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Was the Civil War Inevitable: Argumentative Essay

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The Civil War was a complicated event. However, it’s not surprising that a discussion of the causes of the war would also be complicated. Therefore, this essay will organize the major causes of the Civil War into long-term, short-term, and trigger causes that lead to the outbreak of fighting in 1861.

Long-term causes are aspects of US history that help us understand how a future civil war would be possible. The settlements between slave states and free states would determine future outcomes, making it a long-term element to cause the Civil War. States in the Border South such as Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri had different environments for their crops; which meant that it was hard for certain plants to grow, dismissing the need for slaves. Crops such as cotton, indigo, and rice would dominate the South and expand the growth of slavery. Slavery was considered the first and main cause of the Civil War. Dating back to the early 1600s on the eastern British coastal shores of Virginia, the concept was based on African-Americans owned as property. Debates on slavery would go back and forth and eventually create a split between the North and the South, respectively the Confederate and the Union. The Compromise of 1850, which was a group of 5 bills over slavery, provided a temporary resolution. But the violent opposite sides could not hold onto the compromise any longer. Another long-term cause of the Civil War was the Underground Railroad. Led by Harriet Tubman, this secret route provided an escape for African-Americans, free or enslaved, to complete freedom in the North. The organization lasted for about 50 years, ending in the midst of the war. Tubman’s successful plan branched off other concepts that indirectly but ultimately resulted in the war, such as the equality of men and women, and the involvement of African-Americans in politics.

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The short-term causes are aspects of US history during the mid-1800s, which show that a civil war is not just possible, but now probable; increasing the probability of war and changing the future of the United States. A short-term cause of the war was the debate on states' rights. The government and the states were fighting since America gained its independence, as they would argue on concerns such as the Articles of Confederation. The main issue with the new governments after the revolution was that they were not willing to form a national government in exchange for their freedom. Although this issue did not last long, it was considered a tension for the war, and would quickly lead to the detachment of the Confederation from the North. Abraham Lincoln, a prominent figure for discussing and eventually siding for abolition, played a key role. Even though Lincoln did not want to abolish slavery, he took it as a deterioration of the country and wanted to act on it as soon as possible when he was elected in 1861. Frederick Douglass also helped convince Lincoln of the decision. South Carolina saw the election as a signal and became the first state to secede from the Union, fueling the Civil War. Six states would soon follow in agreement. In fact, Andrew Jackson predicted the result of war during the concerns of nullification. He claimed it was “an absurdity and a mad project of disunion that was incompatible with the existence of the Union.”

Triggers are aspects of the Civil War right before it began, making the war inevitable. A trigger of the war stems from Nat Turner’s rebellion. A black overseer from Virginia, Turner executed his objective on the 40th anniversary of the Haitian slave rebellion. The results were not so great as slaves who did not even participate were killed, including Turner himself. The revolt seemed to have no preference, as the slaves also killed a baby and some students. But the significance of the rebellion solidified and maximized the South’s stance on slavery, prompting arguments against the North. A former slave even claimed it was “impossible to pass through the country with any safety.” A direct trigger of the Civil War originated at Fort Sumter; when Lincoln issued food and supplies to be brought to his troops, the Confederates launched an attack. In the words of Congressman Daniel Sickles, the assault caused the “North to form a unit,” and as expressed by Frederick Douglass, “War begins where reason ends.” A disastrous battle loomed over the nation’s head. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a novel written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, described slave life and its popularity exploded throughout the nation. It was even dubbed “the most popular novel of our day,” and soon enough a children’s version and a traveling theater production were made. Even many years before Stowe wrote the novel, she helped runaway slaves cross the Ohio River. The novel helped the North to see the massive and immoral issues behind slavery and used the book as a support for their beliefs and arguments. Uncle Tom’s Cabin went on to expand the abolitionist movement and inspired future soldiers who would fight for the Union. Slaveowners in the South grew irate at Stowe and her ideas and provoked the split between the North and South.

In the fullness of time, the long-term causes, short-term causes, and triggers of the Civil War led to brutal violence generally surrounding the events of slavery. The arguments surrounding slavery generated endless events and scenarios that would form a split into two groups. Certain characters had unique consequences in different areas of the timeline, and the war led to the abolishment of slavery. This essay described and contrasted the actions and reasonings leading up to the war.

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Was the Civil War Inevitable: Argumentative Essay. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 8, 2023, from
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