What Caused the Civil War?

 "Causes of the Civil War"
 Introduction The causes of the civil war are many and complex. While the traditionalists simplify the cause to be the issue of slavery, the total situation which led to the war between North and South was much more than that. Political issues, differences in ideology, uneven levels of modernization and even the economics of the period contribute to the war between the two groups (McPherson, 2003). Considering the complexity of the issued involved it is best to start with a bit of historical backgrounds to lay down the foundations for understanding the causes. The foundations of the civil war can be found in the Compromise of 1850 which was the result of a heating situation between the northern and southern states. Had this agreement not been reached the civil war might have taken place a few years earlier. However useful this compromise was, it did not quell the need for war but merely averted direct action for a time (McPherson, 2003). The country needed a permanent solution for the problems between the North and South which could only come from the result of the civil war. While the North had issues with the power wielded by slaveholders in American politics, they also considered slavery to be an evil thing. The political power of slaveholders came from the size of their plantations and the number of people who were working for them. The South denied that there was any power base with the number of slaves on a plantation and instead pointed towards the population growth as well as the industrial might of the North which far outstripped the agricultural output of the South (Wikipedia, 2006). Political Issues The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 further showed the fears of the Southern states since it effectively negated the Missouri Compromise by declaring that popular sovereignty would be used to decide any questions connected with the slavery issue (McPherson, 2003). The Northern states did not appreciate this Act since the Missouri Compromise was an important step in maintaining certain states as free states while others could be motivated to become free states with economic pressures. The population and the thinkers of the North reacted very negatively to this Act and protested loudly. Clearly both sides were suspicious of the motivations of each other. Both suspected each other of creating a powerbase with which to dominate each other and both thought that the opposing group was out to strangle the other in economic, political and cultural terms. Strangely enough, both sides were also dependent on each other in nearly all matters. The divergent societies that had emerged after the American Revolution also created two separate regional biases which were very much at odds (Wikipedia, 2006). By 1855, there were three distinct groups that made up the United States. The Northeast had an industrial and services based economy along with agricultural inputs where the population was being increased on a daily basis by large numbers of incoming immigrants from European countries like Ireland, England and Germany. These immigrants not only provided the labor required in the factories and industrial units of the North, they were also hard workers who helped to build the economy of the region. The differences in economies often led to a debate which suggested that one side was supporting the livelihood of the other (Collier and Hoeffler, 1998). The present day Midwest was considered to be a group of free states but they were connected to the Southern states by trade along the Mississippi river and also to the Northern states by railroad (Wikipedia, 2006).  

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