Essay on Causes of the American Civil War

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Causes of the American Civil War

The American Civil War was a military conflict between the United States of America (the Union), and 11 secessionist Southern states, organized as the Confederate States of America (the Confederacy). It was the culmination of four decades of intense sectional conflict and it reflected deep-seated economic, social, and political differences between the North and the South. One of the major causes of the Civil War was the seemingly endless political disputes over slavery in the Mexican Cession and Louisiana Purchase territories. It was imperative that the Democratic and Whig political leaders maintain harmony between their Southern and Northern supporters, thus, the platforms of both during
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Normally, as in cases dealing with tariffs, the Bank, and federal aid for internal improvement, Congress would have been divided along party lines. “This was a dire omen.'; (McPherson, 53).

In 1854, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas proposed the division of the Territory of Nebraska into two territories, that of Kansas and Nebraska. “Their status regarding slavery would be settled by popular sovereignty—a democratic concept to which Douglas and his western constituents were deeply attached.'; (Bailey, 414). It was the general assumption that, due to the slavery standing of the surrounding states, that Kansas and Nebraska would become a slave state and a free state, respectively. This “Kansas-Nebraska scheme'; would be a downright revocation of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. The plan soon became the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and northerners, who “regarded the repeal of the Missouri Compromise as an intolerable breach of faith…would henceforth resist to the last trench all future southern demands for slave territory.'; (Bailey, 415). However, when pioneers started settling in Kansas, groups of free-soilers, like the New England Emigrant Aid Company, came as well, angering southerners because “the northern ‘Nebrascals,’ allegedly by foul means, were now apparently trying to ‘abolitionize’ both Kansas and Nebraska.'; (Bailey, 421).

In 1857, the slavery supporters drew up the Lecompton Constitution, supported by President James Buchanan, not for the people of

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