Civil War in the Early Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Certainly, Lincoln was extremely upset with the notion that while some Americans were free to pursue their own personal agendas, others were not free in any respect whatsoever, these being African-American slaves. Thus, in order to end this situation, Lincoln dedicated his life to seeing the institution of slavery eradicated from the face of the earth which he accomplished in some small measure in 1863 with his Emancipation Proclamation.

Furthermore, in 1860, the editor for the Charleston Mercury, a staunch advocate of slavery, wrote an editorial called "The Terrors of Submission," a reference to the South falling under the control of the abolitionists who wished to see slavery destroyed and the slaves given their freedom. This unidentified editor points out that if Abraham Lincoln becomes President in 1861, then an "immediate danger will be brought to slavery. . . all slave property will be weakened. . . And all the frontier states (i.e., those west of the Mississippi River) will enter upon the policy of making themselves free states" ("Causes of the Civil War," Internet).

Also, the editor admits that slave property in the shape of human beings "is the foundation of all property in the South" and that if the rules of the abolitionists takes hold in the South, there would be "an end of all peaceful separation (from) the Union" by a majority of Southern states; thus, "We can only escape the ruin. . . By war" ("Causes of the Civil War," Internet).

Thus, one could say with some certainty that white plantation owners in states like Mississippi, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia and those who profited handsomely from the selling of human beings on the open American and European markets quickly came to the conclusion that open warfare between the Union and the Confederacy was inevitable, especially when South Carolina

seceded from the Union in 1861, followed by a number of other Southern states in rapid succession.

In this respect, the dissolution of the United States of America in the form of two separate entities, being the Union in the North and the Confederacy in the South, was preceded by fierce vocal opposition from those in the North and by wholehearted joy by those in the South who desired simply to be left alone to pursue their profits via the sale and exchange of human beings like cattle headed for the slaughterhouse.

Obviously, one aspect of this issue is related to the stubbornness of humans to accept change. Since the abolitionist movement had done such a superior job in educating the American people in the North about the horrors of slavery, white plantation owners in the South were very fearful that their old and cherished traditions would soon be swept away, thus leaving them financially, socially and politically bankrupt. Thus, it seems that their only recourse was to revolt against the Union in an attempt to save their livelihoods and to maintain the ways of the "Old South" with slavery serving as the keystone, holding everything else in place.

Of course, at the conclusion of the Civil War, the victorious federal government with Andrew Johnson as President imposed what has come to be called the First Reconstruction, a program aimed at rebuilding the South following the devastation of the war. But things did not work out as planned, for many former African-Americans slaves found life to be extremely hard and difficult, particularly in the Deep South where prejudice and discrimination continued to run rampant for many years after the close of the Civil War.

Therefore, some scholars may still insist that the basic cause of the Civil War was directly related to state's rights, but upon closer inspection, as declared by Ulysses S. Grant, the commander of the Union army and later President of the United States during the later years of the First Reconstruction period, "It became clear in my mind long before the days of the war that Americans could never live in peace and harmony as a single nation as long as slavery existed, an institution of damnable reputation that wholly deserves to be utterly removed" (Horwitz, 269).

Perhaps the entire issue of what caused the Civil War can be distilled into a very simple observation, one which borders on pure selfishness and self-glorification -- "Southerners believed that abolitionists were attacking their way of life and that the federal government was not doing enough to protect their "property" from running away. They were also concerned that new states. . . upon entering the Union, would not permit citizens to own slaves. . . because the more free states that entered the Union, the weaker southern influence would become in the federal government" ("Causes of the Civil War," Internet).


"Causes of the Civil War." 2009. Internet. Retrieved May 25,…

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