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

Why did Lincoln's election in 1860 lead to Civil War in 1861?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did Lincoln's election in 1860 lead to Civil War in 1861? B.Pringle By 1860 sectional tensions within the Union had reached their peak. Buchanan's presidency saw a major increase in sectional animosity. This was due to events such as the Dred Scott ruling, John Browns raid and the support of the Lecompton Constitution by Buchanan. The raid of John Brown was the exemplification of the aggression in politics of that time. It seemed that by the time of Lincoln's election, peaceful debate was as rare as it was fruitless. Lincoln's election was achieved by purely sectional voting. Lincoln did not win a single southern state. When this is acknowledged, it is not at all surprising that the South immediately considered secession after the newly elected President didn't carry a single state in the more populous half of the country. In southern pro-slavers minds, it was like they were going to have laws against their livelihood forced on them by a foreign power who they didn't vote for but was still supposedly democratically legitimate. The South felt they had no representation in government; although this was not true, the South were represented a lot less then they had ever previously been. This considered, it was not difficult for fire-eaters to stir up anti-Union opinions. ...read more.

Middle

After his election, Lincoln became very politically quiet and refused to make further comment. He did not make any public speeches or appearances in the South (nor did he in his election campaign) in order to try and reassure the Southerners that he wasn't going to oppress them. Lincoln, after his election, simply told the people to read his speeches and they would answer any questions they might have. The question however of 'how did secession lead to civil war' is at the very heart of this title and the supposed inevitability of Civil War after secession is also disputed. After the original 7 states seceded it became obvious to these Confederate members that just 7 states could not generate an economy as prosperous as that of the Union. This was because of the fact that the Confederacy had only 5% of the Union's industrial capacity. The entirety of this economic problem was that unless the upper 8 states joined the Confederacy, or at least Virginia, there was no way the Confederacy would be nearly as economically powerful as the Union. As a result of this, the chances were that the remaining southern states in the Union would not want to join the Confederacy and the people of the Confederacy would realise their economic decline and begin to put pressure on the Confederacy to rejoin the Union. ...read more.

Conclusion

No one was killed but Lincoln's delegate Anderson surrendered and marched his troops back to Washington. The main problem facing the two sides was that neither could back down once the problem had been escalated. Lincoln could not, as a new President, withdraw from a Federal owned fort; it would be seen as immense weakness in the face of opposition. Similarly, Davis could not allow a Federal owned fort to sit in the middle of a Confederate harbour. Davis could not claim complete sovereign power whilst the Confederacy were still effectively occupied by Union forces. Could the military confrontation at Sumter been avoided? Possibly. But it would have meant one of the two sides stepping down; and after the escalation of sectional confrontation over the previous 40 years, neither side would have been prepared to do this. The consequence of the fighting at Sumter was that Lincoln issued a call to arms, as did Davis. Virginia, vitally for the south, sided with their 'southern brothers' and seceded from the Union, as did Arkansas and North Carolina. Although support for the Confederacy was not overwhelming in these new members of the Confederacy, it was the popular decision. Once all the states had chosen their side, a call to arms had been issued and a Union blockade enforced on the Confederacy, civil war had effectively broken out. ...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 History of the USA, 1840-1968 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 History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. Why had Slavery become so Important to the Southern way of life, by 1860?

    Contemporary writers such as Olmsted and Helper also argued that slavery was not profitable. In Helper's influential book The Impending Crisis of the South he said that slavery, 'has retarded the progress and prosperity of our portion of the Union'.

  2. Lincoln vs. Davis in the Civil War

    Davis usually superseded the wishes of political leaders that were for the good of the Confederacy. One major weakness of Davis was the "unity" or rather disunity of the Whigs and Democratic parties, which wanted to suspend party rivalries for the rest of the war.

  1. Why were the Liberals defeated in the general election of 1874?

    In the years leading to the elections of 1868, public opinion in Britain was strongly divided between the Leftist Liberals and the Conservatives. The Civil War in America had provided a strong impetus for the polarisation of Britain's leading political parties.

  2. To what extent did the American Civil War succeed in removing the two main ...

    For example, Brogan says: "...the mind of the section... is continuous with the past" Cash and his book are themselves strong evidence of the continuation of these ideas, even one hundred and forty years later. Other historians are in accordance with this view: "Southern bitterness ran deep...

  1. Political Causes of the Civil War

    to cause South Carolina to succeed from the Union bringing ten Southern states along to form the Confederate States of America. Lincoln took the position that States did not have the right to succeed from the Union. Hence, the primary cause for the collapse of the Union and the outbreak

  2. Lincoln's Election. Sources A, C and E support the assertion which says Lincolns election ...

    Additionally, similar to sources A and B, there was no obvious remark on secession. Source E also supports the assertion when it says that there were a few hotheads in the South but Lincoln assumed the majority would bring them down.

  1. Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

    How is that?" After reading several quotes about Lincoln, it became apparent. Lincoln was a man of God, he trusted in God and relied on Him in all he did. According to Isaac Arnold in Lincoln and Douglas as Lawyers, , "Lincoln was more familiar with the Bible than with

  2. Civil Rights Revision Cards 1945-68

    Instilled positive sense of racial identity among northern urban blacks ? need for racial pride & black control of black communities and local institutions (these ideas became increasingly popular after his death) 3. Skilled public speaker ? able to strike a chord with his audiences.

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