HST 365 Paper 2

HST 365 Paper 2 - Nathan Hoch HST 365 Dr. Jackson 4-18-2011...

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Nathan Hoch HST 365 Dr . Jackson 4-18-2011 Paper 2: Origins of the Civil War The origin of the American Civil War is a much debated topic amongst today’s scholars . With this year being the 150 th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War it is highly relatable to what is being talked about . There are basically two fields of thought amongst scholars when it comes to the origin and those are , it was about states’ rights or that it was about the abolition of the institution of slavery . Greater detail expounding on these two areas will be discussed in the next section . As it is typically thought , people from the South say that the Civil War was about states’ rights and not about slavery , and many in the North believe that slavery was the main cause of the war . Discussion will ensue in this paper that looks at whether these beliefs are correct assumptions , was it a mixture of both states’ rights and slavery, or was the primary cause one or the other and people use the other as a way to defend their view or their states’ view of the war . This first section will discuss the area of slavery . Many scholars look back 150 years and agree that slavery was the primary cause of the civil war , and it is hard to argue otherwise, especially with quotes like this from Abraham Lincoln , "A house divided against itself cannot stand . I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect that it will cease to be divided . It will become all the one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of
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slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction , or its advocates will push it forward until it shall become alike lawful in all the states , old as well as new, north as well as south.” 1 With the President of the United States at the time of the civil war making statements like that it is clear that he truly did believe the reason for fighting the war was to end slavery and bring the rebel states back into the Union . Many scholars today share the same opinion as Abraham Lincoln in believing the primary origin of the Civil War was to end slavery . One such scholar is Leonard Pitts , who argues that there is no doubt that slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War . He argues that the South believed the North under the Constitution was trying to abolish their property rights , and that property was their slaves . He also argues that in an attempt to defend why their state fought for the South many people have come to this conclusion that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery but instead that the “heroes” of the South were fighting for states’ rights that the Federal government was trying to take away . He dismisses this idea as a clear example of desiring honor instead of guilt . 2
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This note was uploaded on 03/14/2012 for the course HST 365 taught by Professor Dr.jackson during the Spring '11 term at Miami University.

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HST 365 Paper 2 - Nathan Hoch HST 365 Dr. Jackson 4-18-2011...

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