“The tragic fireballin the night imagined by Jefferson had finally rung. TheMissouri Compromise had failed. Proslavery andantislavery civilians clashed in the streets and took up arms.
Thousands of Northerners were willing to die for theirbeliefs. The Civil War had begun. The states were at warwith each other.” This dividing battle between the Northand the South was unavoidable. The Civil War was causedby economic, political and moral problems. It all started byan alarming increase in a need for cotton, which triggeredthe building of a barrier between two territories in agrowing nation. New Machinery was changing the textileindustry in New England and Britain.
These mills neededmore and more cotton, creating a new demand in the south.For this trade with Europe, after 1812, raw cottonaccounted for one-third all cotton exports of the UnitedStates. By 1830, it increased to half. Cotton quicklybecame a big money-making cash crop for the South andNorth economy alike.
But the demand also revived theneed for slaves. The plantations had to be worked, andblacks were a cheap, efficient way to get the cottonpicked. To make their jobs easier, Eli Whitney tookadvantage of the new idea, and invented the cottongin(short for engine). It rapidly cleaned the seeds from theshort, sticky fibers of upland cotton, the variety that grewall over the South. The process was simple: a roller carriedraw cotton along wooden slats. Sharp metal teeth thrustthrough the slats and quickly pulled the fibers from theseeds.
In 1794, he obtained a patent. Whitney still earnedlittle because it was simple enough for manufacturers tocopy. Even though the machine made attaining cottonfaster, slaves were still pushed to work harder and producemore.
Blacks under captivity certainly led a harsh, unfairlife. But that is where the white southerners believed blacksbelonged. Northerners knew better. HarrietBeecher-Stowe, a female, black abolitionist was aware ofthese conditions. She wrote Uncle Toms Cabin, whichwas published in 1852, and described the incredible crueltyand horrors of slavery.
Stowe wanted to “write somethingthat would make the whole nation feel what an accursedthing slavery is.” Her novel became widely popular, andwithin a year, readers had bought 300,000 copies.Wherever it went, it carried its powerful message of theevils of slavery. She hoped the novel would bring apeaceful end to slavery, but instead it seemed to bring thenation closer to war. Of course, not all Southernerssupported slavery, nor did all Northerners oppose it.
Yetantislavery feelings were on the rise in the Northfewwhite Southerners went to extremes. Their concern lay inmaintaining the plantation system as it existed. With herbook she was able to gain many Northerners support in theantislavery race, yet at the same time she outraged theSoutherners. Harriets novel was one of the many thingsthat sparred mistrust between the North and South. TheNorth didnt trust the South because they refused to helpSouthern plantation owners capture slaves. Northdepended on the South for making money, and the Southdepended on the slaves to pick their cotton.
This createdthe Northern fear of Competition. The North was afraidthat South would gain power of crops and put them out ofbusiness. This meant that slavery would double. The Northwas torn between giving the slaves their rightful choices, orkeeping the economy balanced. It was a matter of moralstandards. The South wanted to break away from theunion, while the North still wanted the two territories tostick together. This conflict was the main cause of the CivilWar.
The South argued about their states rights. They saida state could nullify a federal law it did not considerconstitutional. Southern states based their right to leave theunion, on the fact the original 13 states had existedseparately before they formed together for the UnitedStates. The South could break their allegiance to the unionbecause they were not part of the original U.
S. If theycould form there own confederacy, the South couldcontinue the use of slaves while also keeping their reign onthe cotton industry. The political issues that caused the CivilWar, revolved around matters that involved territorialsubjects and slavery acts. In 1820, the MissouriCompromise was worked out and gained congressionalapproval. Missouri was to be admitted as a slave state, andMaine would enter the union as a free state. Thecompromise also prohibited slavery in other Americanterritories west of the Mississippi river and North ofMissouris southern boundary.
Stephen A. Douglasintroduced a bill called the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Itproposed to divide the area into two territories: that ofKansas and that of Nebraska.
It was implied that Kansaswould become a slave state, and Nebraska would be freeof slavery. Popular sovereignty was also put into effect.This act gave the voters, in each territory, the right todecide whether to become a free state or a slave state.Together, they rendered the Missouri Compromisemeaningless. As the Souths dependence on slaveryincreased between 1790 and 1860, the gap between theSouthern cotton economy and industrial economy of theNorth widened. The opposing goals and needs of theNorth and South created a deeper conflict- a conflict thateventually lead to war.
Basically, the North fought to keepthe union together, and give black slaves freedom, while theSouth fought for their lifestyle, homes, and to keep thingstogether economically. The northerners had high moralissues while the Southerners wanted to keep theirplantations and cotton production. They werent willing togive up there slaves. There were too many conflictsbetween the two territories, so they fought to resolve them.John Brown, a vengeful abolitionist put it best, “the crimesof this guilty land will never be purged away, but withblood”.
The north won the war, and ties were broken. Thebarrier they had started to build so long ago finallycrumbled.Category: History