The story of the American Civil War is simple and can be accurately described in three sentences: The North and South disagreed on many things. The South broke off from the United States and cause a bloody war. The North won and slavery was abolished
See? Simple, highly accurate, and true. It also holds the main points of this little piece of history. Unfortunately, that is all anyone in the general population knows. What they don’t know about the Civil War the reasons that caused it, this partly being the disagreements of the North and South, but also it this includes Manifest Destiny, President Polk, the Mexican American War, the 3/5 compromise. The list is long, and it could take volume after volume of encyclopedias to give you the whole idea in perfect detail in every angle, but we’re going to try our best to do this in a blog post, starting as back as 1787, where the 3/5 compromise was, well, compromised.
One of the biggest reasons for the start of the Civil War was avoiding and ignoring the real issue. While slavery was indeed one of the biggest disputes at hand between the North and South, it wasn’t the only thing they fought about. First of all, there is the obvious, slavery, then there are the two different economies of the two different sides, each built on completely different labor forces, and products. Then there was the educational part, the South was not nearly as educated as the North, in fact money was concentrated in small areas and in few people instead of more spread out like in the North. (Just to clarify, the North did have destitution, but the point I am making is the money was spread out federally and so education was not difficult to attain.)
Now because of these differences that the North and South failed to overcome, many compromises were made, and although some may have been good, the real damage was done in the long run because of the avoidance of the problem. The Great Compromise: actually a good compromise that is still in work today, the reason it is important to look at this one fact is because this is an example of a successful compromise. The 3/5 Compromise: not such a good one, this let the South have more representatives in house based on slavery. The Missouri Compromise: outlawed slavery above the sacred line but allowed Missouri to become a slave state. Although it has been said to have been successful for a long time and actually not all that bad, it actually was. Not only because it avoided the issue between states, but because it also created a fuse to a bomb which it also enlarged. And finally there is the last, most important compromise to start the war. The Nebraska-Kansas Act: although seemingly good on paper, it actually just gave the people of the North and South some ground to begin fighting each other. This compromise was the one to light the fuse of the bomb and see it burn through.
Another important fact to look at is the election of President Polk. While he started one war, the Mexican American War, directly, it may not have been the only one he started. His idea for America was one that was not uncommon in the people of the United States, this was Manifest Destiny, that it was God’s will for America to be a nation from ocean to ocean. Thus President Polk decided to get the land of California and Texas. He annexed Texas and set people to negotiate and buy California for the U. S. but Mexico took this the wrong way and then the Mexican American War went into full bloom. The U. S. won and there was a great majority of land added to the collection of the U.S. No one was really sure how to settle the Elephant in the Room, this being how they were going to divide the territories into slave states and free states. This was another spark to add to the already ongoing ember.
And thus, these pieces of history, along with some fighting in congress (Brooks and Sumner, mostly one sided fight.) and the Civil War came into being.
The important facts to learn about the Civil War are the Union expected a fast and brief war in their favor, they were wrong; the Union had many advantages, the South had good generals; Lincoln emancipated slaves during the war, without the consent of the South; and the war eventually ended on the Union terms but era of reconstruction was full of anger and tension to and from each other. Ironically this all ended with yet another compromise. This being the President Hayes would be elected as President (yay for North) and Reconstruction would end in the South, basically pulling out troops (yay for the South.)
So while the first three sentences accurately describe the Civil War, there is still more to learn from the past if you want to wisely proceed into the future.