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The Civil War was not inevitable; it was the result of extremism and failures of leadership on both sides Discuss.

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Introduction

Alice Wang IB HOA 1 DBQ Civil War :) Inevitability of Civil War Validity "The Civil War was not inevitable; it was the result of extremism and failures of leadership on both sides" The Civil War was mainly based on the different ideological beliefs of slavery between the North and the South. Almost all sectional conflicts such as the Nullification Crisis and Kansas-Nebraska Act revolved around slavery issues, which can been traced back to the earliest years of American colonization. With a Southern agrarian economy in contrast to a Northern industrial economy, the South felt threatened and felt that slavery was the only stable force that kept its economy grounded. Furthermore, prominent Southern and Northern politicians convinced the mainstream to follow their extremist and biased beliefs, further dividing the two regions. With slavery underlying the South's desire to seek independence, state rights, and ultimately the continuation of southern culture, succession was unavoidable. The Civil War was inevitable because of the result of extremism and failures of leadership on both sides. The presence of slavery had slowly built up sectionalist tensions between the North and South during the 19th century. The history and economy of the North were very different from those of the South. While the North developed booming factories, the South built large cotton plantations. By the early 1800s, Northern factories were producing many of those same goods as the South. ...read more.

Middle

Tensions arose when Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois repealed the line imposed by the Missouri Compromise by passing the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Senator Douglas (Document D) felt that Kansas and Nebraska should have a right to be subjected to popular sovereignty like the other western territories. The Kansas-Nebraska Act resulted in the establishment of two opposing legislatures within the Kansas territory, further heightening the tensions between the North and South. Violence soon erupted, with the anti-slavery forces led by John Brown (Document H) against the pro-slavery settlers. Because President Franklin Pierce was more biased toward the pro-slavery legislature, he sent in Federal troops to stop the violence and disperse the anti-slavery legislature. Stephen Douglas's poor decision making resulted in increased sectionalist beliefs between the North and the South. Although the majority of the American people including many moderate politicians like Abraham Lincoln (Document F) wanted to avoid the Civil War and were content to allow slavery to die a slow, inevitable death, the most influential political leaders of the 19th century were not. The South had an economic interest in the spread of slavery to the new territories so that new slave states could be created and the South's political influence would remain strong. The North had an interest in limiting the spread of slavery into the new territories for both purposes of controlling Southern political power. Also, while Southern politicians believed that they were guaranteed the "right" to own slaves, Northern abolitionists believed that slavery offended their moral and ethical principles. ...read more.

Conclusion

They also stated that the federal government was not permitted to interfere with slavery in those states where it already existed. They felt that a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution in conjunction with nullification, or secession would protect their way of life. Therefore, South Carolina decided to write A Declaration of the Causes (Document I). Because of the threat that the North imposed to the South, the South felt that secession was inevitable to maintain their agrarian economy secure. The Civil War was triggered by the extremism of both pro-slavery and anti-slavery parties and the sectionalist beliefs that influential politicians engraved on the minds of the majority. The existence of slavery was the key component that initiated tensions between the North and South; if there were no disagreements over slavery, the Civil War could have been avoidable. With the contrast of an industrial and agricultural economy, the South felt threatened by the balance of power between the two regions. Because the South felt that slavery was crucial to their economic stability, succession felt inevitable to them. Moreover, Southern politicians and Northern abolitionists further aggravated the division of the two regions by exposing sectionalist beliefs to the mainstream that would otherwise have been ignored. Because slavery underlined the South's desire to seek independence, state rights, and ultimately the continuation of southern culture, succession was inevitable. Lincoln once said that "A house divided against itself cannot stand....this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free (Document F)." Lincoln knew that because slavery formed two opposing divisions and that slavery could never be abolished, the Civil War was inevitable. ...read more.

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