Essay about History: American Civil War and Popular Sovereignty

Submitted By khebert
Words: 881
Pages: 4

Kelea Hebert
6:00 pm
Tovanche- HIST 1301

Structural Cause of US Civil War
The primary structural cause of the Civil War in my estimate is Slavery. Many will argue that the root cause was concerning states’ rights or then said popular sovereignty; because, when Douglas and Lincoln were having a debate on whom is going to be president, Douglas mentioned that Lincoln was abolitionist. The south wanted slavery the north did not. “Lincoln managed to skillfully trap Douglas into a rhetorically fatal statement… He demanded to know if in Douglass opinion popular sovereignty would permit settlers to exclude slavery from a new territory before it became a state… if Douglas answered NO then it would be obvious that popular sovereignty that was impotent to stop the west ward expansion of slavery as Douglas still exclaimed it could; if he answered YES he would satisfy his increasingly free soil Illinois base but he would alienate the southern voters he would need when he ran for presidency” (Bordewich) The above shows that slavery was important as this was the opening subject among their first debate.
“Southerners as “essentially a revolutionary party” composed of “a motley throng of Sans culottes … Infidels and freelovers, interspersed by Bloomer women, fugitive slaves and amalgamationists (the blending of two races, “whites” and “blacks”)” Black Republican revolution from engulfing the South. “We are not revolutionists” Insisted James D. B. DeBow and Jefferson Davis during the Civil War … We are not engaged in a Quixotic fight for the right of man; our struggle is for inherited rights… we are upholding the true doctrines of the Federal Constitution. We are conservative.” (Perman) Basically this is saying that they were “republican slaves”. They didn’t want to be considered as revolutionists, they said they were conservative and just went along with the Federal Constitution instead of trying to change it.
The argument of the Structural causes of the Civil war are between, slavery and states’ rights. As the north and south divide between having slavery the north breaks down and gives up on having slaves and wants men “equal” and for all states of the south to have a strong central government. Lincoln thought that slavery was a great evil. “He found himself caught in a contradiction. On the one hand he said “neither he or the republican party sought to interfere with slavery in those states were it then existed on the other, slavery was in his view a dreadful wrong, a denial of the American principle that all men are created equal.” (Davis) The south is more focused on having slaves and “masters” as their government instead of a steady central government.
Some people were very critical on the proclamation on only freeing some slaves. Douglass felt that it was the beginning of the end of slavery, and that it would act as a "moral bombshell" to the Confederacy. “Douglas and others feared that Lincoln would give in to pressure from northern conservatives, and would fail to keep his promise. On January 1, 1863, he issued the final Emancipation Proclamation. With it he officially freed all slaves within the states or parts of states that were in rebellion and not in Union hands. Still this left one million slaves in Union territory still in bondage.” (65PB)
“As the North and the South became more and more…