Assignment:Slavery and the Coming of the Civil War

Assignment:Slavery and the Coming of the Civil War

Assignment:Slavery and the Coming of the Civil War

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Slavery and the Coming of the Civil War
The civil war resulted from the longstanding tensions of American life and politics. People in the Southern and Northern states of the country had been debating on issues that affected them for more than eighty years. Slavery was the main cause of the American civil war since it was consistent in the various events that led to it. The northern and southern states could not agree on common laws about slavery, making it easy for the American civil war to erupt. The American civil war is one of the bloodiest conflicts in history. The disagreements over federal and state rights also led to various economic and political differences between the Northern and Southern States. As a result, civil law erupted due to chronological events that could not be solved amicably. Some of the most common events include the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and the Kansas-Nebraska 1850. The following essay will explore the three major critical events that led to the coming of the American civil war.


The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 is one of the critical causes of the American civil war. The Louisiana Purchase is one of American history’s largest land acquisition activities. Napoleon offered Louisiana for sale since France failed to abolish the slave revolution in Haiti (Davidson et al. 170). Also, France was experiencing a lot of economic struggles; hence Napoleon decided to sell the land. As the two countries negotiated for the Louisiana Purchase, Haiti, on the other hand, became an independent country formerly enslaved people were running. Although the victory led to the elimination of slavery in Haiti, slavery increased in Louisiana, creating new disagreements in the country. It was hard to determine how much newly acquired Louisiana was open to slavery. Since the purchase doubled the American size, the pro-slavery advocates argued that the new land should be full of slaves, and this became a center of events that led to the Civil War in the country due to the desire to expand slavery into the newly acquired territories (Davidson et al. 161). The disagreements continued until 1820, when the Missouri Compromise was created, separating the free and slave state areas.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was another critical event that led to the civil war in America. According to Davidson et al., the Missouri Compromise was the agreement between the Northern and the Southern states about the western territories that would be admitted into the Union as slave states (168). Henry Clay crafted the Compromise, which helped keep the Union together. Besides, the Compromise also maintained the political balance between the 12 Free states and the other 12 slave states in America’s Missouri Compromise. One of the reasons why the Missouri Compromise was accepted was because it ensured a congressional balance in the Senate (Davidson et al. 168). James Tallmadge later suggested that an amendment should be made to eliminate slavery in Missouri. However, the amendment failed in the Senate. Slavery became a contentious issue in the country during the Missouri crisis. Both sides knew that slavery could not be eliminated through the Compromise; hence it only became a temporary solution. Over the following years, tensions increased, and the conflict continued between the free and slave states until the Kansas-Nebraska Act brought the Missouri Compromise to an end despotism (Davidson et al. 169). The differences between the free and slave states continued to increase, creating ground for the American civil war.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act is one of the major causes of the civil war in America. The legislation was created by Senator Stephen Douglas, who also wrote the Compromise in 1850 (Davidson et al. 273). The legislation’s main aim was to organize the territory of Nebraska, the area that also covered Kansas. Douglas proposed to manage the vast region with or without slavery. However, the policy contradicted the Missouri Compromise; hence the question of slavery was left open. According to Douglas, he wanted to establish a railroad to serve as a basis for an onward march of civilization because he wanted to satisfy the powerful Southern senators like David Atchison (Davidson et al. 273). Although Douglas incorporated their requests into the bill, he knew that the step would raise issues, and the bill changed from discussing the railway lines to discussing slavery. When Douglas introduced the revised bill, disagreements started as some senators like Salmon Chase and Charles Sumner said the bill violated the previous pledges since it would create a region of despotism (Davidson et al. 274). The bill, therefore, opened the land to slavery, destroying the already established Compromise on the issues of slavery. Both the antislavery and pro-slavery activists tried to sway the vote, but they clashed violently. Consequently, this led to conflicts referred to as “Bleeding Kansas,” a significant event that foreshadowed the civil war in the country.
Civil became inevitable during the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The Kansas-Nebraska Act brought to an end the Missouri Compromise, hence creating two territories. The act also produced the violent uprising referred to as “Bleeding Kansas,” as the antislavery and pro-slavery activists tried to sway the votes. The enactment of the legislation was then followed by a huge political turmoil which resulted in the creation of the New Republican Party (Davidson et al. 277). In addition, the remnants of the old Whig coalition were destroyed. Although Stephen Douglas had made the bill hoping to bring peace and agreement between the two groups, the act was a prelude to the American civil war. The tension between the northern and southern states continued to increase, and the various political parties were full of pressure, which led to more tension in the state. The disagreements led to the country splitting as the southern states wanted to keep the slaves, and the northern states wanted slavery to be outlawed. The differences increased, making it easy for the civil war to erupt. By this time, the tension was very high; hence the civil war was inevitable.
It is evident that slavery was the main cause of the American civil war. All the events discussed indicate that the northern and southern states could not agree on dealing with slavery. It is evident that the as the events continued to happen, the rift continued to widen, making it easy for the war to happen. However, different leaders from the states tried to devise other laws to help the southern and northern states live in peace. As the years progressed, the old laws were eliminated, and new ones were formed until they reached a point where common ground was hard to find. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 was eliminated by the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and the Missouri Compromise was eliminated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The Kansas-Nebraska Act proved that war was inevitable since the states could no longer agree on how to deal with slavery.

Works Cited
Davidson, J. W., et al. U.S.: A NARRATIVE HISTORY, VOLUME 1: TO 1877. 8th ed., McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.


History 1301- Paper Assignment:

Slavery and the Coming of the Civil War

In February 1861, the seven Lower South states that had seceded from the United States of America created a new country, the Confederate States of America. Although the official beginning of the American Civil War was still a few months away, people in both regions braced for the response of political leaders. At his inaugural address in March 1861, President Abraham Lincoln argued that secession was unconstitutional. He reminded the nation that the “only substantial dispute” was that “one section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended.”[1]

A few weeks later in Savannah, Georgia, Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederate States of America, elaborated on this sectional difference. In his “Corner Stone” speech, Stephens outlined the critical distinctions between the Constitution of the United States of America (1788) and the Constitution of the Confederate States of America (1861):

The new [Confederate States of America] constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution, African slavery, as it exists amongst us, the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. . . . The prevailing ideas entertained by [Thomas Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution [1780s], were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. . . . Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. . . . Our new government [Confederate States of America] is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.[2]

From the statements and speeches of these two political leaders, it is clear that problems over slavery had plagued the country for decades, even generations. Your task in this paper assignment is to clearly explain the THREE most significant or critical events that led to the coming of the American Civil War. (In other words, what do you think were the three most significant/critical events leading to the Civil War and why?) In addition, when do you believe the Civil War became inevitable and why? (This can be a 4th event, or one of the three you already picked).

In developing your paper:

YOU CAN ONLY USE significant/critical events presented in lecture (the key terms at the beginning of every lecture outline). Significant/Critical events include historical events, people, or concepts/ideas. You may use information from the course textbook to support your lecture information- but your paper must be based on material presented in lecture.

YOU CAN ONLY USE ONE EVENT PER DECADE. The purpose of this assignment is to analyze change over time- not to see how well you took lecture notes for the last two days of the semester. Do not use events prior to 1780 because you need to focus on the post-American Revolution period. Do NOT use events from 1860 or later (this means you cannot use the Election of 1860 or Fort Sumter).

Paper Checklist (This is for your reference and should not be submitted):

Have you clearly explained the role slavery played in driving a wedge between the north and the south? Yes _____ No______

Have you clearly explained the details of your three most significant/critical events? Yes _____ No _____

Have you clearly explained WHY you think each of these events are among the most significant/critical events leading to the Civil War? Yes _____ No _____

Have you clearly addressed the question: when do you believe the Civil War became inevitable and why? This can be one of your three critical events, or you can introduce it as a separate event. Yes _____ No _____

Have you used any sources beyond this list: lecture, course textbook, digital materials posted for Lab Assignments or Lecture Activities (American Panorama and the maps)? Yes _____ No _____

Does your paper have an argument in the introductory paragraph that addresses the assignment question? Did you underline that argument so you know exactly what you are trying to prove (and so does your TA). If you cannot clearly explain your position, and underline that argument, how do you expect your TA to know your argument? Your paper will be penalized if you do not underline your argument. Argument is there and it is underlined: Yes _____ No _____

Do you have citations (footnote/endnote) at the end of every paragraph (except intro and conclusion)? Yes _____ No _____ (All evidence needs to be cited with footnotes/endnotes. There is a separate document in the folder on how to insert footnotes and what to include in citations.)

I cannot stress this enough- DO NOT go to the internet for information. If you want more information on something- look it up in the textbook, not the internet. This means no google searches, no AI searches/answers, no internet information!! The internet is not your friend right now- your engagement all semester in this class is your friend. Your lecture notes are your friend. Your textbook is your friend. Please use only materials we have discussed or read in this class. Have you used any unapproved sources, such as anything listed in this paragraph? Yes _____ No _____

If your paper contains information that was not provided in lecture/textbook/classroom discussions- the paper will not be graded. Any use of internet sources or texts not assigned for this course will result in an F on the assignment and may be grounds for Academic Misconduct. Using a friend’s paper from a previous semester WILL result in an F for the course and a file with Academic Affairs. Do you understand the consequences of Academic Misconduct? Yes _____ No _____

Your paper must be 4 full pages (not to exceed 5 pages) in length, 12 pt font, Times New Roman or Calibri, double-spaced, and 1” margins (be sure to check the default settings in your word program). This is approximately 1000-1250 words (not including citations). It is due before 11:00 AM on Friday May 5. Submit your paper to the “Paper Assignment” Turnitin link, in your Lab section of blackboard. Be sure you hit the final “submit/confirm” button and get your electronic receipt. If you do not receive the electronic receipt- your paper is not uploaded. The electronic receipt is your proof that you submitted the paper on time. The paper link will close after the 11:00 AM deadline and NO LATE PAPERS can be accepted. (The University sets grading deadlines, and late papers will prevent us from meeting those mandatory deadlines.) No emailed papers to the TA or instructor can be accepted. Do not procrastinate.

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.”

– Benjamin Franklin

[1] President Abraham Lincoln, Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861.

[2] Alexander H. Stephens, “Corner Stone” Speech, 21 March 1861.

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