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ImpendingCrisis and Civil War
Inthe late 1850s, the United States was faced with one of its greatestcrisis as the issue of slavery tore the nation asunder. The impendingcrisis explores the different ways in which slavery fueled theconflict between the two regions. However, different people viewedthe scenario differently with some taking into the account that theclash was due to difference in cultural aspects of the two regions,whose disparities transcended the difference over slavery. On theother hand, another perspective was that, the conflict was as aresult of class between the economic interests of the two sides, i.e.the agricultural south, and the emerging industrialist north. This ispaper focuses on the issue of civil war, focusing on the roles playedby the northern and southern regions as well as the differencesbetween the two regions. In addition, the paper encompasses thereasons that led to the civil war as well as the outcome of the war.
TheAmerican Civil War was a major historical event in the U.S, which hadits climax running between 1861 and 1865 and involved the conflictbetween the Northern States with the Southern Confederate States onthe grounds of slavery and human rights. The Southern ConfederateStates sought to separate themselves from the rest of the UnitedStates and become an independent nation, but the Northern victoryensured that the US remained as one nation (Martin et al p100).Differing opinions existed between the North and the South one ofthem being over the issue and views on slavery. The Northern regionwas the one against the practice of slavery as it could be able toattract many immigrants while compared to the South, which wasagricultural dependent and needed the labor provided by the slaveryto keep their economy running, hence their position in supportingslavery. The North also had a high population and practiced smallscale farming, thus reducing the need for slaves. The South neededmore slaves for the ever expanding cotton farming coupled with highslave-mortality and low birth rate (Martin et al p134). Theseapparent differences presented different expectations for theNorthern and the Southern regions in the 1860 presidential election.
TheNorth expected the national government to end slavery in allterritories after the presidential election. This was based on theirbeliefs that all men are born equal and have a right to liberty(Martin et al p134). The Northern side also expected to keep the U.Sas one state governed by one body. The Southern side on the otherhand, expected slavery to continue in order to provide labor to thelarge scale cotton plantations. Moreover, the Southerners sought toseparate themselves from the North to become an independent state.The hard-nosed differences on slavery led to the Southern cessationfrom the union (Martin et al p156). Most Northern States hadprohibited slavery while the South still practiced it. Thecontroversy between the North and the South on the authority of thenational government to abolish the slave trade in all territories,including the South led to the cessation of seven territories in theSouth that practiced slavery.
PresidentAbraham Lincoln after winning the 1860 election pledged to eliminateslavery from all the states. As a result, the Southerners deemed thisas a setback to their economy as they believed that the Lincolngovernment would outlaw slavery. This led to the succession of sevenslave states from the South to form a new nation referred to as theConfederate States of America. Four more slave states joined theConfederate state at the beginning of the war to make a total of 11states. Among the reasons cited by the Confederate states of Americafor succession included: the failure of the Northern state to returnfugitive slaves to the South, therefore, excluding them from theirobligations and the allowing of abolitionists in the Northern stateswho incited Southern slaves to rebel against their masters.
Theseceding process was led by the planter class which was made up oflarge plantation owners with more than 20 slaves (Martin et al p156).They sought to preserve slavery in order to promote profits in theplantations. However, the Lincoln led government together with theNortherners did not accept the succession as they feared it wouldfragment the U.S in many failing countries and undermine democracy.The North, therefore, went to war with an aim to reclaim the Southernstates. The military campaign started by the federal government aimedat crushing the rebellion which fought to preserve slavery since itformed the cornerstone of the Confederacy economy (Martin et alp178). The Confederate States also attacked many federal ports in theterritory that they claimed to control, forcing the federalgovernment to prepare for war after their peace talks failed.
Thewar shaped many things. First four other slave states joined theConfederate states to make a total of 11 fighting against the federalarmies (Martin et al p193). The cotton dependent countries such asBritain failed to support the southern region as expected when theywere going to war. Some of them did not approve the seceding as well,therefore, did not provide any armies to the South making themweaker. The Northern and the Southern enjoyed different merits fromthe conflict. The North benefited from its large population of22million compared to 9million of the South. Most of the immigrantshad settled in the North rather than the South, and this gave them anupper hand over their southern counterparts. The civil economy of theNorth promoted the growth of industries which provided jobs. Thisgave the North an increase in the number of people, i.e. 4 timespopulation advantage over the South (Martin et al p140). The Northcould also produce enough food for the troops. The industrializedeconomy of the North also provided more capital to fund the war. Thefunds were used to procure war equipment and arms. The industries ofthe North also had factories which produced large amounts of firearmswhich were used in the war. Another advantage that the North enjoyedwas the developed infrastructure through railroads which ensuredquick transport of firearms and food to the battlefield for theNorthern troops.
TheSouth, on the other hand, had excellent war generals who were bettertrained than those of the North. This ensured proper leadership ofthe Southern troops during the war in contrast to that of the Northwhere leadership wrangles led to some failures. The South was alsofighting for a cause they believed was vital to their economy. TheConfederate States, moreover, had the advantage of fighting adefensive war where they rarely attacked in the hope that when theNorth attacks, they were in their place of advantage hoping that awin for them would de-motivate the North to continue the war. Thefighting of a defensive war also prevented them from traveling longdistances (Martin et al p231).
TheNorth finally won the civil war leading to the abolition of slavery.There are various reasons used to explain this victory. Theirdistinct advantages of having a high number of soldiers compared tothe South ensured the continuous replacement of casualties. Theprocessing power of the North was estimated to be 7 times that of theSouth thus making more firearms and their control of the navy ensuredthat the South had no ships. The North did not give up on the war asper the expectations of the South which relied on the North giving upand giving them the power to become a sovereign state. Victories from1863 kept the Northern soldiers going until they won the war in 1865.
Inconclusion, the civil war led to more than 750, 000 deaths, making itthe most destructive in the American history. The Confederacysurrendered in 1865 after clear evidence that the Northern armieswould destroy the Southern military. The Northern victory ensuredthat the U.S remained to be one nation. It also led to theabolishment of slavery in all states. All in all much of the civilwar was believed to have been fueled by the differences between theFree States, and the slave states. It’s clear that, the issue ofslavery had tremendous impact with regard to the relation between thenorthern and the southern regions. This in turn brought along theissue of impending crisis, which impacted the relations between theregions and the ultimate result in the making of the United States.
Martin,James K, James H. Jones, Linda M. M. Edwards, Steven Mintz, and RandyRoberts. Americaand Its Peoples: A Mosaic in the Making.New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. Print.