Last updated: August 22, 2019
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Why Did The South Secede In 1860/61? Essay, Research Paper

The seeds of sezession had been sown early in American history ; rather literally with the cardinal differences in agribusiness and attendant acceptance of bondage in the South. From early yearss, the 13 provinces had grown up individually, and each had their ain civilization and beliefs, which were frequently incompatible with those held in other provinces. The geographical and cultural differences between north and south would attest themselves at regular and dismaying intervals throughout the hundred old ages following the drafting of the fundamental law. Tension reached a extremum during the 1850s, over the right to keep slaves in new districts. The Wilmot Proviso of 1846, roused acrimonious belligerencies, and fierce argument turned to physical force during the period of? Shed blooding Kansas? . The election of Lincoln, who the South perceived to be an emancipationist, in 1860 was the concluding straw, and the sezession of seven Southern provinces followed shortly after.

Geographically, North and South were really different topographic points. The grazing lands of New England were similar to those found in England, suited for a assortment of utilizations. Hot Southern prairie lands were perfect for cotton growth, a moneymaking concern at this clip. Following the innovation of Eli Whitney? s Cotton Gin, the South became progressively dependent on this harvest, and an full society grew out of it. The society was one of affluent plantation owners, who led a life similar to the landed aristocracy of England, commanding political relations and society of the twenty-four hours. In the Fieldss laboured Negro slaves, normally merely a smattering per plantation, though larger farms were on occasion seen. In add-on, there lived hapless Whites, tenant husbandmans or smallholders, who eked out a life from the land. This contrasted aggressively with Northern society, where industrialization flourished, making affluent enterprisers and using inexpensive immigrant labor. Given the localized nature of media, and troubles of conveyance two civilizations grew up in the same state, unusually different and frequently leery of one another.

Crisis struck in 1820, when the North/South balance in the Senate was threatened by the application of Missouri to fall in the Union as a slave province. Southerners, aware of their numerical lower status in the House of Representatives, were acute to keep their political sway, in the Senate. The North feared that if Southerners were to take control of the Senate, political dead end would result. Compromise was found in 1820 when Maine applied to fall in as a free province, keeping the balance. It was agreed that bondage would non be allowed north of 36? 30, except in Missouri, and set the case in point of free and slave province admittance in braces.

Sectional struggle flared once more during the epoch of Andrew Jackson, when South Carolina threatened to splinter over the Nullification Controversy, and tensenesss heightened following the heated Webster-Hayne arguments in 1830 over provinces? rights. This proved to he an on-going subject of the sectional crisis, and some historiographers have claimed that this was a cardinal ground for the dislocation of North/South dealingss and finally the Civil War itself. By 1833 the Nullification Controversy had petered out, with neither side yet prepared to utilize force. However, sectional differences were once more been brought to the bow, and sezession itself had been threatened for the first clip.

The jobs of the early 1800s were nil compared with the convulsion America experienced during the 1850s and 60s. To get down with, the crisis revolved around land conquered from Mexico during the war. A little-known Congressman, Wilmot, proposed a declaration to criminalize bondage in the new districts. It was defeated in the Senate, but its significance ballad in the proverbial hornet? s nest that it stirred up, with Southern Congressman outraged. A solution, nevertheless, was found with Henry Clay? s 1850 Compromise, which organised New Mexico and Utah as districts, without criminalizing bondage, and beef uping the Fugitive Slave Law to fulfill Southerners, while acknowledging California as a free province and censoring the slave trade in the territory of Columbia to delight Northerners. Stephen Douglas was instrumental in go throughing this statute law, by spliting it into smaller pieces, more easy swallowed by a notoriously divided Congress. Southern sentiment at this phase was still mostly in favor of continuing the Union if possible, but some provinces made it clear that if the footings of the Compromise were broken, sezession would non be ruled out.

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Ars 1850-52 saw the deceases of three great figures in American political history: Clay, Calhoun, and Webster. Despite keeping really different sentiments, they were however fervent union members, and respected elder solons. Clay, known as the? Great Compromiser? , did much to mend sectional lesions following the Missouri Crisis, Nullification Controversy, and Wilmot Proviso. The deceases of these experient solons, coupled with a twine of ineffective and weak Presidents, brought to an terminal an epoch of via media in Congress, and made a peaceable declaration to the sectional struggle seem far less likely.

The hitherto vocal struggle took a bloody bend for the worse in 1854, when the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, and set Cass? thought of popular sovereignty into pattern. While looking to be sound, popular sovereignty provoked a mini civil war in Kansas, with emancipationists and slave owners competing for control of the province and therefore the determination whether to allow bondage. At Pottawatomie in 1856, Missouri pro-slavery candidates raided a free dirt cantonment, firing belongings and assailing its dwellers. Disagreement over bondage now turned into violent struggle, with atrociousnesss committed by both sides. Through a Southern tackle of the ballot, a province fundamental law passed allowing bondage, despite free-soilers outnumbering proslavery citizens by three to one. The events of the late 1850s gave the district the unsavory rubric of? Shed blooding Kansas? .

The execution of the reinforced Fugitive Slave Law was critical to maintain southern provinces content. However, following the dearly-won and unpopular return of an at large slave, Anthony Bums, from Massachusetts, many northern provinces were loath to follow with this jurisprudence. The cost of Bums remotion was estimated at anything between $ 14,000 and $ 100,000, and Amos Lawrence, a Boston fabric baron, said of the event, ? we went to bed conservative, unionist Whigs, and woke up blunt mad emancipationists? . This indicates the heightening tenseness and feelings of normally quiet and moderate people, which typified public sentiment at this clip.

The volatile political state of affairs of this period was non helped by the Southern, and vehemently pro-slavery, Chief Justice Taney. In the 1857 Dred Scott instance he ruled non merely that Negroes were non citizens and hence had no right to convey a instance to tribunal, but that the Missouri Compromise had denied slave owners their belongings, therefore compromising the Fifth Amendment. This inexplicit declaration that an act of Congress was unconstitutional was rare and aggravated acrimonious dissent in Northern quarters.

However, if Northerners were angry over the Dred Scott instance, Southerners were ashen following John Brown? s foray at Harpers Ferry. Not merely had Brown attempted to motivate a slave rebellion, and gaining control the federal armory, but he was treated as a sufferer by many Northerners following his executing. Despite his crank strategy being a entire failure, the sympathy Brown received from some Northerners was excessively much for many Southerners, whose anti-northern feeling was now beyond control.

The concluding straw for the South was the election of Abraham Lincoln who, despite his protestations to the contrary, could non convert the South that he was non a firebrand emancipationist. The chance of a federal authorities controlled by the? Black? Republican Party was excessively much for some, and South Carolina was the first province to splinter, followed rapidly by six others. This did non needfully hold to intend Civil War, but few in the North were prepared to readily see the Union dismembered. Possibly they remembered Madison? s words at the drafting of the fundamental law ; ? great as the immorality ( bondage ) is, a taking apart of the brotherhood would be worse? . Lincoln? s election was the last in a twine of events which had heightened sectional feeling to beyond the kingdom of ground or restraint. Emerson? s warning that? Mexico will poison us? seemed prophetically true, given the acrimonious battle over bondage in the captured districts. When Clay, Calhoun and Webster died, realistic hopes of a peaceable solution to the sectional struggle died with them. Bloodshed in Kansas, weak Presidents, extraordinary departures on in Congress, a Chief Justice who was anything but impartial, extremists such as John Brown, and eventually the United States? first sectional party all served to foreground the cardinal differences between north and south. Lincoln? s election was the flicker that ignited the kindling of secessionist feeling, blowing apart the Union. Furthermore, worse was yet to come & # 8230 ;