American Civil War and Secession
The American civil war is arguably the most significant historic event in the US after the American Revolution. It transformed the politics of the US and is still referred to on several occasions as the ‘War between the States’ or the ‘Civil War.’ This suggests that the memory of the war still lingers in some of the American’s minds. There are some difficult lessons to learn from the war, which should serve as a reference point in current-day politics. Politicians and Americans as a nation must understand and carefully discern the path of the nation’s future. They must remember that the civil war was not about Abraham Lincoln setting the Southern slaves free but also as a period when the US integrity as a united nation came to a severe test following selfish ambitions
The main explanation for the cause of the civil war was the moral aspect of slavery. The central conflict was the economics of political control and the economics of slavery. The rights of states were a major contest, with the Southern states wanting to assert their authority on the government so that federal laws would be abolished because they didn’t support more so, the right of the Southern states to enslave people and to take the enslaved people wherever they wanted (O’Connor, 2017).
Another reason was based on the expansion of territories. The Southern states wanted slavery to be expanded to the Western territories, while the Northern states wanted labor to be committed to the whites alone (Dudziak, 2011). Meanwhile, the Republican Party was gaining prominence despite opposing westward slavery expansion. When Abraham Lincoln became president in 1860, with no vote from the Southern States, it became clear that the North was not willing to support slavery.
The Southern states felt that they were excluded following the victory of the Republican Party through the election of Abraham Lincoln. This resulted in the Southern states concluding that only secession would solve the status quo (Dew, 2017). The option for secession led to a direct war. The first state to leave was South Carolina, followed by eleven other states, which formed a new country that they called the Confederate States of America. Abraham Lincoln sent troops to these states whose purpose was to stop the South from leaving, thus resulting in a war.
The Southern States acted rashly in leaving because that was an indication that they were not ready to be a democratic country. The US was supposed to be a democratic union where the voice of the people and Congress were to be upheld (Toft, 2012). The Republican’s voice was prominent in this case and manifested in the election of Lincoln. The South should have accepted the decision and restricted their slavery laws to themselves without looking as though they were forcing the democratic states to go against their own will.
It is important to learn about the civil war because it is a reflection of what convictions and beliefs can do to cause the deterioration of society. The beliefs and convictions of brothers and sisters were compelling to the extent that they took up arms against each other. Many thought-provoking discussions can be raised from the civil war about the powerful impact that a person’s beliefs can have and their willingness to put everything on the line for the principles they uphold as dear. Studying the civil war also helps the current and future American generations understand who America is as a nation, how it came to be what it is, and how the nation should move forward as a people (Doyle, 2010).
Dew, Charles B (2017). Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War. The University of Virginia Press.
Doyle, Don H., ed (2010). Secession as an international phenomenon: from America’s Civil War to contemporary separatist movements. University of Georgia Press.
Dudziak, Mary L. (2011). Cold war civil rights: Race and the image of American democracy. Vol. 73. Princeton University Press, 2011.
O’connor, James (2017). The fiscal crisis of the state. Routledge.
Toft, Monica Duffy (2012). “Self-determination, secession, and civil war.” Terrorism and political violence (24) (4). Pp 581-600.
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American Civil War and Secession
In 300 words, answer the following question.
- What was the cause of the American Civil War? Why did the South secede from the Union? Do you think they acted rashly? Why it is so important that we understand the Civil War that tore our nation apart in 1860?
Remember to cite your sources and include both in-text citation and a works cited page. As always, support your ideas with historical fact
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