The American Civil War Essay

Submitted By dochouse
Words: 1005
Pages: 5

The American Civil War was a major turning point in the history of the United States. The war between the North and South forged the blueprint for what would become the society we live in today. Arguably, slavery may be the biggest cause for civil war between the North and Southern states. But, there were other fairy large contributing factors to the Civil War.

The Missouri Compromise although its subject was slavery forged a larger divide within the states and sparked the beginnings of larger rumbles. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, which lead to he rise of new political parties and the demise of the Whig Party. The political ideal of nullification that allowed for a state to void a law passed by Congress. Secession was the threat some states gave to leave the Union. John Brown’s vigilante style revenge invoked on proslavery settlers angered and fueled many to rise up. Also, Abraham Lincoln’s election to the Presidency brought the abolitionist movement to the forefront of the country and made strides toward emancipation. When the Missouri Compromise was first discussed and passed in 1820, it ignited fear in the South. They worried that this was just a starting point for the eventual “total emancipation of the blacks”. Congressman Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina advised slaves owners “radical members of the bible and peace societies hoped to use the national government to raise the question of emancipation. In an effort to thwart the efforts of making Missouri a free state, the North used its power in the Senate to withhold the ability for Maine to become a state (it wanted separation from Massachusetts). As well, the South declared that Congress could not impose laws on its statehood that they had not imposed on other states, claimed state sovereignty, and that Congress had no rights (per property right laws) to infringe on slaveholders.

The North, realizing that the South would not falter on their wants compromised by forging the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In it, they allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state and in return Maine entered as a free state. But, this compromise concerned those on both the North and the South. The Richmond Enquirer warned, “If we yield now, beware…What is a territorial restriction to-day becomes a state restriction tomorrow.” The division of North and South over slavery and governmental rights had been ignited. The Kansas-Nebraska act was passed in 1854 in order to answer the demand for a transcontinental railroad linking Chicago to California. Originally, the bill created a new free territory of Nebraska and did nothing to expand slavery. But after the South showed enormous opposition, the bill was changed. Under the new bill the Missouri compromise was repealed (opening the Louisiana Purchase territory to slavery) and created the territories of Kansas & Nebraska.

Kansas was brought into the Union as a free state. The reason given for this was that it wasn’t “suited to plantation agriculture. The Kansas-Nebraska act passed, but at great cost to the Whig Party. Twenty-two members of the party had crossed party lines to vote for the bill and this cost them their political careers. This also led to the dissolution of the Whig Party. Those still loyal to the Whig Party joined the forces of the Republicans. This helped with the creation of the new political parties and increased division amongst them.

The idea of nullification helped to feed the idea of opposition between the North and South. Nullification allowed for a state to void a law passed by Congress that states were to follow. South Carolina’s attempt at nullification in 1828, was a good example of this growing opposition.

South Carolina contested ( The South Carolina Exposition and Protest) that ”because each geographic region had distinct interests, protective tariffs and other national legislation that operated unequally to the various states lacked fairness and legitimacy –