Causes Of The American Civil War

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2001

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""¦ but one of them would make a war rather than let the nation survive and the other would rather accept war rather than let it perish and the war came."� -Abraham Lincoln March 4, 1865 What was the most significant cause of the American Civil War? Historians still debate this complex issue. While many theories exist, three main causes have come to the forefront of historical research, study, and discussion. The economic and cultural differences between the North and the South, when combined with the moral dilemma of slavery ignited the American Civil War. The Northern industrial economy, fueled by cheap immigrant labor, differed greatly from the slavery-driven, agricultural economy of the South. In addition, the socially mobile northern culture maintained different moral beliefs than the South's caste system, the enforcer of the rigid roles of slaves and landed gentry.

Arguments between the North and South had been growing for more than thirty years.

One important issue was over taxes paid on goods that were imported into this country from overseas. This tax was called a tariff. In 1828, Northern businessmen were instrumental in getting the "Tariff Act"� passed. This act raised prices of goods manufactured in Europe and sold mainly in the South. Its purpose was to subtly force the South to buy the North's products. This angered the Southern people because they were forced to pay more for the goods they needed (Rozwenc). Although most of the tariff laws had been changed by the time the Civil War actually began, the Southerners never forgot how unfairly they were treated by the northern businessmen. Northerners accepted the ideal of free enterprise. The advantage of the states in the north concerning industry was immense. The North had countless factories employing immigrants in numerous industries. Manufacturing was mainly...