As a former superpower, America has been subject to a number of wars ranging from the world war to their own civil war. In most circumstances, each war that America has gone into has had the immediate effect of splitting its citizens into half, as most people have different political perceptions regarding the war. One such war that has been responsible for the disarray of the American society is the American Civil War, which has been identified as the most costly war for Americans. This particular war saw the loss of over 600,000 American lives, as well as, 1million casualties, hence, was dubbed one of the worst wars in American history. Lasting from the years 1861 to 1865, the war has been traced back to the earlier tensions that rocked the state in the earlier years of the development of the US nation.
This paper presents an examination of the American Civil War. The paper seeks to investigate the causes and consequences of the war, as well as, the importance of the war in American history.
Researchers and research studies explain that the importance of the civil war is connected with the fact that it brought to an end the practice of slavery in the US. Arguably, the civil war changed the attitudes and perception of Americans regarding race, and for that reason, contributed to a positive social creation and interaction between the people of America. Subsequently, the newly formed attitudes and perceptions of the American people brought about other significant outcomes such as the development of a unified American economy, the formulation of new political parties, the development of a new American military tradition, as well as, the improvement of the way the different races related with each other. However, the significance of the American Civil War, which provides the rationale behind this war as a subject for discussion, is related to the fact that it paved way for the civil rights legislation, which has been an important factor in American politics to date.
American Civil War
Researchers and historians have identified five main causes of the American civil war including economic and social differences, slavery, rise of the abolition movement, federal rights, as well as, the election of Abraham Lincoln as the President of America.
Economic and Social Differences
Economic and social differences were brought about through agriculture and the farming of cotton as a cash crop for the northern and southern states of America respectively. The states in the south solely depended on cotton farming for their economic survival and for that reason they depended on slaves in their farming activities. Accordingly, the southern states experienced a more disparate social and economic society, as these states consisted of both land owners and slaves. The northern states, on the other hand, experienced an equal economy as they were more focused on industry as opposed to agriculture. The differences in the social order between the northern and southern states, consequently, called for secessions as the slaves in the south demanded equal treatment from their masters.
Slavery has also been identified as one of the causes of the American civil war by historians and researchers. As research studies explain, the expansion of America as a state saw the acquisition of new land by landowners in the state. Sequentially, the need for slaves was also questioned, and for that reason, slavery was prohibited in most regions in the state. Politicians and other members of the government proposed new legislations that were aimed at banning slavery, which, in turn, generated plenty of debate along political and social lines. Tension soon arose in the states that continued to practice slavery, as the slaves begged to be freed from their masters. This then saw the rise of anti-slavery movements that fought for the freedom of slaves.
Rise of the Abolition Movement
More Americans, especially the slaves and the northerners gradually became polarized regarding matters of slavery. Sequentially, more Americans started fighting for abolition and the freedom of slaves from slaveholders. The slaveholders, and supporters of slavery, on the other hand, opposed the need for abolition, and this saw a retaliation of the anti-slavery movements from Americans who supported the practice of slavery in the state. The passage of the fugitive slave act accelerated the growth and development of the abolition movements, as it sought to prosecuted individuals who were involved in harboring fugitive slaves. The tension between the supporters and non-supporters of slavery, sequentially promoted the wars and battles between these two groups.
The period after the revolution saw the rise of two main political groups including those in support of federal rights, and those against the practice of federal rights. These two groups had different perceptions with regards to whether or not the American government should have greater control of state affairs, or whether the citizens of the state needed to be granted this control. Those in support of federal rights argued for the formation of confederations, and encouraged the thirteen states making up the US to join and work together as federal states. This, in turn weakened the government, and as a reaction to this, the government at the time created the US constitution. This constitution ignored the requirements of the articles of confederation, and for that reason, opposers called for the nullification of the constitution. Tensions slowly grew as a result of this, thus the acceleration of the American civil war.
Election of Abraham Lincoln
The last cause of the American civil war as identified by researchers and research studies was centered on the election of Abraham Lincoln as the president of America. Contrary to most people’s beliefs about Lincoln’s position on slavery, Abraham Lincoln was against the practice of slavery in the US, and for that reason, his southern supporters felt that he was in favor of northern interest, as opposed to, their interests. This, in turn, saw the rise of tension as the southern supporters did not feel that he was the best presidential candidate for US presidency.
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