Throughout the entirety of early United States history the north and the south were growing apart and developing very differently. Leading into the 1800s the whole country was still almost entirely agricultural, however as the 1800’s progressed the north became more industrial. The south stayed primarily agricultural and dependant on few valuable staple crops most notably cotton which had been recently made much more profitable by the invention of the cotton gin. As the two regions economies and societies developed in different ways their opinions naturally grew differently as well. The most prominent issue the two sides faced was how to approach slavery as the country moved forward and this was possibly the issue the north and the south disagreed on the most. As the time went on the country developed free states outlawing slavery and slave states allowing slavery. The civil war was caused by extremely differing opinions on slavery and inabilities to compromise based economic dependence and moral views of slavery.
After the Mexican American war ended American had three new territories. The problem facing the country was whether to admit the territories as free states or slave states. In the compromise of 1850 it was decided that california would be a free state and Utah and New Mexico would be decided with popular sovereignty. This was seen as a win for the north and made the south angry and feel like they were losing the battle for slavery. The compromise of 1850 also contained the fugitive slave law.
The fugitive slave law basically stated that all citizens were required to turn in any blacks who were thought to be runaway slaves. The south thought this was necessary to counteract the many slaves they were losing from the underground railroad. This angered many people in the north who disagreed with slavery especially abolitionists who did not want to be forced to support slavery. This caused much anger in the north who felt that the south was trying to control them.
In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin telling the truth about slavery. This book became incredibly popular selling over 300,000 copies in the U.S. and over a million in in Great Britain which brought huge amounts of support for the abolitionist cause. This also brought many more northerners to support the northern cause to abolish slavery.
Two years later, in 1854, the Kansas Nebraska act was pushed through congress by southern supporters. To try and turn Kansas into a slave state many southerners from Missouri went to Kansas solely to vote for it to become a slave state. These people were called Border Ruffians. In may of 1856 a group of Border Ruffians attacked free city of lawrence containing many free slaves. The next day congressman Preston Brooks attacked Charles Sumner with a cane on the senate floor. Sumner had to be sent out of the country for medical treatment. Both Sumner and Brooks were re-elected and people even sent brooks canes to show their support. Then in 1859 John Brown Attacked Harpers Ferry, but was cap and hanged for treason. After this event the south viewed the north as murderers.
As the south was on the brink of secession and words of war were starting to travel through the air the election of 1860 was about to take place. The democrats had chosen Stephen Douglas who was unpopular in the south and caused the south to nominate another candidate to run in another election. The north chose Abraham Lincoln. South Carolina stated that if Lincoln won they would secede from the nation. This decision was followed by Alabama, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Although Lincoln did not win the popular vote he won the electoral college and as promised the seven southern states seceded from the nation before lincoln was inaugurated.
In Lincoln’s inaugural address he stated that the north and the south would always be together because they were graphically together. That same year Carolinians invaded the norths fort Sumter. Although no one was killed and the fort surrendered it called for the north to fight back. A civil war had been building up for generations, but it was the slavery controversy that could not be settled politically. There was too much riding on slavery for one side to back down and neither side was willing to compromise on such a large issue. Even when the states tried to compromise you can see that there was never a true solution every decision was just designed to put of the problem and try and stop it from growing. The only way anything was going to happen was with war.