Roots of Civil War

Explain the roots of the Civil War in the sectional crises and conflict over slavery in the 1850s. Was war inevitable at that point or were other resolutions possible?

The Northern and Southern Americans were contrastingly on the opposite of the issue of slavery during the 1850s (Rable, 2018). Although the significant number of the white people in the South had no slaves, the less wealthy and agriculturalists Southerners still idealized the slaveholding elites. The slaveholding elites controlled and remarkably dominated the lucrative plantation economy of the Southern states (Rable, 2018). The geographical location of the Southern states that placed the region in the area with inherently fertile soil for plantation attracted slavery (Rable, 2018). The slaves were to work in the cotton plantation without pay hence becoming the greatest asset to the Southern states. It is the reason why they were ready to protect slavery at all costs (Rable, 2018). However, the Northern states categorized slavery as unjust evil forced on African Americans. The belief in the North was that slavery was inhumane evil that needed an immediate solution (Rable, 2018). The thriving print media, an economic transition to heavy manufacturing, as well as slavery induced legislations at the time, helped to highlight the tensions that potentially led to the civil war (Rable, 2018). The opposing view on the issue of slavery led to the civil war.

The issue of state rights also led to the civil war. It was an aspect that was so vital for the southern states before the war (Rable, 2018). The southern states often felt intimidated and threatened by the Northern states. It has its roots back to 1828 during Adams administration. Adam enacted a bill that increased tariffs on import goods to product American industries from British companies (Rable, 2018). However, the taxes severely affected the southern economy that depended on the export of cotton to Europe. The southern states labeled the tariffs as an abomination. The openly campaigned for the nullification of the tariffs, and it never succeeded they begun to enact laws that over-ruled federal laws. They began to threaten secession from the union hence creating a lot of crisis with the predominantly the Northern States. The American civil war was inevitable due to so many social and economic differences with the Northern states.

Explain and chronicle the shift in Lincoln’s thinking about the continuation of slavery from secession to the Emancipation Proclamation. How and why did his thinking shift over time?

The Southern states greatly protested the election of Abraham Lincoln. They stated that they could not have a president who openly criticized the idea of slavery (Rable, 2018). The Southern states felt that President Lincoln won the elections on the platform of antislavery. It is at this point that South Carolina seceded from the union, a second attempt of such an act by the state. The action of seceding by South Carolina set a dangerous precedent for other states that soon followed and thereby leading to massive tensions (Rable, 2018). The strain was so tremendous to the extent that Kentucky senator John Crittenden suggested a compromise that stated that the concept of slavery should be preserved to the states that already allowed it to flourish (Rable, 2018). Even the states with the areas below 36°30’ line were supposed to continue according to the compromise (Rable, 2018). The compromise presented also restricted Congress’s power to interfere with the slave trade. The Crittenden compromise then called for the reimbursement to the slave masters who were prevented from recovering their slaves with no commitment to pull back the states who had seceded back to the union.

It was, therefore, evident that no amount of peaceful solution would be reached.  However, at the time when the Confederate forces began attacking the Fort Sumter, peace was now no longer an alternative (Rable, 2018). The differences between the North and south was now wide such that denied rights and conflicting opinions on slavery to the point that no compromise was then possible (Rable, 2018). It is at this point that Abraham Lincoln decided to change his mind about the proclamation of the emancipation of slaves. President Lincoln knew that a house divided ultimately falls and therefore it was the right time to unite the nation by all means hence making the civil war inevitable.

Compare and contrast the armies and navies of the Union and Confederacy at the start of the war through 1862. What types of men volunteered to fight and why? How were the armies organized and mobilized? What were the military advantages and disadvantages of each side?

At the beginning of the war, the confederate under the leadership of Robert Anderson had no national army and the navy to protect them during the war (Ransom, 2018). However, the union through President Abraham Lincoln had a regular and competent army of about 16000 men (Ransom, 2018). Most of the Union army was stationed at the west of River Mississippi. The responsibility of the Union army at this moment was to intervene between the Indians and the white settlers (Ransom, 2018). However, after Robert Anderson had surrendered Fort Sumter, union under the leadership of President Lincoln moved in through the mobilization of the state militias for 90 days. The four states of Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee declined the call and seceded as well from the union (Ransom, 2018). Therefore, almost one-third of the officers resigned from the steady army and merged with the Confederacy. It is the volunteers that joined both sides of the troops (Ransom, 2018). Most of the soldiers were motivated to the war by patriotism; the desire to defend their families and homes.

The north had a lot of advantages in the war as compared to the south. For instance, the Union had a lot of resources, huge population, and good transport network to transport weapons and industrial capacity that could not be compared to the south (Ransom, 2018). Most of the southern states were occupied by slaves who were 47% of the population (Ransom, 2018). However, the Confederacy countered the North’s advantages by requiring their soldiers to work for long hours. At the beginning of the war, 90% of the countries were under the north industrial capabilities hence producing weapons, but the south had only a single plant in Richmond (Ransom, 2018). The south also relied on the cotton exports to finance its war operations. But the union made it difficult for them to make any export to Europe.




Rable, G. C. (2018). Index to Coles County in the Civil War, 1861-1865.

Ransom, R. L. (2018). The Civil War in American Economic History. The Oxford Handbooks of American Economic History2, 371.