The Civil What…?

In order to fully understand the Civil War, which was a battle that centered mostly around civil rights for slaves and the abolition of slavery in the southern states in 1861-1865, we need to look at the roots and causes of this historical event. . .

Most people would say that the war was guaranteed after the Missouri Compromise of 1820, where the slave states and free states were evenly divided. Another valid argument is that there was no way bringing slaves to the new world was going to end peacefully (without a war). Although there are many different views as to when the mood was set for the Civil War, it is commonly agreed upon that the war itself centered around slavery and its abolishment. The real problems began when President Polk took it upon himself to begin an unnecessary war with Mexico over disputed territory. This was a smart move on his part when thinking about the large amount of land the United States acquired afterwards. However, The Mexican American War stirred up a lot of controversy about the new territory becoming “slave” or “free”.  The very fragile fabric of the nation was ripped apart when California and Texas came stumbling in. Like uninvited party guests, the new states created an awkward tension throughout the nation. The same goes for Kansas ans Nebraska, which had to have and ENTIRE ACT (the Kansas and Nebraska Act) passed in order to settle the dispute of slavery. If you think about it,  both the north and congress were walking on eggshells around the south. They didn’t want to step to heavily and crack all the eggshells by outlawing slavery in the rest of the territories applying for statehood. This would anger the south, so why did we think we could just push this issue off for another day? The people of the United States saw the disunion and saw that they potentially had a war on their hands.

When Lincoln took presidency in March of 1861, he knew what had to be done. The south was like a stubborn and angry child; the parents (in this case the north and the government) were constantly afraid of doing something wrong and causing a temper tantrum. Lincoln stepped in like a Super Nanny, and knew exactly what the south and north needed in order to mend the relationship. As they say, every healthy relationship has arguments and fights, the Civil War was simply one of them.  Jefferson Davis was arguing one side, leading the south and believing that the free-ing of that many slaves would ruin southern economy. Lincoln was on the oter end of the argument, for the north, and he believed in equal human/civil rights. Metaphorically speaking, before these two sides could go have a cup of tea together, they had to become friends, and they couldn’t possibly do that without settling all their disputes. As Honest Abe clearly stated, “…it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Of course, he was correct, we could not be a nation unless we buried the issue of slavery, which the south refused to do without a war. It was a chain of bad decisions that led to an ultimately good resolution; the end of slavery and the advancement of society.  Therefore, the Civil War was an important milestone in history. It marks a point in time in which we, as a nation, took a huge and wobbly step towards the greater good of ourselves and our fellow man.


Sources cited:

Kennedy, David M., and Elizabeth Cohen. “Chapter 19, 21, 22. Girding for War.” American Pageant. By Thomas A. Bailey. Eleventh ed. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.

“Chapter 21 – Girding for War: The North and South 1861 – 1865.” Free AP Notes, Outlines, Vocab and Practice Exams. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013. <;.

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