Many factors led to the occurrence of the American Civil War. The key issues were slavery, different political ideologies, right of the people, and economic reasons. However, the key reasons that lead to the Civil War was slavery. Slavery is touted as the main cause of the conflict between the states in the northern part and those in the south. To date, slavery is still considered the worst human tragedy to have occurred in the United States. Abraham Lincoln himself pointed out that slavery was the root cause of the Civil War because of increase in tension within the country. The north and southern states had reached a critical point that could not lead to a compromise.1 The southern confederate states supported slavery while the northern states opposed it; hence, called for its abolition. Consequently, the only way to stop the tussle resulted into the civil violence. The difference in stand concerning slavery between the northern and southern states resulted in an outbreak of the Civil War.
Nevertheless, slavery was a ticking bomb in the United States dating as early as the 1800s when the earliest movements against slavery began forming. The main reason the southern states protected slavery was because they depended on slaves for their economic growth. Plantation owners saw slavery as their source of wealth for the slave labor sustained their plantations. The agricultural activities included growing cotton and tobacco and subsequent exportation. The political leaders in the southern states also owned large plantations; hence, the call for the continuation of slavery, in the southern states was unanimous. In contrast, the northern states were highly industrialized, believed in equality among all people, called for dignity, and an angle of competition between the northern and southern states existed. Moreover, people in the northern states thought southern states had an unfair advantage of the free labor they received in the plantations.
These reasons led northern states on a path to abolish slavery in the southern region. The aforementioned reasons sparked the occurrence of the Civil War. The American Civil War is also referred to as the war between the Northern and Southern States or the Rebellion War that began in 1861. Slavery was regarded as the main reason leading to the war, as a high level of discrimination against the African Americans existed upon their arrival in the United States. The African Americans were viewed as laborers and forced to work. Americans who were rich and owned large plantations took the African Americans as their slaves. They suffered untold suffering, such as working without pay and they were normally beaten. During the period, they fought for their freedom, which was not given to them until the Civil War was fought. Consequently, they aligned themselves with the white men who were also soldiers in fighting for their freedom.
The Southern States formed a front consisting of eleven states that rallied in support of slavery while the Northern States opposed the front. The road to freedom was going to be a long one; hence, the African Americans were determined to gain their freedom from slavery.2 The Civil War began as a fight against the Confederate States of the south who were united in support of slavery. Abraham Lincoln, who was the president at the time, saw the war could bring division; therefore, he was mainly focused on uniting the states instead of aiming to end slavery. The African Americans joined the act of the war and wanted to fight the people who had enslaved them for many years. The main goal of the people who called for abolition of slavery was to convince others that the injustices caused to African Americans had to stop. They saw slavery as immoral; hence, they wanted to create a better society.
They demanded for the emancipation of the slaves without any form of payment given to the slave owners. Their calls contradicted to those of the southern states who depended on slavery for their economic development. States of the Northern and Southern region were both right in their claims; hence, the war was inevitable. The Southern States had practiced slavery for many years that made it both legally and historically right. Therefore, the southerners had the right to defend their tradition and way of life.3 The idea of slavery was seen as an evil and not in accordance with most of the Republican states in the country. The anti-slavery movements wanted to stop the spread of slavery in a gradual manner.
However, the people in the Southern States saw this as an abuse of their constitutional rights by barring them from practicing slavery. In the mid-1880s, acts of slavery were beginning to fade away in the Northern States, but they thrived in the Southern States. The main way to put an end to this was to result in violence since both factions had reached an impasse. The main agenda of the abolitionists was to attain economic reforms that gave the southern part an unfair advantage. A different liberal group called for a gradual abolishment of slavery. Abraham Lincoln during the presidential election of 1860 ran with the ideology of slave abolishment and won by a minor margin. He used slavery as one of the main points when running for the presidency. Furthermore, he made it clear that he had abolished slavery in most states in the United States. In addition to going against slavery, he made states entering the Union to declare their stand on the issue of slavery. He did not support the idea of expansion of slavery by the Southern States.
This action by the elected president was not taken lightly by the states in the southern region. The proclamation of Abraham Lincoln in opposing slavery was the last roll of the dice that led to the outbreak of the American Civil War. The early signs of the war were marked by shots fired at Fort Sumter. Abraham Lincoln drafted an Emancipation Proclamation, which would free all the slaves governed by the Confederate come January of 1863. This was the decision that greatly changed the scope of the Civil War and the turn that it would take. After the declaration, the soldiers of the Northern States mobilized people of the black community in fighting against their oppression and discrimination. A different unit in the forces was formed which consisted of black people fighting in line with the Northern States. The black soldiers fought with great determination along the white soldiers. The war was the only hope of freedom for the African Americans after seeing their past generations suffering in silence under the ideology of free labor offered in the plantations of the wealthy white people.
The triumph in the war came as no surprise given their determination. The role played by the black people in the war was very important which was shown by their record in combat. At this point is when the equality of the black community started to be considered given their contribution in the war. However, critics say that Abraham Lincoln played the inequality card to gain an upper hand in the war against the Southern States. The then president Lincoln main goal was to preserve the states that formed the Union. In addition, he deemed the slavery issue as a pressing issue that needed to be stopped. He enacted the Emancipation Proclamation that enabled the freeing of the black community to escape their oppression from slavery. The black people joined the Union Army giving the Northern States numerical advantage over the Southern States.
The black people that joined the Union were approximately 200,000, which in turn boosted their power over the Confederate states. The move by the Union states in turn undermined the legitimacy of slavery in the mentality of the American people.4 The main strategy used by the Union was securing the borders and blocking naval routes used by the Southern States. This in turn crippled the economy of the southern region that was highly dependent on the exportation of agricultural produce, such as cotton and tobacco. This was a remarkable strategy since it would cut funds, giving the Northern States an advantage. Many reasons were postulated to have caused the Civil War. However, the main reason for this was traced to slavery and the oppression it caused to the black community. Reasons such as economic differences are traced back to slavery since the Southern States had an unfair advantage over the Northern States. Therefore, slavery is touted as the primary cause that led to the American Civil War.
Einhorn, Robin. American Taxation, American Slavery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. Ford, Carin. The American Civil War: An Overview. Berkeley Heights: Enslow Publisher Inc., 2004. Hodges, Robert. American Civil War Railroad Tactics. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2012. Smith, Adam. American Civil War. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.