Civil War Causes Essay
Box A: The Missouri Compromise
The slavery issue divided American citizens, especially the South and North regions politically, socially and economically. The moral issues ranging from the protection of the right of slave owners, abolishment of slavery and the expansion of slavery in new territories and states resulted in conflict (McDevitt 117). Missouri was part of the territory purchased by the United States from France in 1903 (Burgan 6). The desire of the residents of Missouri to form a state and enter the Union sparked an intense debate between the antislavery crusaders and the slavery sympathizers (Burgan 6).
The Missouri contract of 1820 was a warning signal of the civil war that was looming. When Missouri applied for admission in the United States in 1918, people were awakening on the issue of slavery. At that time, the issue of slavery was very sensitive between the southern pro slavery states and Northern antislavery states. Consequently, the requirements set for Missouri’s’ admission suggested that it had to restrict slavery within its boundaries. Moreover, before its admission, the number of slave states and Free states in congress was equal. The admission of Missouri in either category would result in a shift in power. The admission of Maine as a free state, however, resulted in Missouri’s admission as a slave state with all the benefits that the other slave states enjoyed. Later on, the pro slavery Missouri state presented a law, forbidding legislature to free slaves against their masters’ wishes (McDevitt 121).
The southern states felt threatened by the rapid growth of power of the Northern states politically and economically. They feared that the Northern states might stall slavery expansion as they had tried before the Missouri Comprise. The Northern legislators wanted to prevent the spread of slavery to the new states. However, Southern legislators wanted the new states to be allowed to carry out slavery (Burgan 6). This and other differences resulted in the civil War (Gallagher 239).
Box B: Tariff and trade
As mentioned earlier, the south was predominantly agrarian. They produced tobacco, cotton and other products, which the north used as raw materials in their industries. Since the Northern States were industrialized, they manufactured most goods thereby benefiting most. They invested the revenues collected in economic expansion. On the contrary, the Southern states who were the producers paid high manufacturing tariffs and other shipping costs. They felt exploited by the North because 90% of their revenue at that time went into taxes on imports (Glatthaar & Gary 148).
The United States government adopted a policy to develop American industries, so as to reduce its reliance on Britain. Both the Southern and Northern states welcomed this shift in policy (Northrup and Elaine 69). However, the southern states felt cheated when they realized that this economic policy benefited the Northern states unfairly (Northrup and Elaine 69). This is because the Southern states were majorly agrarian while the Northern states were majorly industrial.
The Tariff of Abominations passed in 1828 fueled the dissatisfaction (Northrup and Elaine 69). It protected the industrialization of the North at the expense of the cotton producing South. Differences over the issue led to the resignation of Vice President John C. Coulhon (Northrup and Elaine 69). John C. Coulhon went on to write the South Carolina Exposition, which argued that a state had the right to nullify a federal law (Northrup and Elaine 69). This prompted President Andrew Jackson to ask Congress for the authority to use force to ensure the collection of Tariffs within the State (Northrup and Elaine 69). The agreement negotiated by Henry Clay prevented the use of force, but the issue of states’ rights remained a thorny issue that eventually led to the war (Northrup and Elaine 69)
Civil War Outcomes
Box C: Election of 1864
This is perhaps the most consequential election ever. It took place during the Civil War when Abraham Lincoln won the presidential seat for the second term despite the opposition. He was doubtful of his win prior to the elections and expected the worst. However, he ended up winning by a big margin. Because of his victory, he pursued a policy of unconditional surrender to the war. After the election, the Republicans split up. The Democrats demanded the cessation of the war terming it a failure and nominated the former unions’ commander who had been fired by Lincoln as Confederate General (Glatthaar & Gary 145).
After winning the 1864 election, President Abraham Lincoln pursued a reconstruction agenda (McNeese 95). It involved a program in each state that had fought against the Union forces (McNeese 95). It required them to take an oath of allegiance to the American Constitution and to the preservation of the Union (McNeese 95). Each state would be readmitted into the Union after the national government approved the new state government (McNeese 95). A new state government was formed after 10% of the voters had participated in the 1860 election took the oath (McNeese 95). Slavery was outlawed in all the States (McNeese 95)
The 1864 election was a referendum on President Abraham Lincoln’s handling of the war as well as his emancipation plan (McNeese 95). His reelection was an acknowledgement of his effective efforts to preserve the Union. It also freed him to accomplish his goal of ending slavery in the United States. His reelection was very important in preserving the gains of the war. A victory for the Democrats would have enabled them to allow the Southern states to leave the Union and would have been a victory for the proponents of slavery (McNeese 95).
Box D: Role of women in Civil War
The civil war in the south caused the women to take on the role of supporting their families as their husbands and young men fought in the war. Prior to the war, there was a set of ideals in the society, preventing women from other roles. However, the war resulted in elite women filling posts previously held by men. In the northern states, some women volunteered to fight as others provided the troops with the aid they needed. They organized for food, uniforms and fundraising to help in the war (Gallagher 237).
The women were involved in fundraising activities for the cause they believed in (Frank 237). Elmore Grace Brown participated in fundraising activities for the Confederates (Frank 237). She recorded the experiences of the Civil war in a journal (Frank 237). Women played a vital role in supporting those who enlisted in the war. They formed committees led by the wives of prominent personalities in the community (Frank 237). These committees met in local churches to share their domestic abilities in support of those fighting (Frank 237).
Women bore the brunt of the war because they lost their husbands and sons. Soldiers returned to their wives wounded. The committees mentioned earlier continued in existence after the war to care for the wounded soldiers (Frank 237). Although they were unable to play an active role in the battlefield, the women encouraged the men to enlist and provided emotional support during the war (Frank 241). They sang songs praising the courage of the soldiers (Frank 241). The women sew flags which they gave the soldiers (Frank 241). The records of women such as Susan Eppes and Elmore Grace contributed to the scholars’ understanding of the war (Frank 241).
Burgan, Michael. The Missouri Compromise. Minneapolis, Minn: Compass Point Books, 2006. Frank, Lisa T. Women in the American Civil War. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2008. Print.
Gallagher, Gary E. The American Civil War. Oxford: Osprey Publ, 2003. Print
Glatthaar, Joseph T, and Gary W. Gallagher. The American Civil War. Oxford: Osprey Military,
McDevitt, Theresa. Women and the American Civil War: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport,
Conn. [u.a.: Greenwood Press, 2003. Print.
McNeese, Tim. America’s Civil War. St. Louis, Mo: Milliken Pub. Co, 2003. Print.
Northrup, Cynthia C, and Elaine C. P. Turney. Encyclopedia of Tariffs and Trade in Us History:
Vol. 1. Westport, Conn. [u.a.: Greenwood Press, 2003. Print.