The Causes Of The Civil War

"The tragic ‘fireball
in the night’ imagined by Jefferson had finally rung. The
Missouri Compromise had failed. Proslavery and
antislavery civilians clashed in the streets and took up arms.
Thousands of Northerners were willing to die for their
beliefs. The Civil War had begun. The states were at war
with each other." This dividing battle between the North
and the South was unavoidable. The Civil War was caused
by economic, political and moral problems. It all started by
an alarming increase in a need for cotton, which triggered
the building of a barrier between two territories in a
growing nation. New Machinery was changing the textile
industry in New England and Britain. These mills needed
more and more cotton, creating a new demand in the south.
For this trade with Europe, after 1812, raw cotton
accounted for one-third all cotton exports of the United
States. By 1830, it increased to half. Cotton quickly
became a big money-making cash crop for the South and
North economy alike. But the demand also revived the
need for slaves. The plantations had to be worked, and
blacks were a cheap, efficient way to get the cotton
picked. To make their jobs easier, Eli Whitney took
advantage of the new idea, and invented the cotton
gin(short for engine). It rapidly cleaned the seeds from the
short, sticky fibers of upland cotton, the variety that grew
all over the South. The process was simple: a roller carried
raw cotton along wooden slats. Sharp metal teeth thrust
through the slats and quickly pulled the fibers from the
seeds. In 1794, he obtained a patent. Whitney still earned
little because it was simple enough for manufacturers to
copy. Even though the machine made attaining cotton
faster, slaves were still pushed to work harder and produce
more. Blacks under captivity certainly led a harsh, unfair
life. But that is where the white southerners believed blacks
belonged. Northerners knew better. Harriet
Beecher-Stowe, a female, black abolitionist was aware of
these conditions. She wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which
was published in 1852, and described the incredible cruelty
and horrors of slavery. Stowe wanted to "write something
that would make the whole nation feel what an accursed
thing slavery is." Her novel became widely popular, and
within a year, readers had bought 300,000 copies.
Wherever it went, it carried it’s powerful message of the
evils of slavery. She hoped the novel would bring a
peaceful end to slavery, but instead it seemed to bring the
nation closer to war. Of course, not all Southerners
supported slavery, nor did all Northerners oppose it. Yet
antislavery feelings were on the rise in the North…few
white Southerners went to extremes. Their concern lay in
maintaining the plantation system as it existed. With her
book she was able to gain many Northerners support in the
antislavery race, yet at the same time she outraged the
Southerners. Harriet’s novel was one of the many things
that sparred mistrust between the North and South. The
North didn’t trust the South because they refused to help
Southern plantation owners capture slaves. North
depended on the South for making money, and the South
depended on the slaves to pick their cotton. This created
the Northern fear of Competition. The North was afraid
that South would gain power of crops and put them out of
business. This meant that slavery would double. The North
was torn between giving the slaves their rightful choices, or
keeping the economy balanced. It was a matter of moral
standards. The South wanted to break away from the
union, while the North still wanted the two territories to
stick together. This conflict was the main cause of the Civil
War. The South argued about their state’s rights. They said
a state could nullify a federal law it did not consider
constitutional. Southern states based their right to leave the
union, on the fact the original 13 states had existed
separately before they formed together for the United
States. The South could break their allegiance to the union
because they were not part of the original U.S. If they
could form there own confederacy, the South could
continue the use of slaves while also keeping their reign on
the cotton industry. The political issues that caused the Civil
War, revolved around matters that involved territorial
subjects and slavery acts. In 1820, the Missouri
Compromise was worked out and gained congressional
approval. Missouri was to be admitted as a slave state, and
Maine would enter the union as a free state. The
compromise also prohibited slavery in other American
territories west of the Mississippi river and North of
Missouri’s southern boundary. Stephen A. Douglas
introduced a bill called the Kansas-Nebraska Act. It
proposed to divide the area into two territories: that