Cause Of The Civil War


Cause Of The Civil War Essay, Research Paper

The Civil War is commonly thought to have been caused by the idea or institution of

slavery in the United States. Although slavery did play a part in leading to the Civil War, the true

cause of the United States of America being divided into two separate entities was succession.

More specifically the succession of the state of South Carolina from the Union. The succession of

South Carolina, the catalyst which ignited the conflict of the Civil War, was brought of by two

key factors, the southern nationalistic views and the strong leadership among the Cotton

Kingdom1 which South Carolina possessed.

Ten years prior to the Civil War the south, especially South Carolina, had a strong feeling

of southern nationalism. This was of no surprise considering all of the influences and events of

the time period, 1850. The historical meeting of the Nashville Convention, November 14, 1850,

was of the largest importance dealing with this issue. Cheves launched an attack on Henry Clay s

Compromise of 1850, saying to the southerners, Unite, and you shall form one of the most

splendid empires on which the sun ever shone, of the most homogeneous population… 2. Cheves

went even further, making a defensive attack on how the south should unite and further declined

that the institution of slavery was not wrong or immoral, but in fact was apart of their culture and

their society. Cheves s speech at the convention was not the only topic that brought together and

connected the people of the Palmetto State3 and the rest of the south, but the tariff and

nullification episode between 1827 and 1833 also gave the southerners a feeling of nationalism to

their part of the country. The tariffs gave the south such a disadvantage to the north that they had

no other choice but to band together. Cotton, the south s most lucrative and essential industry,

price, …had fallen from thirty cents a pound in 1816 to fifteen cents in 1824 4. Not only was

the south at a disadvantage economically and paying for the tariff but the north was also using

the money. Using the money only to profit their part of the country, the northern half of the

United States, through internal improvements and other items inevitably putting the south at an

even greater handicap than it already had. This conflict, the taxation of 1824, accomplished not

only putting the entire south at an economical disadvantage but also gave the south a feeling of

being a minority along with the feeling of southern nationalism . However, drawing the south

closer and putting them on the defense only created more problems for the northerners.

South Carolina and the rest of the south was not just angry with the north they were irate.

It would have been one thing if the Palmetto State was just upset, but to the north there was one

major drawback, the South Carolina possessed anger but some of the best leadership in both parts

of the now torn country. John C. Calhoun was an excellent example of one of these leaders. He

not only was able to defend South Carolina but also was able to draw other states within the

south to accept and help support the futuristic teachings and beliefs of South Carolina. Calhoun

preached, Though the Union is dear to us, our honor and liberty is dearer 5. This slyly not only

convinced the sectionalists that it was necessary that the two completely different countries

united or un-united into one must be separated, but also those who favored the idea of at one

point keeping the two entities united under one union. Through the preaching of John Calhoun,

Copper, and Cheves, who talked about the Wilmont Priviso, the nationalistic south slowly came

to side and support the state of South Carolina.

South Carolina finally succeeded from the Union when Abraham Lincoln, a president

with obvious anti-slavery policies, was elected an after a unanimous vote at a special convention

on December 20, 1860. After their succession the leadership, which they possessed, and a intense

and very strong feeling of southern nationalism, which they created, lead to six more states,

Alabama, Georgia, Florida , Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, all to succeed by February 1,

1861. However, when the seven states succeeded from the Union they unaware that this in it s

self was a crime and the fact that the federal government, who belonged to the Union, still owned

forts within the confederate area. One that was of great importance was Fort Summter, located

in South Carolina. The side, Rebel or Yankee, who had possession of this stronghold would

determined who would eventually win the Civil War. Naturally the southerners need the rampart

and so they attacked. This was the straw that broke the camel s back, the event that produced

these results: physical action 6. The State, South Carolina which was now part of the area known

as the confederacy, had caused the Civil War through their succession.

The succession of the seven states, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Florida ,

Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, lead and directed by the Palmetto State, and the actions of

South Carolina caused the dreadful conflict called the Civil War. Through their actions, forcing a

strong southern nationalism on themselves as well as influencing other states and purposely taking

control and leading the states known as confederate states to secession. However, with each of

the actions that South Carolina took to create a perfect union with states rights and to make a

homogeneous population that possessed unity, they drew themselves further away from the

Union and eventually created a horrible war in which slavery did play a small part in: the Civil


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