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Examining the Civil War

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Essay title: Examining the Civil War

Examining the Civil War

Examining the Civil War

The American Civil War, 1861-1865, was the result of a nation torn into two. The American Civil War was fought on United States soil by forces between the northern states of the Union and the southern states of the Confederacy. The 23 northern states out numbered the 11 southern states, which declared succession and formed the Confederacy. The American Civil War, or simply the Civil War, was fought over several economic, social, and political issues.

Tensions started rising between the North and the South when the Missouri Territory had the population to be admitted into the Union as a state. Settlers in the Missouri Territory were commonly from the South; therefore, settlers expected Missouri to be accepted into the Union as a slave state. However, two bills were passed which prohibited slavery in Missouri that was part of the Louisiana Purchase. The industrious North did not have the need for manual labor, but the South did. The South; however, depended upon slavery to man the cotton and tobacco fields for economic purpose and gain. The South also depended upon the North to purchases these items from them.

The election of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican looking to abolish slavery, angered the South. Slavery was not the only issue of argument that caused the Civil War, which 600,000 died fighting for their cause. State rights, representation, and tariffs were also major factors in the economic, social, and political issues which lead to the American Civil War.

The significance of slavery grew over many years. During the early 18th century, rice cultivation was introduced into Carolina. As a direct result of this new profitable industry, slave importation increased dramatically. Along with rice, cotton was another profitable agriculture-based source of capital. Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin, making cotton more profitable which in turn increased the market value of slaves (PBS, 2004). These two industries alone produced much of the capital that kept America in business. However, throughout much of the 18th century many despicable laws were put into place against African Slaves. These laws were intended to regulate slaves as property and not as human beings. These laws led to codes which dictated that all non-Christian servants entering the colony would be considered slaves. They defined all slaves as real estate, acquitted master’s who killed slaves during punishment, for bided slaves and free colored peoples from physically assaulting white persons, and denied slaves the right to bear arms or move abroad without written permission. With these laws a separation between government officials and individual States started to develop. Many political issues where directly related to slavery throughout this time and as time went on many states differed amongst the issue of slavery. During this time states where legalizing slavery and others where starting to voice their opinions against slavery. In 1758, Pennsylvania Quakers forbid their members from participating or owning slaves (PBS, 2004).

During the late 18th century, African Americans were starting to act on their need for freedom. At the same time the first abolition society was founded in Philadelphia in 1775. Later, in that same year, the first battles of the Revolutionary War erupted between the colonials and the British. Black Minutemen took place in this fighting. This prompted George Washington to ban the enlistment of blacks or freed slaves, only to reverse his decision by the end of that year. In 1777, Vermont becomes the first of 13 colonies to abolish slavery. In 1780, Pennsylvania begins a gradual emancipation.

The early 19th century was a time for Americans to determine where they were heading as a country. Situations such as, the Missouri Compromise started to develop. Under the terms of the Missouri Compromise Maine was added to the Union as a free state; however, Missouri was added as a slave state. The political separation was coming to a head, fueling this separation was the issue of slavery. In 1823, the first African American graduated from a college. Alexander Lucious Twilight graduated Middlebury College and by 1830 the slave population reached an estimated two-million slaves (PBS, 2004). Although slavery was still in effect in the early 19th century anti-slavery groups where starting to develop. These organizations developed into the “Free Soil Party”. This was a group that opposed the western expansion of slavery. This ultimately grew into the Republican Party.

The mid-to late 19th century furthered the advancement of African Americans. During this time they were elected into political offices, becoming educated, and developing their own society/culture. Although African American slaves where making progress there was still individuals who felt

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