A war is not caused by one clear cause but by several reasons. The Civil War was inevitable due to the numerous dissimilarities between the North and South. Before the Civil War, The Missouri Compromise of 1820 caused the split of the country into two groups: the Southerners who were pro slavery and abolitionists Northerners.
Slavery was a moral, not an economic question, to abolitionists. Sectionalism caused disagreements on political party support, morals on the institution of slavery, and the economy. The two groups attempted to gain all the control possible.
Slavery was the ultimate reason that caused the Civil War. To begin with, the different economic interests in the North and South is one reason why the Civil War was inevitable. Slaves were concentrated in the southern states and were used as farm laborers. The South’s economy was based on agriculture whose biggest export was cotton. They depended on slaves for labor. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and cotton was known as king of the southern economy. For the prosperity of the southern economy slavery was essential. Since the South exported most of their cotton, they were against high tariffs because they believed foreign markets would not buy their goods.
On the other hand, the North was highly populated by factories and became more industrialized. Shipping textiles, lumbers, furs and mining were some of the North’s industries. Unlike the South, the North, favored high tariffs to protect its industries from foreign competition. The population in the North was becoming even larger and more diverse. It is very clear that economics was only one of the factors that made the Civil War inevitable. Furthermore, States Rights is described as the conflict between individual states and the federal government over political power and is also one of the reasons the Civil War was inevitable. The North wanted to grant the federal government increased powers, but the South wanted to reserve limitless powers to the individual states.
The conflict was increasingly focused on the institution of slavery and whether the federal government had the right to determine or abolish slavery in an individual state. When new western territory became available the South wanted to spread and use slavery in the new territories. The Kansas- Nebraska Act tore everything apart and cancelled the Missouri Compromise.
It advocated the concept of popular sovereignty which granted the people of each territory the right to determine whether or not to allow slavery. The North wanted to keep the western territory slave free. The North’s population was far more greater than the South’s and therefore, highteneed southerened concern that the North would rapidly settle the western territories. According to Davidson, Delay, Heyrman, Lytle, and Staff (2015), “With so little industry, few cities developed in the South. North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas did not contain a single city with a population of 10,000” (p.
247). The only promise of preserving the South’s political power and protecting its way of life was to expand slavery and the admission of new slave states. Abraham Lincoln’s win in the presidential election of 1860 was the last main conflict that led to succession and ultimately led directly to the Civil War. Although Lincoln had no support in the South, he won 180 electoral votes, 27 more than was needed for election. The South turned to the only alternative they believed was left to them, which was secession. According to Davidson, et al.
, (2015), “On December 20, 1860, a popular convention unanimously passed a resolution seceding from the Union. The rest of the Deep South followed, and on February 7, 1861, the states stretching from South Carolina to Texas organized the Confederate States of America and elected Jefferson Davis as president” (p. 300-301).
The establishment of the government of the Confederate States of America ensured states’ rights and preserved the institution of slavery. In conclusion, the central component of the conflict between the North and South was the existence of slavery. Slavery formed two opposing societies that could not come to agreement, therefore making the Civil War inevitable. The question wasn’t if, but when the war was going to happen.
Although the Union victory in the Civil War granted millions of slaves their freedom, the Reconstruction period introduced a new set of challenges. Although the military conflict had ended, Reconstruction was in many ways still a war. This important struggle was waged by radical northerners who wanted to punish the South and Southerners who desperately wanted to preserve their way of life (“Reconstruction,” n.d.).