Professor Margaret Keller
May 12, 2012
Final Essay: Causes of Disunion
The Civil War lasted four long years with 700,000 lives lost and is considered to be one of the bloodiest wars ever fought on American soil. The effects and causes of the disunion of the United States are multifaceted and complex. Issues of slavery, Westward expansion, and economic, social, and political differences all go hand in hand in contributing to the tensions between the Northern and Southern states that led to the inevitable Civil War.
The growth of the cotton kingdom made slavery the foundation to the Antebellum Southern plantation period. The invention of the Cotton Gin by Eli Whitney revolutionized the economy of the plantation (Jones et al. 220). With increase demand of cotton, came the increase of production, which required larger fields for planting and demanded more slaves to work the plantation. The institution of slavery became an important economic element that the Southern states needed to protect. The Northerners found growth and prosperity in factories and jobs from the effects of the Industrial and Market Revolutions which used wage earners instead of slaves. The Abolition movement, the Second Great Awakening, along with the rise of the middle class all began to shed light onto the differences of slavery between the North and the South.
The disputes between proslavery and antislavery forces continue into the new Western territories. California joins the statehood in 1850, but only after much debate, and the Compromise of 1850 is created along with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 (Jones et al. 313). Both of these issues are conceived to help deal with the balance between slave and free states coming into the Union, but they only give rise to further increase tensions and add sectionalism among the North...