The Inevitable Civil War The traditional view that most people perceive as the soul cause of the Civil War was slavery. What most people don’t know is that states rights, economics, and politics were the other factors that encourage and contributed to the South succeeding from the Union. However, slavery was still the main focal point that started the Civil War. A politician by the name of William Steward believed that an “Irrepressible Conflict” was occurring and that sooner or later America would either be entirely a “free labor” nation or a slavery base society.
Since the North thought of slavery as being an immoral means of profit and the South considered it a way of life, neither side were going to accept each others sectionalists views. One of the main causes that encouraged the Civil War was the issue of states rights. Most of the state constitutions in the South accepted the use of slaves because it benefited their economy and their agricultural needs. The North thought of slavery as an immoral tradition and suggested that the South band the use of slaves and conform to the “free labor” system of the North.
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The Southern states didn’t want to abide by the Northern states because under the Southern states constitutions, slavery was permitted. Also, the Southern states mentality was far different from the North. White farmers in the South thought themselves furrier to African-Blacks and therefore should be their own boss rather then be equal to slaves. The whole issue of slavery wasn’t that much concern for some of the people in the Union, anyways. The Northern people thought that slavery would eventually die out and the South would then be forced to adopt the North’s economic system.
The North’s only concern about the South was that they would use their own ideas of “Manifest Destiny” and try to spread slavery into the new territories. When the North tried to prevent this from happening, the South got infuriated and that was the first step towards war. The differences of the North’s and South’s economics also played a key role to the outburst of Civil War. Each society had their own ideas and principles of how the American economy should be ran. The North was primarily a manufacturing, based economy which relied on people to operate heir businesses. The Southern economy was predominately agricultural, which relied heavily on the export of cotton that was produced by their slaves. Basically, slavery was what the Southern economy thrived on and it was the only way of life they’ve ever known. When the idea of abolishing slavery came into light, there was no way the South was going to give up slavery because their economy functioned primarily because of it. Another problem that occurred was the Northern economy was always increasing while the South continued to struggle.
The South sold relatively low cost cotton to the North and hardly made a profit from it. If the South decided to raise its prices, then the North would stop buying their cotton and the Southern economy would be ruined. Politics also contributed to the whole fray and what kind of war doesn’t have the issues of politics involved? The Northern abolitionists were opposed to slavery and they considered either keeping slavery out of the North, or keeping the South from spreading their slave institutions.
What the North thought was a permanent solution to slavery was the Missouri Compromise, which stated that slavery is forbidden north above the 36/30 parallel line. Less then a year later, Missouri was made a slave state and the compromise failed. Next, the South strongly supported the annexation of Texas so they could further extend their slavery institutions and maintain a balance of power between the North and South. After the Mexican-American War, the Wilmot Proviso came out that simply stated that slavery will not be permitted in any territories acquired from Mexico.
Once again, the South was infuriated. Finally, the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act made the South more alert then ever to protect their institutions. From all these compromises and acts, also came stronger fugitive slave laws. To make farther implications, the North told their people to disobey the fugitive slave laws. The South had participated in politics long enough and if the North weren’t going to hold up their end of the bargain, then the only thing for the South to do was to succeed from the Union.
The last straw for the South was the Presidential Election of 1860, when Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected. This was the first time an anti-slavery president was elected to office and the South now realized that their way of life was going to be threatened. The Civil War was indeed an “Irrepressible Conflict” and the issues of states right, economics and politics lead to the South’s succession from the Union. The only solution there was to end the North and South’s problem was war.