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How Did Sectionalism Lead to the Civil War Essay

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From many different aspects of the pre-civil war, the era was an immense amount of tension. Both sides could utterly be deemed as greedy for wanting more territory for their own benefits but it also served economic growth in both stances. The north was prospering in immense ways with industrialization, as well as urbanization in most of the Union territory. And the south was boosting the economy using plantations and growing goods like cotton. But once the booming standards erupted for both sides, the north and the south craved more like any other prosperous territory would. The north was intimidated and felt that the south’s way of life could be influenced by the Union, this also created tension among the sides because the south also felt if the north had taken away the slaves, the thriving society they were experiencing would all be taken away. And since the south highly depended on these slaves, their plantations would be put at risk and sustainability would decrease immensely. The gravitational pull both sides were feeling to gain territory rapidly was an extremely evident point of the war.

The South truly wanted to expand for their own beneficial agendas and the competition of the north only made it worse. The south’s economy was succeeding in unimaginable ways, and they were not only power hungry, but money hungry too and they would stop at nothing in order to gain more land and profit off of slaves. The slave market was extremely profitable for plantation owners and they didn’t want anyone to mess with their wealth status which would completely destroy their economy since they do rely heavily on the slaves. Since the government truly did not want to get involved because they felt as if choosing sides would be too controversial and end in more tension created now between the south and north as well as the government. The Mexican-American war had just ended around the time when there were rising tensions between the slave and free states, the north, and the south were very adamant about getting the territory they wanted. In some ways, as a learner, I believe some of the acts enacted were temporary bandaids the government used because they wanted to stay out of the controversial situation. But the north believed that in some ways these acts were one-sided for the south, such as the fugitive slave act. These acts were part of the compromise of 1850 practically benefiting the south in all ways possible that, the north had to send back any fugitive slaves which were very heart-wrenching for many citizens that were forced to send back slaves under this act. In an article written by, they suggest that “It favored the south because they wanted to maintain slavery and the act helped them in doing so.”

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The north was completely and utterly successful without the help of slaves and plantations in order to create a very outstanding economy. The North knew of the ruthless and disgusting tactics the south would use against the slaves and the north found it to be completely disturbing, they believed that completely abolishing having slaves was the best idea because if the north can boom without slaves then the south can stop using these inhumane tactics and be progressive like the north. In an article by, they state that “The North produced 17 times more cotton and woolen textiles than the south, 30 times more leather goods, 20 times more pig iron, and 32 times more firearms.” This factual statement only contributes to the fact that the south was clearly less progressive and more intimidated leading me to believe they wanted the increase in the land to benefit themselves and were very narrow-minded. The Missouri compromise only led to more tension increase between the north and the south. The Missouri compromise completely didn’t align with what had been originally agreed upon in which the states in the north were all considered to be in the Union, and this completely disrupted that peace, the north received Maine in return but were admittedly frustrated. The greediness from both sides soon led to the Kansas-Nebraska act deemed as the allowance for popular sovereignty, which immediately led to violence and protests between Pro-Slavery members and Anti-Slavery members. The sectionalism was very noticeable from all outside nations which were utterly ironic due to the fact it is called the “United States”, and juxtaposed to the fact that the north and the south were anything but united and lacked togetherness. The economic and political greed contained by the south was getting too frustrating for the north and they wanted to put an end to this sectionalism overall, but there was no peaceful solution that wouldn’t end up in power and money-hungry civilians, leading to the fact that they had to fight.

In conclusion territorial expansion definitely played a part in the start of the civil war. But, I feel as though too many aspects also were involved in the tension rising between the north and the south. Such as the preposterous acts such as the fugitive slave act, were not directly involved with territorial expansion, but definitely played a part in the start of the Civil War. As a learner, it seems that sectionalism also was a major part of the lead-up to the Civil war, the south had its own ways of boosting the economy, and had strong political standpoints, which I think is also where the true issues lie since the north was too progressive for the south it seems.

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