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Was slavery the primary cause of the Civil War? Was the Civil War inevitable? Does Abraham Lincoln deserve to be called the “Great Emancipator”? Was the Civil War worth its cost?
The Inevitable War
The Civil War is, by far, one of the most tragic periods in America’s history. The major cause of the Civil War is commonly known to be slavery. In all honesty, it could almost be considered as superficial to consider the main and major cause of the Civil War as slavery. This is because the continuous divide between the North and the South is the true leading cause of the war. Along with this, there were also many other major problems that contributed to the initiation of the Civil War. These issues were: the need of economic modernization that first commenced in the North, which was eventually diminished by cause of the technological and economic underdevelopment of the South (which was where the slave labor remained the foundation of the South’s economy). Eventually with time, the North began to dominate economical and technological development over the South, giving America great opportunities to advance economically through industrialization; for the South this was nearly impossible.
The reason for slavery being traditionally viewed as the main cause of the Civil War was because, slavery provoked the Southern States to declare for independence, which ultimately decided to desert the Union. The abolition of slavery was the straw that broke the camel’s back. While the Southern states made their declaration to abandon the Union, the President decided to utilize all available sources, which included having the military keep the nation unified as one. However, slavery was better an alleged reason rather than its primary cause.
Simultaneously, the soul sense of the Civil War was much more intricate than the sheer abolition of slavery. The cause of the Civil War was the arising, broadening hole taking place in the economic development of the North, and the underdevelopment of the South. Economic modernization was crucial for the states, while Southern folks persisted on having conservative economic views and policies based on slavery, ultimately becoming the stress for the nation’s economy, as a whole; which decreased its development and also interfered with the fast modernization. Furthermore, the North’s fast economic development projected benefits of the economic system were refined in the North (Richardson 120). As a result of the Southern states’ underdevelopment, this became one of the root causes of the Civil War, also being one of the principal reasons for their loss in the war.
The Civil War was inevitable because quarrels between the North and South developed and became stronger, all while neither parties being willing to admit defeat. While slavery was significantly a fundamental for Southern economy, Northern economy desired fast modernization and industrialization which was nearly impossible without the contribution of the South.
Abraham Lincoln was given the title of the “Great Emancipator” due to the fact that he was audacious enough to revoke slavery, regardless of the threats that were thrown. However, Abraham Lincoln had a triumphal vision of the future, all while being fully aware of the significance of the modernization. He did attempt to initiate a nation of modernization, undeterred by the threats of the Civil War. He did this all for the reason of: modernization was important to revolutionize, not just the economy or the political system of the states but instead to change the way Americans think.
The Civil War was extremely fatiguing to the nation, though it was still worth its damage and cost because of the turning point that came after the war, which ultimately remodeled the nation. Consequences of the Civil War and the impact on the society can scarcely be belittled (Epperson 74). The Civil War contributed to the complete abolition of slavery and also the Constitutional assurance of the equality of all Americans, not mattering of their racial background, gender, etc. The abolition of slavery took a great change in different aspects: political, cultural and economic landscape of the US.
The complete annihilation of slavery altered the South’s economy and constituted new conditions for the modernization of the US economy. Industrialization could now progress faster to the South by reason of the abolition of slavery providing quick development of new industries in the South, and the adoption of hired/payed labor rather than slave labor. This stimulated the broader range of use of machinery (Watson 106). The abolition of slavery also supported the industrialization of the South due to some former slave owners determining to invest into a new business, which was to keep the convenient profitability.
Political changes were also very compelling. This is because the abolition of slavery lead up to the amendment that created racial equality. Hence, the violation of racial equality could potentially have legal consequences. Though racial inequality was more considered a theoretical concept after the war, this concept arranged the basis to the future society. Racial equality became a reality rather than a dream (Norton 136).
One of the major immediate effects of the Civil War was the attempt for the North and South to reconcile, which had long lasting effects. In addition, the Civil War awakened the dispute of former slaves integrating into the mainstream society ( before the war they were treated as commodities). Withal, the abolition of slavery established rules for connecting gaps between African Americans and white Americans.
The outbreak of the Civil War unlocked the road for the better and faster economic development of the states because of the rebuilding of the economy after the Civil War. Thus, thorough political, cultural and economic changes brought upon some challenges after the Civil War. The Civil War and the abolition of slavery have been known to become the turning point in the development of the United States, which ultimately created new and altered conditions for the rise of a new unified nation. A new nation where Americans can take diversity for granted. A new nation where there is no discrimination nor racial inequality.
- Epperson, J. Causes of the Civil War. New York: Routledge, 2001.
- Norton. A People and a Nation. New York: Touchstone, 2009.
- Richardson, Heather Cox. West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War. New York: Random House, 2007.
- Watson, D. The US in the 19th century. New York: New Publishers, 2009.
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