Essay on Was the American Civil Wars Inevitable?

Published: 2021/11/24
Number of words: 789

Western expansion directly resulted in a series of impossible compromises in the 1850s leading the United States toward the Civil War. Was the Civil War inevitable?

The civil war was a result of high tensions between the South and North. Both had different ideologies however the Northern people were determined to end slavery in the South as a majority of the people saw the violation of human rights. President Lincoln’s ascension to power was the nail in the coffin since he opposed the secession of southern states and was determined to reunite the states. conflicts arose as both sides had dissimilarities about state administration, slavery, and social development. However, the economic and industrial revolution kickstarted the unrest, and eventually, the wars were inevitable.

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It’s no secret plantations in the southern states were the backbone of the economy and the Northern push to abolish slavery would threaten the majority of Southern households. A household was powerful as the number of slaves they owned, having many slaves would earn one a status symbol in the community as it represented wealth. Slaves working in plantations enabled the southern region to export more than 75 percent of crops proving their necessity for the owners. Since the southern region had little or no industrial efforts, without slaves their economy would face an immediate slump and this is the reason they pushed for secession because not everyone was on board with their slavery ideology. On the other hand, the Northerners had a different way of life as they were inclined to the industrial revolution and were advocates of free labor. Their priorities had aligned with independence, equality, and liberty and had cultivated a culture where the society worked together to accomplish goals. Groups advocating for equality were formed and one Elizabeth Cady led reformers in New York against women’s cruelty and fairness in employment opportunities.[1] (Brinkley, 2016,331)

Failure of compromises also sparked unrest between the Northerners and Southerners. In particular, the Crittenden compromise aimed at establishing the Missouri Compromise line and pushing it westward towards the Pacific. The proposal stated that “slavery would be prohibited north of the line and permitted south of it.”[2] (Brinkley 2016,323). The southerners gladly accepted the compromise, however, this would have meant the republicans had to abandon their stance on abolition of slavery so therefore had to reject the compromise. Many political enthusiasts believe the failure of democrats and republicans to agree on the compromise fuelled the civil war.

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When Abraham Lincoln was elected in office his stance on slavery was national and his administration sought equality which southern regions did not take lightly. Lincoln being part of the republican party meant his ideals did not support slavery which facilitated 11 southern states to secede and form their government, “the Confederation States of America”. This instigated immediate actions from the union as they declared the secession of the southern states as illegal which resulted in the American civil war.

Years leading to the Civil war several activists published books that explored the intricates of Slavery and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s fictional book gave people insights into the horrors of slavery. Southern states called out some of the authors accusing their publications of slanderous and a stain to the southern name. these publications opened the northerners’ eyes to the torture of slaves which led to a call for action. The story of Henrietta Wood was a depiction of the inhumane conditions slaves were put through. She was born in Kentucky and enslaved by a man named Tousey and eventually she managed to get to the North where she was declared free but she was kidnapped in 1853 and sold back to Kentucky and re enslaved. Freedom was uncertain back then even after one was free they would be recaptured and the cycle continued. “Later as she was looking back upon her eventful life, she would even describe her few years in antebellum Ohio as a “Sweet taste of Liberty” as freedom could only be sampled in sips” [3] (McDaniel 2019,14)


McDaniel, W. C. (2019). Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America. Oxford University Press.

Brinkley, Alan, John Michael Giggie, and Andrew Huebner. The unfinished nation: A concise history of the American people. McGraw-Hill, 2016

[1] Alan Brinkley Unfinished Nation A concise History of the American People (2016, p.331)

[2]Alan Brinkley Unfinished Nation A Concise History of the American people (2016, p. 323)

[3] Caleb McDaniel Sweet Taste Of Liberty (2019, p.14)

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