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Slavery and the Civil War

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Slavery was the primary conflict that led the United States into the civil war. Slavery was at the heart of the sectional standstill between the North and the South in 1860. All of the obstacles arising from slavery provoked the Southern states to secede, which in turn, led to the Civil War in 1861. (Engs)

"Slaves were treated not as human beings, but as laboring animals" (Douglas). They worked nearly all day everyday either outside in the elements of weather (good or bad), or inside fulfilling household duties. Slaves in the South formed a large minority of the overall population of the area. Most of them lived in small to medium sized housings which contained anywhere between five and 50 people. They were usually fed mostly pork and corn, which provided them with the sufficient calories needed to fuel their labor ("The Civil War"). This was a very unhealthy diet. However, in some cases, slaveholders would allow their slaves to extend their rations with produce that they had raised on separate garden plots specifically selected for them ("The Civil War"). Frederick Douglas, who was once a slave, said that "People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get" (Douglas).

As far as clothing, slaves were usually given thin, cheap, hand-me-down shirts and pants. Masters were constantly intervening in the lives of their slaves, doing anything from directing their labor, to approving or disapproving marriages. Some made detailed rules, and most engaged in constant interfering, directing, nagging, threatening, and punishing. Some of the enslaved women were even exploited sexually ("The Civil War").

The North and the South had different regards on slavery. The North was against slavery. The South was for slavery. This was because the need for slave labor in the North was far less than in the South. In the Southern states, slave labor was used to grow and harvest crops, which were then sold for profit. Southern economies were very poor and relied primarily on farming for money. In the Northern states, the economy was strong and mostly industrialized. Most of the work needed there was in factories, which were run by civilians rather than slaves.

In 1860, Mr. Abraham Lincoln (Republican) won the presidential election by a landslide of Electoral College votes from the Northern states. These results showed that the South was increasingly becoming a minority region within the nation ("The Civil War"). His mission was to stop the expansion of slavery; this was strictly depending on the Northerners ability to accumulate enough votes to overturn the institution.

Southern radicals hoped for a Republican victory as the only way to force Southern independence and keep the right to own slaves. South Carolina had already threatened to leave the Union when Lincoln was elected, and it did just that in December of 1860. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, and Texas followed shortly thereafter by February of 1861. These seven states came together and formed the Confederate States of America.

The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate



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