Why did the Civil War begin between the industrial North and the slave-owning South in 1861?
- Anonymous4 weeks agoFavorite Answer
Slavery. There had been periodic conflicts over slavery since the formation of the Republic and really since the Missouri Crisis of 1819. The tension ratcheted up after the Mexican American War, which many Northerners saw as being waged to expand the geographic scope of slavery. The Wilmot Proviso, and the ensuing Compromise of 1850 further inflamed tensions between the North and the South. The 1850s saw increasingly charged sectional conflict with both sides believing that the other was looking to extend its economic system across the whole country. Southerners, for their part, feared that a numerically superior North might eventually try to outlaw slavery.
Those fears seemed validated in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Prior to Lincoln, every President had either been a southern slaveholder or a Northerner who was willing to defend slavery. Lincoln was different. His Republican party didn't exist in the South and didn't rely on Southerners for votes, so they could ignore their concerns about slavery. The Republican party had formed specifically to limit the extension of slavery and to put it on the road to ultimate extinction. So Lincoln was the first president who entered office on a platform opposed to slavery. While Lincoln and other Republicans insisted that they didn't intend to try and abolish slavery in the states, in fact they believed that the federal government didn't have that power, they did want to "hem in" slavery where it existed and use the power of the federal government to isolate and marginalize slavery as much as possible. This included most prominently the pledge to stop further slave expansion into the West. At the time most people in America thought that slavery needed to expand to stay healthy. Over the 19th century western territories like Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas had provided crucial new lands for slavery. This allowed established slaveowners in the East to get rid of excess slaves who they didn't need and allowed for a boomtown economy which promised the potential for ordinary white people to possibly enter the slaveholding class. Without Western expansion Southerners feared a) that slavery would become a stratified thing confined only the wealthy class and resented by ordinary white Southerners and b) that a free soil West would eventually give the North enough political power to outlaw slavery in the Southern states.
So while Lincoln was willing to forgo any direct attack on slavery in the states this wasn't much of a consolation to Southern slaveowners. They were still looking at a situation where slavery might be abolished in a few decades at most. And the reality of Lincolns election, done entirely on the basis of Northern votes and representing Northern interests, seemed to presage a future where the slaveholding South would become increasingly politically marginalized. Rather than wait around for that to happen the Deep South, the seven states with the highest proportion of slaves in their population, seceded from the Union and formed their own country to try and defend slavery.
- Huh?Lv 74 weeks ago
The South hated the idea of Lincolin as President because he was antislavery, so after he was elected, but before his inauguration they started to secede from the Union.
The US Constitution does not have a process for a state to unilateral secede from its obligations as a state, so when the South Carolina militia attacked Fort Sumter the hostilities began. Lincoln's original goal was restoration of the Union, it was much later that the Emancipation Proclamation added ending slavery in the Confederate States to he mix.
There is a pseudo-historical claim that the south had a "just" cause for the war. The Edward Pollard Book of 1867, "The Lost Cause," was one of the first to make this argument. The claim is the south did not secede because of slavery, but had a list of grievances against the Union. This claim completely ignores the Declarations of Secession passed by the Confederate States which in every declaration clearly state their main purpose was to protect slavery. It also ignores the Cornerstone Address given by Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens which proudly proclaimed the Confederacy as the first nation in the world founded on protecting slavery.
It is clear the war's root cause was the South wanted to hold slaves and feared this immoral system would be challenged by a Lincoln Presidency. All the revisionist history the South has written since then ignores the contemporary writings and speeches that unambiguously declare that the protection of slavery was the cause of hostilities. The Southern States were involved in a morally unjustifiable system of treating human beings as livestock, and they felt the only way to preserve the indefensible system was to become traitors and to take up arms against their country.
- Anonymous4 weeks ago
The north were still slave owners at the time when the war broke out.
- A Yahoo UserLv 74 weeks ago
The answer is not simple. Summary: with the election of Lincoln on an Abolitionist platform, and in addition Abolitionists having a majority in both houses of Congress, the Southern states
- believed that slavery would be severely restricted or even outlawed
- seceded from the Union so as to be able to retain their slave economy
- made a pre-emptive attack against the North in light of the seemingly imminent Northern military invasion/occupation
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- 4 weeks ago
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. She came from a famous Christian family. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin began a drive for the nascent Republican party to demand abolition.
- hungryjoeLv 54 weeks ago
Because 1860 would have been too early and 1862 would have been too late?
Just a thought like