While many may argue that the division between the states views on slavery was the contributing factor leading to the Civil War, economic sustainability was the contributing factor which lead to a civil war and concerns such as a differential beliefs and values, economics, and political interests. Although slavery was a core issue, it was a combination of these things that lead to the civil war.
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Beliefs and Values
First, economic sustainability was the contributing factor that lead to civil war which was also impacted by a difference in views, values and beliefs. Southern states shared a common concern that the Federal Government was depriving them of their rights (Nelson, 2019). They strongly supported states’ rights. Also, southerners viewed slavery and its extension, as a key right of theirs, unavoidable and conceded by the Constitution (Vanderbilt Historical Review, 2017). Meanwhile, many northerners were against slavery, terrifying southerners that their ways would be terminated (Nelson, 2019). Slavery was viewed as an ethical insidiousness by a huge number of northern abolitionists who distributed papers and walked in the roads of residential areas and substantial urban areas conveying their bright flags (Teachinghistory.org, n.d.). The newly formed northern republican party also threatened the southerner’s interests in slavery. Republicans all concurred that slavery disrupted governmental issues, complicated profound quality and disordered the economy (Rugemer, 2009). A few Republicans thought it confused every one of the three, yet you didn’t have to trust each to be a Republican (Rugemer, 2009).
Additionally, it all boiled down to economics which played an important role and arguably influenced the views on the morality of slavery. The industrial revolution developed the northern states into a machine age economy that depended on wage workers, not slaves (Teachinghistory.org, n.d.). The economics of the northern states were mostly industrial (Nelson, 2019). In the meantime, the Southern states depended on slaves for their cultivating economy and cotton generation as well as profited from cotton and slaves (Teachinghistory.org, n.d.). However, in contrast to the northern states the economy for the southern states was primarily based on farming and as such, they depended on slave labor (Nelson, 2019). According to Spicer, the key distinction, obviously, lay in the reality’ that slaves framed the foundation of the work drive in the South (2004). It was this work drive that numerous northerners viewed as an uncalled rivalry that paid little mind to the ethical issue (Spicer, 2004).
Finally, protecting political interests to ensure economical sustainability was the most important reason leading to the civil war. A political issue that was a primary concern was with the newly acquired territories and whether or not slavery would be expanded to the new territories, or if they would be free states. Concerns were raised over the equalization of political power in the United States, as the slaveholding South looked to expand the power it used on the national stage, through which it could ensure its own advantages, through cherishing slavery in government law as a basic right of theirs (Vanderbilt Historical Review, 2017). Southern states believed the expansion of slavery to new terrains would allow them to grow and increase their prosperity (Vanderbilt Historical Review, 2017). In the meantime, northern whites expected that the extension of slavery, and the comparing development of the Southern political alliance, would fix their own political power, and that the United States would in the long run turn out to be completely overwhelmed by first class Southern slaveholders securing their own advantages (Vanderbilt Historical Review, 2017).
Then south was also confronted with another threat from the north and that was the newly formed republican party. The republican party was joined by the conviction that slavery was a corruption of physical work and a descending power on wages and work conditions for white laborers, and along these lines should be ended (OpenStax, 2018). Arguably with the presidential election of Abraham Lincoln, a republican, southerners would have been concerned regarding their interest in the expansion of slavery. Abraham Lincoln previously stated that he did not target cultivating and cotton in his contentions against slavery, he disclosed to one group of onlookers in Chicago in 1859 that, “I think slavery is wrong, morally and politically,” (Teachinghistory.org, n.d.). And, obviously, in Lincolns mythical “House Divided” discourse he anticipated that the United States would be either all slave or all free (Teachinghistory.org, n.d.). This would have definitely contributed to the concerns of the southern states. The Southern states believed that they would turn into a lasting minority gathering of states on the off chance that they stayed in the Union and expected that it wouldn’t have been long until they would be outvoted by a Northern/Republican-overwhelmed Congress all the time (Spicer, 2004). It was for these political reasons that cessation seemed to be the best option to protect political interests and ensure a prosperous economy.
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Indeed, while many may argue that the division between the states views on slavery was the contributing factor leading to the Civil War, economic sustainability was the contributing factor. The views of the north and south could be compared to night and day, especially when talking about the expansion of slavery. The economic factors also greatly differed. The south dependend on slave labor and welcomed expansion for its agricultural economy to thrive. The industrial norths’ economy was against the expansion of slavery for different reasons, but agreed the expansion of slavery was a threat to their wages and working conditions. The northern states’ compared to the southern, shared different views and values, but both recognized how instrumental it was to have a government favorable with their independent interests for economic sustainability. The election of Republican President Abraham Lincoln, threatened the likelihood that the future interests of the south would prosper. For these reasons and others, southern states’ viewed cessation as their answer to their political economic sustainability. These contributing factors lead to the Civil War.
- Nelson, K. (2019). Ducksters. Retrieved from Causes of the Civil War: https://www.ducksters.com/history/civil_war/causes_of_the_civil_war.php
- OpenStax. (2018). U.S. HIstory. OpenStax OpenStax College History.
- Rugemer, E. B. (2009). “EXPLAINING THE CAUSES OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, 1787-1861. ” Reviews in American History, vol. 37, no. 1, 37(1), 56-68. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docview/218111882?accountid=8289
- Spicer, J. (.–5. (2004). “The Cause” of the American Civil War . History Review, (49), 45-50.
- Teachinghistory.org. (n.d.). Teachinghistory. Retrieved from National History Education Clearing House: https://teachinghistory.org/history-content/beyond-the-textbook/23912
- Vanderbilt Historical Review. (2017, April 20). The Expansion of Slavery in the United States. Retrieved from vanderbilthistoricalreview.com: http://vanderbilthistoricalreview.com/expansion-of-slavery/HistRevAdmin
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