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Causes of Civil War

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Essay questions

. Although Northern factories benefited indirectly by slavery, Northern social customs were not tied to slavery as Sothern customs were. What were the real, underlying causes of the civil war? Use 7 examples to support your answer

1. Economic and social differences between the North and the South

Since the signing of the Constitution the North and the South had developed into 2 distinct regions with two distinct economies and social structures. With the development of the cotton gin, cotton became very profitable. More and more plantations moved to produce just cotton and that required cheap labor, i.e. slaves.

On the other hand, the northern economy was based more on industry than agriculture. The souths new cotton industry caused a textile boon in the North, and cloths factories appeared throughout the middle states and New England. The south was based on plantations system while the North was focused on city life.

Socially, the effects of these industries contributed to the development of new classes in all parts of the country. In the south the new cotton industry produced a group of ultra-rich and very influential plantation owners. Slavery had become a fundamental part of the region's economic survival. However in the North, the rapidly growing textile industry gave rise to a wage-labor system and the development of large cities

Free labor vs. slave labor

The northern economy was based on free labor- they could work when they wanted and receive a wage for it. The southern economy was based on slave labor who were not free to leave and received food and lodging but no wages.

The question of slavery in the territories widens the gap between the Northern and southern interests

During the Mexican war, conflict started about what would happen with the new territories that the US expected to gain with victory. David Wilmot proposed the Wilmot proviso that would ban slavery in these new lands. This never passed. The Compromise of 1850 really never settled the slavery issue but only postponed the civil war. Tensions increased with the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854. It created 2 new territories that would allow the states to use popular sovereignty to determine whether it would be a free state or not. Thus it seems that Congressional compromise was unable to settle the issue of slavery in the territories.

States vs. federal rights

The north thought that no states had a right to leave the Union or secede. The south argued that a state could leave the union if it voted to do so. Abe Lincoln, an antislavery Republican is elected President in 1860. Not getting a single southern vote, southerners are outraged and fear that they could



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