The Inevitability of the Civil War

The Inevitability of the Civil War - The Inevitability of...

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The Inevitability of the Civil War The Civil War is one of the most controversial events in the history of the United States. In the most obvious sense, this was a horrible conflict between two diverging factions of a weakly bonded nation. It is quite unfortunate that such a tragedy had to occur; that so many men had to lose their lives to settle the growing tensions between the North and the South. However in order to conclusively determine the nature of sectional relations, this inauspicious conflict was indeed inevitable. Of the list of factors which contributed to the Civil War, one of the most important was centralized around states’ rights. This platform was particularly important to the Southern states prior to the war, which often spoke out against mistreatment and injustice. In the Southern mindset, violations of these rights can be traced back to years significantly previous to the outbreak of the war in 1861. In fact one of the first instances of conflict about states’ rights dates back to 1828 under the Adams administration. To respond to the growing disadvantage of American companies to British manufactures, president John Quincey Adams enacted this latest edition of protective tariffs in the United States. This new and increased tariff largely affected the South, which imported a huge majority of its goods and depended on the export of cotton to survive. Outraged by the implications of the tax, labeled the “Tariff of Abominations,” many Southerners led by vice president, John C. Calhoun began to push for nullification of the tax. This movement, of which South Carolina was a major participant, soon evolved into the Nullification Crisis of 1832. It was at this point that the Southern threat of secession first came into play. Many Southerners argued that the Union was, in essence, a compact willfully entered into, and therefore the states could overrule federal laws, and if necessary, withdraw from the compact. This idea eventually became popular enough to provoke Andrew Jackson to proclaim
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that he would hang from the highest tree anyone who threatened to secede. Though, this action would prove unnecessary when the crisis was dissipated by a repeal of the tariff later that year. However, the South would remember this idea of secession, particularly in the state of South Carolina. Another factor which was largely responsible for the Civil War which was often present with the debate of states’ rights was difference in the opposing views of the North and South on slavery. This debate had long been a source of conflict among the states, though it was not until 1820 that it was present on a large scale. As a resolution to the issue of slavery in the territories of the Louisiana Purchase, it was in this year that the Missouri Compromise was instituted. This was attempted by admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state and eradicating slavery in any new territory or state north of the 36°30’ latitude. Initially, this was a successful
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This note was uploaded on 09/01/2008 for the course HHS 125 taught by Professor Mako during the Fall '08 term at Stevens.

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The Inevitability of the Civil War - The Inevitability of...

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