• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Causes of the American Civil War.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Causes of the American Civil War Some say simplistically that the Civil War was fought over slavery. Unfortunately, there is no "simple" reason. The causes of the war were a complex series of events, including slavery, that began long before the first shot was fired. Some of the reasons that will be detailed in the paper include.. Constitutional issues, tariffs and nullifications, economic changes, the breakdown of the political system, and finally slavery. People argued about the meaning of the Constitution since the beginning. From a legal standpoint, the document is a contract between the people of the United States and the federal government, detailing the powers and responsibilities of each. In 1828 Vice-president John C. Calhoun said that if a state felt a federal law extended beyond the Constitutional rights of the government that state had the right nullify the law. This concept dated back to the Articles of Confederation. President Andrew Jackson felt the federal government was the highest authority and that the states had to abide by its law. ...read more.

Middle

The American federal government was ineffective with dealing with the issue of slavery. Every time the issue would arise in congress there would be heated debates, but nothing would come of them. It was not for lack of trying, both northern and southern politicians gave long heartfelt speeches in congress about the fairness or cruelness of slavery. As can be seen in the Lincoln - Douglas debates or the Dread Scott case. The congress never passed a firm slavery law. This could be seen with the fugitive slave act that required all northerners to help in the arrest and capture of escaped slaves, but the majority of northerners would not assist in the capture of fugitive slaves, and most would freely assist escaped Africans. There would be little to no enforcement of this law in the north, this just shows how this legislation had no power and was completely ineffective. The Missouri Compromise is another indication the federal government was not truly prepared to deal with this issue. Rather than make a ruling at that time whether slaver was right or wrong, and whether it was something that should be allowed in the ...read more.

Conclusion

Also the fact that Lincoln had not won a majority of the popular vote, and had not even been put on the ballot in the south, but rather won through the electoral college made the south feel as if it was being cheated out of this election. After Lincoln's election many southern politicians followed through on their threats of secession. This was the spark that started off the civil war. Everything else before had just been dead kindling that was building up to fuel the fire that we know as the civil war. In conclusion the civil war was not merely over the issue of slavery, there was a much greater cause behind it. It was the clash of cultures that developed between the north and south. This could be clearly seen by the industrialization of the north and the old traditional agriculture of the south. There were two drastically different areas trying to fight for power in a national government that was not willing to take a strong stand on the issue of slavery. Over all the freeing of the slaves was merely a by-product of the civil war, the true causes for the war were much different. Ben Ruddock 12A ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. "The main cause of the American civil war was undeniably slavery". Assess the ...

    Westward Expansion had been prevalent since 1778. It started with the Louisiana Purchase. This was when America had just fought and won its independence and was trying to buy back the land countries had taken. The Louisiana territory covered a lot of what we now know as states.

  2. Why did the South lose the American Civil War?

    Religion, whilst helping to maintain Southern will, but also worked to raise doubts about the war and reasons for fighting it. Whilst the lack of will in the South did not help to raise support for the war and therefore the belief that they were going to win, slavery was

  1. This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our ...

    abiding strength that barriers of race, class, and gender retained in blocking people's quest for a decent life. Glossary: Cold War - is the term used to describe the intense rivalry that developed after World War II between groups of Communist and non-Communist nations/ On one side were the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)

  2. American Civil War (1861-1865).

    At the onset of the Civil War, he resigned his commission in the US Army and took command of the Army of Northern Virginia. His string of victories throughout that war earned him praise on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line and he has since earned a well-earned reputation for excellence in the art of war.

  1. The American Civil War (1861-1865)

    All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought Slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong...Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves.

  2. The Prelude to the 1975 War and the Cairo Agreement.

    At the end of the war an official Lebanese government report was released which breaks down the casualty figures from 1975 to 1990, this put the total number of dead in Sabra and Shatila massacre at 857 and the number of wounded at 1,124.

  1. 'War seldom resolves the causes of conflict' Analyze this claim with reference to a ...

    Hedley Bull (3) states that war is due in part to the lack of robust security measures in the 'Anarchical Society'. This is evident in the fact that World War One was created by a lack of security which in turn triggered an increase in a series of alliances, which

  2. Was the civil warinevitable?

    James M. McPherson1 (1988) terms the South's move to leave the union as a "counterrevolution" which they under took in order to preserve their economic system, which they feared would be destroyed by a "revolution" signalled by the election of Lincoln.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work