slavery in the new territories was vital. Of course, the South urged Congress to legalize the institution it relied so heavily upon, and appropriately, vice versa occurred in the North. Such a pressing issue served one major purpose. The decision to be made tremendously publicized the issue of slavery, spreading either approval or hatred of it. Slavery was no longer something foreign and distant to Northerners; it was possible for it to spread. This was the only controversy concerning slavery the Mexican War raised, and this was the only affect on slavery the Mexican War had.

Meanwhile, on the eastern half of the United States in the mid-1800’s, crisis was escalading. One of the biggest contributions to

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