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

    the cause for which they were fighting to preserve so many Southerners were committed to the war. Opposition on both sides, especially the South hindered the war effort to a certain extent. Some 90,000 Southerners from areas where slavery was not prevalent fought for the union army and this was

  2. "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.

  1. 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.

  2. The American Civil War (1861-1865)

    He emphasised the issue of slavery, which was of 'overwhelming importance', and was 'the all absorbing topic'. He also pointed out the 'old' tariff problem ', which 'will remain one of the chief affairs'. This shows that the issue about tariffs was a long, well-known national issue.

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

    The United States persevered in its efforts to broker an Israeli-Lebanese agreement, and Israel announced its willingness to negotiate. Although Israel had envisaged a treaty like the Camp David Agreements with Egypt, entailing full bilateral diplomatic recognition, it settled for mere "normalization."

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

    threatened, almost automatically, to descend Europe into two competing blocs of power. These alliances increased the probability of a conflict widening without providing a significant deterrent. Bull does not account for the wider perspective because he feels war does not resolve the causes of conflict due to the lack of

  1. 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.

  2. The Causes of The American Civil War

    1667 Virginia passes a law revoking the prior English law that allowed for slaves that converted to Christianity to become free. February 1688 The first organised protest against slavery in the new world was drafted by a group of Quakers in Germantown, PA.

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