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Causes of the american civil war

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Civil War Assessment

During the 1800s, the American population increased and the settlers were no longer satisfied by the land they had. Because of the Manifest Destiny state of mind and the fertile land in the west, the westward expansion began. The Westward expansion was the exploration of the territory in the west of the Mississippi River, the Purchase of Louisiana, Annexation of Texas, exploitation of California, and the Purchase of lands from Mexico. Although the activity led the United State into an entire new stage and position, it also led to more conflicts within the nation and became one of the main causes of the American Civil War.

Because of the Annexation of Texas, the settlement in Oregon, and the immigrants moving West, those developing regions gradually formed into several new states; at this point, the conflicts of rather or not to make the region a free state appeared. In Congress, they were trying to find the balance between slave and Free states. Westward expansion caused agitated debates on permitting western territories to become states because of their view of slavery. The country was soon divided into two, the pro-slave Confederacy and the abolitionists Union.

By 1818, a great amount of settlers from the southern moved into the Missouri; when Missouri was becoming a new state, the same problem emerged: shall it be a free state or a slave state? Meanwhile, Maine was also made a new state. The people in Congress wanted to maintain the balance between free and slave states; after many conflicts at House, Northerner and Southerner made a compromise to stipulated slavery southern of the 36° 30′ parallel. After all, Missouri was made a slave state, and Maine was made a free state. The division within Congress was fully revealed during the entire process. Although the compromise was made, the southerners were really upset by the restriction of slavery.

When the Mexican-American war ended in 1848, the United States acquired a vast tract of land near Mexican territory for $ 15 million US dollars. “Should those states be free states or slave states?” The same problem was again occurred within the congress. By the early 1850s, the Gold rush in California brought a great amount of new immigrations. The growth of population there made California a new state. The permitting of California soon raised another tension within the Congress. In 1849, the number of free states and slave states were equal- fifteen and fifteen; this maintained the balance and peace between the pro-slave and the abolitionists. However, now California was becoming another new state- the thirty-one state, which would unbalance the power and authority of the North and the South.

Thirty years after the Missouri Compromise, once again, the problems of slavery surfaced because of the new lands gained after the Mexican-American War and the development of California. In order to solve the problems, Henry Clay established his solution- the Compromise of 1850. According to the compromise, the territories of New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah were given the power of making their own decision on the rights of slavery by their own residents when they applied for statehood, this new act was known as the Popular Sovereignty. California would be a free state, but to pacify the pro-slavers from adding of another free state, the Fugitive Slave Act, declared that all runaway slaves could be brought back to their masters, was passed. The Compromise of 1850 did kept the nation united but it was only a temporary resolution. In the following years, the citizens from the both sides of the nation became even more divided over the issue of slavery.

Westward expansions started by the dreams of the settlers, but ended with numerous of heated conflicts upon not only the Congress but the entire country. The Missouri Compromise and The Compromise of 1850 were made as the method to hold back the gunfire, but they were not permanent. A Civil war which lasted four years long eventually began in 1861, due to many causes, and the westward expansion can’t be denied as one of them.



Pike, Zebulon. “spartacus Schoolnet.” An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi (1810) . 1810. Spartacus Schoolnet, Web. 19 Feb 2010. <>.

This website provides the basic personal information of Zebulon Pike and a document of the expeditions which was written by Zebulon Pike. In the document, Pike describes the surrounding with details when he’s closed to the Mexican Mountain. Because of his journal, later on other settlers had more understanding about the west.


Billington, Ray Allen. The Far Western Frontier. 1. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1962. Print.

This book provides the background and history about western Frontier: which include the Santa Fe Trail, the mountain men, the overland trails, the revolution of Texas, the Mexican war, and California gold rush. There are also many details for each topic, with maps and photographs.

Brinkey, Alan. The unfinished Nation. 4th. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004. 395-332. Print.

The two chapters in the book provide the events leading up to the Civil War which includes the Westward Expansion, the crisis, and the conflicts within the nation. The description and details are clearly told with organizations. The events are listed by the time which makes it a lot easier to understand the causes of the Civil War.


U-S-History, . “Travel and History.” Annexation of Texas. Son of the South, Web. 19 Feb 2010. <>.

This website provides information of cause and process of the Annexation of Texas. The increasing population leaded to the impendence of Texas and later on became Annexation. There’re not many details in each single part of the process, but detailed enough to let viewer understand and completely get the main idea of the whole event., . “” The Mexican-American War. 2010., Web. 19 Feb 2010. <>.

This website includes the causes, campaigns, battles, and the leaders during the Mexican war. It also has a overview of the entire event that simply brings out The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which Mexico sold a vast of land to the United States.

“The Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act.” Africans in America. WGBH Educational Foundation, 1999. Web. 8 Apr 2010. <>.

This website provides the details and processes of The Compromise of 1850. The descriptions are in fully order and the times of events are mentioned. It lists out the issues which occurred the compromise and the result of the it clearly. It also includes the influences that The Compromise of 1850 had brought to the entire nation.

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