The Events Leading Up to the Civil War
The Events Leading Up to the Civil War
Conflicts widened between the North and the South as two sides collided in every event before the Civil War. The North and the South were very different in many ways. They were known as two different countries because of their cultural and economic differences. The disagreements between the North and the South aggravated the separation that was soon to follow. When the North gained the control of the government, the South seceded.
The North was industrialized and had many factories. It also included railroad tracks of more than 20,000 miles. The railroad transferred settlers, manufactured goods, wheat, and raw materials. On the other hand, the South was very agricultural, consisted of many plantations and small farms. The North was far more advanced in the technological field. Because of its industrial environment, most immigrants settled in the North. As a result, the North’s population grew much faster. Only a small number of immigrants settled in the South because there were not enough jobs available due to slavery. These differences show that the North and the South were not united even before the Civil War.
Dred Scott vs. Sanford was a fight over a black slave who was taken to a free state by his owner. Dred Scott, who lived in a slave state Missouri, was taken to the free territory in Illinois and Wisconsin. Scott sued his owner for his freedom claiming that he lived in a free state, thus he had become a free man. The trial finally reached the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that being in free territory does not make a slave free. Dred Scott lost the case and was still considered a slave.
The race for the U.S. senate began between Democrat Stephen Douglas and Republican Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln believed that the “government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free” while Douglas believed in popular sovereignty. Both Lincoln and Douglas agreed to stop slavery but they disagreed on how to keep it out. There were many debates between the two and many crucial questions were answered in these debates. Douglas, who showed his intelligence and cleverness during the debate, won the senate seat.
Another event stroked the conflict between the North and the South. John Brown, a radical abolitionist, felt that he was the messenger of God. He was studying the slave uprisings in the ancient Rome because there was a similar uprising in the United States. He had mistaken that the Southerners killed five of his men. Brown sought revenge. He and his men sneaked into a proslavery settlement in Kansas and killed five men. John Brown’s involvement in the Bleeding Kansas led to the Harpers Ferry Raid. Brown’s plan was to capture the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia and distribute the weapons to slaves. His plan failed and John Brown was captured. Soon after, he was hung for treason.
The candidates struggled for votes from each and every state in the Election of 1860. The Democrats split over into Northern Democrats who supported Douglas and Southern Democrats who supported J.C. Breckinridge. The small parties such as Know-Nothings, Whigs, and moderate Northerners formed Constitutional Union Party. John Bell was their candidate. The Republican Party supported another candidate, Abraham Lincoln.
The votes were counted and Lincoln emerged as the president of the United States. The Election of 1860 gave disadvantages to the Southerners. Fearing that Republicans would bring them under their control and eliminate slavery in the South, the Southerners looked for a way out. They lost their faith and confidence and believed that secession was their only way.
South Carolina seceded and Mississippi followed along. Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas joined few weeks later. The Southern states created a Union known as the Confederacy. They created their own constitution, which was a little different from the constitution of the United States. In the Confederate Constitution, the people were allowed to own slaves and move them from one state to another. The term of president was six years and protective tariffs were prohibited.
After these serious, terrifying events, the Civil War was fought. During the three days in July, over 160,000 men fought, fell, and died in the quiet town of Pennsylvania. Blood and dead bodies were in every sight. However, this was only the beginning of the Civil War.