Having acknowledged that, let me also say I have long believed there is no more concise or stirring accounting for the war than the sentiments propounded by Irish poet William Butler Yeats in “The Second Coming,” some lines of which are included in this essay. Lincoln called for volunteers to put down the Southern rebellion. The abolitionists came with a variety of viewpoints. Our line of historical magazines includes America's Civil War, American History, Aviation History, Civil War Times, Military History, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, Vietnam, Wild West and World War II. How beliefs such as this came to pass in the years between 1619 and 1860 reveals the astonishing capacity of human nature to confound traditional a posteriori deduction in an effort to justify what had become by then largely unjustifiable. That is not to say the average Confederate soldier fought to preserve slavery or the average Union soldier went to war to end slavery. They were responsible for the Pottawatomie Massacre, in which they killed five settlers who were pro-slavery. On April 12, the Confederates opened fire with cannons. “States’ rights” also became a Southern watchword for Northern (or “Yankee”) intrusion on the Southern lifestyle. The famous Dred Scott Decision in 1857 denied his request stating that no person with African blood could become a U.S. citizen. The main conflict that sparked the war was the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in 1861. In 1857 the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its infamous Dred Scott decision, which elated Southerners and enraged Northerners. But for the first time it threw the balance of power in the Senate to the Northern states. Douglas won only Missouri and a portion of New Jersey. More from Wes about the causes of the Civil War. The court ruled, in essence, that a slave was not a citizen, or even a person, and that slaves were “so far inferior that they [have] no rights which the white man [is] bound to respect.” Southerners were relieved that they could now move their slaves in and out of free territories and states without losing them, while in the North the ruling merely drove more people into the anti-slavery camp. Throughout the North, the caning incident triggered profound indignation that was transformed into support for a new anti-slavery political party. Causes of the Civil War: A Balanced Answer by Gordon Leidner of Great American History. And with the new tariff putting foreign goods out of financial reach, Southerners were forced to buy these products from the North at what they considered exorbitant costs. Contrary to its intentions, the act actually galvanized Northern sentiments against slavery because it seemed to demand direct assent to, and personal complicity with, the practice of human bondage. To assuage Southern fury at the admission of free California, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made Northerners personally responsible for the return of runaway slaves. The crisis was defused only when President Andrew Jackson sent warships into Charleston Harbor—but it also marked the first time a Southern state had threatened to secede from the Union. In both the North and South, these differences influenced views on the powers of the federal government to control the economies and cultures of the states. Some abolitionists actively helped runaway slaves to escape via “the Underground Railroad,” and there were instances in which men, even lawmen, sent to retrieve runaways were attacked and beaten by abolitionist mobs. Type or write down the relevant dates and a brief description of each of the This established a rule that prohibited slavery in states from the former Louisiana Purchase north of the latitude 36 degrees 30 minutes, with the exception of Missouri. Get inside articles from the world's premier publisher of history magazines. On April 10, 1861, knowing that resupplies were on their way from the North to the federal garrison at Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, provisional Confederate forces in Charleston demanded the fort’s surrender. At first the abolitionists concluded that the best solution was to send the slaves back to Africa, and they actually acquired land in what is now Liberia, returning a small colony of ex-bondsmen across the ocean. The Dred Scott Decision Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Many felt that the new Constitution ignored the rights of states to continue to act independently. This caused it to become known as "Bleeding Kansas." Slaves could be rented or traded or sold to pay debts. That prompted an obscure congressman from Pennsylvania to submit an amendment to a Mexican War funding bill in 1846 that would have prevented slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico—which became known, after its author, as the Wilmot Proviso. Yeats wrote his short po… Some people argued for greater rights for the states and others argued that the federal government needed to have more control. In plain acknowledgement that slavery was an offensive practice, Congress in 1808 banned the importation of African slaves. Ask your question. Definition and Examples, Order of Secession During the American Civil War, The History of the Three-Fifths Compromise. While the economy of the Northern states was driven by industries, the same was driven by … The short term causes of the Civil War were the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and Lincoln's unwillingness to allow the South to secede. Perhaps learning from that experience the danger of going it alone, in 1860 and early 1861 South Carolina sent emissaries to other slave holding states urging their legislatures to follow its lead, nullify their contract with the United States and form a new Southern Confederacy. Federal Government there is a key concept answer. The Southern economy became a one-crop economy, depending on cotton and, therefore, on enslaved people. All of the issues of the young nation were dividing the political parties and reshaping the established two-party system of Whigs and Democrats. The Civil War erupted from a variety of long-standing tensions and disagreements about American life and politics. Many of its followers joined with members of the American Party (Know-Nothings) and others who opposed slavery to form a new political entity in the 1850s, the Republican Party. From that first miserable boatload of Africans in Jamestown, slavery spread to all the settlements, and, after the Revolutionary War, was established by laws in the states. It is amazing that even today, nearly 150 years after the Civil War started, there is passionate debate regarding the "cause" of the Civil War. With an economy based more on industry than agriculture, the North enjoyed a steady flow of European immigrants. In the election of 1856, the new Republican Party ran explorer John C. Frémont, the famed “Pathfinder,” for president, and even though he lost, the party had become a force to be reckoned with. Prior to the American Revolution, the institution of slavery in America had become firmly established as being limited to persons of African ancestry. His name was John Brown. Brown’s raid thus became a step on the road to war between the sections. Advocates of slavery feared that if the institution were prohibited in any states carved out of the new territories the political power of slaveholding states would be diminished, possibly to the point of slavery being outlawed everywhere within the United States. For nearly a century, the people and politicians of the Northern and Southern states had been clashing over the issues that finally led to war: economic interests, cultural values, the power of the federal government to control the states, and, most importantly, slavery in American society. Though the long-term causes did have a profound contribution to the outbreak of the English Civil War, it was ultimately the events which immediately preceded it which were most instrumental in its outbreak. They claimed obedience to “higher law” over obedience to the Constitution’s guarantee that a fugitive from one state would be considered a fugitive in all states. Even when the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789, very few Black people and no enslaved people were allowed to vote or own property. New What Was The Immediate Cause Of The Civil War Pictures. Historians debating the origins of the American Civil War focus on the reasons why seven Southern states (followed by four more after the onset of the war) declared their secession from the United States (), why they united to form the Confederate States of America (simply known as the "Confederacy"), and why the North refused to let them go. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. [CDATA[ Whereas, according to Semmes, the people of the North had evolved accordingly into “gloomy, saturnine, and fanatical” people who “seemed to repel all the more kindly and generous impulses” (omitting—possibly in a momentary lapse of memory—that the original settlers of other Southern states, such as Georgia, had been prison convicts or, in the case of Louisiana, deportees, and that Semmes’ own wife was a Yankee from Ohio). The Dred Scott Case brought the issues of enslaved peoples' rights, freedom, and citizenship to the Supreme Court. By the 1840s, the abolitionists had decided that slavery was not simply a social evil, but a “moral wrong,” and began to agitate on that basis. Northern passions were inflamed while furious Southerners dismissed the story en masse as an outrageously skewed and unfair portrayal. Others fought to preserve the Union. The question “what caused the U.S. Civil War?” has been debated since the horrific conflict ended in 1865. On the night of October 16, 1859, Brown and a band of followers seized the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in what is believed to have been an attempt to arm a slave insurrection. The fight even erupted on the floor of the Senate when anti-slavery proponent Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts was beaten on the head by South Carolina Sen. Preston Brooks. But by the turn of the 19th century, slavery was confined to the South, where the economy was almost exclusively agricultural. One of the most shocking events occurred when one-quarter of the nation's army surrendered in Texas under the command of General David E. Twigg. John Brown and his family fought on the anti-slavery side of "Bleeding Kansas." At the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the enslavement of people not only remained legal in all 13 British American colonies, but it also continued to play a significant role in their economies and societies.