What caused the Civil War?

Essay by dulcita518University, Bachelor'sA+, November 2004

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Before getting into any specific details, the precipitating causes of the American Civil War were (1) John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry and (2), the election of Abraham Lincoln. The first reason was not very deep at all. John Brown was a man who was feared and hated in the South. He hated slavery and was committed to doing all he could to end it. He settled in Kansas and was involved in some of the violence that took place there. In 1856 he went to Pottowatomic Creek which was a southern settlement. He had a group of men with him and they attacked and killed 6 slave-holding men at Dutch Henry's Crossing. Brown and his men then disappeared. In October of 1859, he attacked the town of Harper's Ferry, Virginia, which had a Federal Armory. They seized a gun factory and an arsenal where military equipment was kept. Brown had about 20 men with him, and a battle ensued between them and the local militia.

Eventually Brown and his men were pinned down in a small brick building. President Buchanan sent the Marines to Harper's Ferry. They attacked the building and Brown's rebellion was ended. A small historical fact is that the first person John Brown shot that day was a Free Black Man. John Brown was tried in Virginia and found guilty of murder. He was hung on December 2, 1859. Southerners condemned Brown and blamed all Northerners in general for the raid. Many southerners believed that all Northerners wanted a slave rebellion in the south. When Brown was executed they cheered in the south. However, in the north they mourned and looked upon Brown as a martyr. As the election year of 1860 approached, the south became renewed in its determination to defend slavery, or to leave...