What Caused the Civil War

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In 1861, a Civil War broke out in the United States. It was one of the worst wars and many conditions contributed to the cause of this terrible war. The war was a fight between the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America, that lasted four very long years and cost the lives of 600,000 Northern and Southern soldiers. A conflict primarily arose from many issues over slavery. The contributing factors to which caused the civil war were; economic differences, two views on government, and two views on slavery.

One of the contributing factors to the Civil War was economic differences from the Union (the North), and the Confederacy (the South). These differences included the strengths/weaknesses between the North and the South. The North had strengths in population size, industrial workers and the yearly value of manufactured goods. The south had strengths in slave population and cotton productions. This shows that the North was very resourceful, and the South lacked certain aspects to their already weak economy. These weaknesses made the South very dependent on Northern capitalist for the means to build their railroads, canals and other public improvements. In addition to this controversy, Hinton Helper, a political writer, from North Carolina, wrote “The Impending Crisis of The South.” This book was about the weakness of the Southern economy and was strongly frowned upon by the South because it goes against what Southerners believe, like slavery.

Another contributing factor to the Civil War was two different views of government. John C. Calhoun, a senator from South Carolina and Abraham Lincoln, a statesman and soon to president of the United States, both had very different views on government. John C. Calhoun believed in the compact theory and that any state could back out or secede from whatever they wish. Abraham Lincoln does not believe in this theory and he doesn’t think it is right to secede whenever it is wished upon. He implies at his “First Inaugural Address,” that states need to finish what they have started and not back out under any circumstances. This evidence shows the altercations on how government is viewed from two different people and the controversy it causes.

To conclude the contributing factors of the Civil War there is two different views on slavery. Frederick Douglass, a famous African American abolitionist, was an escaped slave from Maryland. Douglass delivered a speech in Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852. His audience was almost entirely white Northerners. In his speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” he explained how it is always a reminder of a day that should be for everyone’s independence… everyone’s but “negros.” He explains how slave life/conditions were horrible and that “Independence Day” is hypocritical.

However, George Fitzhugh, American social theorist, from North Carolina, published racial and slavery-based sociological theories, he wrote “Cannibals All!” Fitzhugh believes that Southern slaves are happy and that they are treated well, he states, “The Negro slaves of the South are the happiest, and, in some sense, the freest people in the world.” He also believes that Northern slaves have bad conditions and are not treated well like Southern slaves. He states, “He is more of a slave than a “Negro,” because he works longer and harder for less allowance than the slave and has no holiday because the cares of life begin when its labor ends. He has no liberty, not a single right…” These differences show you the point of view from a former slave, and a person who has studied the slave life. It shows just how differently events like this are perceived by certain people.


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What Caused the Civil War. (2020, Sep 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/what-caused-the-civil-war/

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