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Slavery and Civil War Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 April 2017

Slavery and Civil War

For a long time a controversy has existed amongst historians regarding slavery as a cause for the civil war. A large number of Northern writers agreed with President Said James Ford Rhodes that slavery was the singular cause of civil war and but for slavery there would have been no civil war at all. The annexation of new territories of Texas, Oregon and Mexico were the source of all trouble because whenever the question of entry of any state to the Union came up before the Congress, both Northern and Southern states tried their level best to ensure its entry as a free or slave state respectively.

Wilmot Proviso might have exploded the situation but was again saved by the compromise of 1850. As someone rightly pointed, ‘the compromise of 1850 was merely a lull which foreshadowed the coming of a storm’. This situation was further provoked by the Kansas-Nebraska bill. It re-opened the question of slavery. One of the immediate of the passage of the bill was that a struggle started between the free and slave states over the control of Kansas. The Lecompton Constitution 1857, the Dred Scott decision 1857 were the later incidents that involved the slavery question and led to civil war.

Right from the start of Civil War pressure had been exerted on Lincoln to declare the war as a crusade for the abolition of slavery. To win the support of the liberal opinion in Europe, Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Emancipation on September 22, 1862, in his capacity as Commander-in Chief of the Army. It was declared that ‘on the first day of January A. D 1863, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free. ’

No doubt, the abolitionists were insulted, attacked and persecuted, but they carried on their activities. All these actions and reactions did arouse the conscience of the people and in the north they stood up to defend them. The Abolitionists followed different methods, which resulted in split of the organization. The extremist group known as Garr achieved their objective. The other group known as liberty Party Men; was composed of moderates and believed in constitutional methods. They wanted to get into the Congress, control the presidency and bring about the desired reforms.

They put up candidate in the4 presidential election of 1840; though they could not get him elected. 13th Amendment also paved the way for civil war. It was not the same 13th Amendment that we have today but this amendment preceded the Civil War, was adopted in February 1861. This version was adopted for an utterly dissimilar purpose–to guarantee the validity and perpetuity to the institution of slavery in the Southern slave states, rather than to abolish it. This amendment was aimed at to guarantee to preclude Civil War. But the opposite happened. Another factor that contributed toward the intensification of civil was black soldiers.

In 1862, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation enabled for African Americans to recruit in the Union Army. There was an earlier desire on the part of the African-American to join the war, but were negated to enlist in the army due to the secession fear of the bordering states. However after the Proclamation hundred thousands of black soldiers joined the army and their number mounted to approximately 180,000. From the above discussion, we can conclude that it would be fully an erroneous view to hold that slavery was the sole cause of the civil war but it is right to conclude that for slavery there would have been no civil war.

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  • University/College: University of California

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  • Date: 19 April 2017

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