Oh dear, Civil War.

The Civil War may reasonably be considered one of the darker times in US history. The slavery controversy, the death, and, perhaps most importantly, the fact the “United States” lost the first, and most significant word in its name. But let’s take a step back, shall we? How did the Civil War begin?

We were taught in elementary school that the Civil War was the fault of the South. I mean, ALL the fault of the South. They were murderers and heathens who couldn’t understand why slavery was wrong, or maybe, and this is worse, they did understand slavery was wrong, but they chose not to do anything about it. That’s what we learned, right? And the North. Well, the North held angels and missionaries, all of them united (key word) against slavery. Ok. No. Not much of that is true.

Both the North and the South had a significant part in the start of the Civil War. As a wise A.P U.S History student, I can tell you all the reasons, that I know of, the Civil War began.

I’ll start with the North. The sweet, lovely, angelic North. Actually, the North was majorly responsible for the start of the Civil War. First, let’s talk about that whole “united” business. As late as 1843, says our American Pageant textbook, abolitionists were widely unpopular in the North and well as the South. In fact, even during the Civil War, the border states, fighting for the Union, still practiced slavery, and, they didn’t enforce the Emancipation Proclamation in those states until 1865 because the Union wanted to stay united. What does this tell us about the North’s role in the Civil War? The North was very unwilling to compromise. Lincoln refused to accept the Crittenden Amendments, which could have saved the Union, war and lives. I believe it is reasonable to assume that Lincoln justified this decision because he wanted emancipation or nothing. Well, that doesn’t seem right. As President, Lincoln was meant to be representing the entire country, but it seems as though he was only representing the views of himself and a few other abolitionists, though Lincoln was not publicly an abolitionist. We’ve already established that not even the North was completely behind the abolitionist movement, so wasn’t the rejection of the Crittenden Amendments a little unreasonable? By the North not stepping in and saying, “Whoah, there, Mr. President-Lincoln-sir, we agreed to union when we elected you, and that’s not it,”, I think the North may be very much at fault for the start of the Civil War.

Alright, time to discuss the South. Obviously, the South was in the wrong in many ways. The most well-known  way was slavery. Everyone, or at least I hope everyone, knows that slavery is wrong. At the time, I understand it was different, but, I believe that when a large group of people are telling you something is wrong, you should at least consider it. I think the southerners became at fault for the continuation of slavery as soon as they ignored the religious groups telling them that slavery was a sin. This denial allowed the South to become increasingly dependent on slavery and, then cotton, economically, socially and politically, The South created a way of life down there and it would have been devastating to part with their precious cotton kingdom. Of course, the North was dependent of cotton too. They used the cotton products for manufacturing and to sell. The northern and southern economies were so tightly bound together and controlled by cotton, that the end of the cottonocracy would have crushed the American economy. But, all this could have been avoided if the South had ended slavery when they figured out that it was wrong.

In the end, I believe the South played such a major part in the expansion and growth of the cotton industry and of slavery, that they are slightly more to blame than the North for the Civil War.


Author of passage: Antonio Arias







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