Essay on Civil War Causes and Effects

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“The American Civil War started in 1861 and ended in 1865.” (Civil War Facts) According to American Battlefield Trust, “10,000 battles were fought across the continent.” (Civil War) Some causes of the American Civil war were Slavery, The Dred Scott Decision, states’ rights, the Missouri Compromise, the secession of the south, and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

“Slavery first began in 1619 then called Point Comfort Virginia.” (Waxman) The first captives were forced to the Virginia Shores. The majority of the country relied on Native American slaves and indentured servants. By the end of the 1600s transatlantic slaves made an impact on the American colonies. In 1661 the anti-miscegenation statute was written into law in Maryland. This law prohibited marriage between races. In 1776 the American Revolution went into effect. Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men are equal and have many rights that couldn’t be taken from them in the Declaration of Independence however, this did not include slaves. For many more years to come slaves were still mistreated and had no rights. (Shah and Juweek) By the end of the American Revolution, slavery was becoming unsuccessful and dying out. (Slavery In the United States) By the 1860s, many people wanted slavery to come to an end. Many slave owners tried to defend slavery. Some of their arguments were cotton was in high demand and the country made slaves necessary, another argument was slaves were happy and well cared for. They also argued slaves were unable to take care of themselves. (The Social Studies Help Center)

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The Dred Scott Decision was a supreme court case that ruled that even living in a free state or territory did not entitle a freed slave to freedom. (Dred Scott Decision ) This decision shocked many people in the United States. Dred Scott petitioned that he felt he was entitled to freedom. John Emerson, the slave owner, was a United States Army surgeon who traveled a lot, such as in Illinois and Wisconsin. Scott traveled with him and was living in places where slavery was outlawed. (Missouri's Dred Scott Case, 1846-1857)

The states’ rights played a big role in starting the civil war. The original constitution banned slavery but Virginia didn’t like this and Massachusetts didn’t ratify the document until they introduced the Bill of Rights. An issue became aware of whether slavery would be allowed in new territories. The Missouri compromise tried to solve the problem. It established that lands west of Mississippi and below latitude 36º30º, except Missouri, as free states. Southern states felt like the North was going to abolish slavery and destroy the southern economy. When Abraham Lincoln came into the presidency this worry only escalated. Feeling like the only ones to protect themselves, southern states wanted to secede. (States' Rights: The Rallying Cry of Secession)

The Missouri Compromise was an attempt to preserve the power of congress and slave and free states. The Missouri Compromise was a law that was passed in 1820, it acknowledged that Missouri was a slave state and Maine a free state. The Missouri Compromise was abolished in 1854 by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In 1857 the Missouri compromise was acknowledged as unconstitutional. The supreme court declared that Congress did not have the authority to ban slavery. (Drexler) In 1819, the US had eleven free states and eleven slave states. When they got Missouri as one of their states they did not know what to do since Missouri. Would throw off the balance and could favor slave interests. The debate was bitter since New York congressman James Tallmadge advised that slavery should be banned in Missouri. Henry Clay came up with a solution that became to be known as the Missouri Compromise. His solution was Missouri would be admitted as a slave state but Maine would become a free state. Maine had been wanting to be separated from Massachusetts for a while. (The Missouri Compromise)

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president, he served from 1861 to 1865. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that set the slaves free within the confederacy. Abraham Lincoln believed secession was illegal. He used force to protect federal law and the union. According to the White House website, confederate batteries were fired at Fort Sumter and forced their surrender. Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers. Later, four more states joined the Confederacy however four continued with the union. This led to the start of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865. (Abraham Lincoln)

After Abraham Lincoln was elected, South Carolina was the first state to call a convention so they could secede from the union. After 3 months after Lincoln’s election, seven states had already separated from the union. (The South Secedes) Seven states seceded from the Union. These states were South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Texas. In February of 1861, these states created the “Confederate States of America”, this was considered illegal by the US government. The Confederate states attacked Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. (Secession of the southern states)

Works Cited

  1. Abraham Lincoln. n.d. 19 3 2021.
  2. Civil War Facts. n.d. 16 3 2021.
  3. Dred Scott Decision . n.d.
  4. Drexler, Ken. Missouri Compromise: Primary Documents in American History. 7 March 2019. 18 3 2021. .
  5. Missouri's Dred Scott Case, 1846-1857. n.d.
  6. The secession of the southern states. n.d.
  7. Shah, Khushbu and Adolphe Juweek. 400 years since slavery: a timeline of American history. 16 August 2019. 16 3 21. .
  8. Slavery In the United States. n.d. 16 3 21.
  9. States' Rights: The Rallying Cry of Secession. n.d. 16 3 21.
  10. The Missouri Compromise. n.d.
  11. The Social Studies Help Center. n.d.
  12. The South Secedes. n.d.
  13. Waxman, Olivia B. The First Africans in Virginia Landed in 1619. It Was a Turning Point for Slavery in American History—But Not the Beginning. 20 August 2019. 16 3 21. .
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