The reasons for the South's secession from the Union and the reasons for the Civil War

Essay by hopearusUniversity, Bachelor's July 2004

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Between 1848 and 1861 there were many issues the northern and southern states of America were disagreeing on. These disagreements eventually led to the Civil War. The common myth of the Civil war is that it was a war fought over the issue of slavery. So if slavery was not the reason for the war, what was? The war was fought to preserve the union, to keep the United States as one. Understanding the reasons for the south's secession and the war requires the examination of the opposing views of the North and the South, the Dred Scott Decision, the Fugitive State Law, and the election of Abraham Lincoln.

The south depended on slavery for economic reasons and the loss of them would be devastating to the cash flow they were receiving from their slave-worked plantations. Northerners said that slavery revoked the human right of being a free person.

But the south justified their use of slaves for free labor by arguing that slave-owners provided shelter, food, care, and regulation for a race unable to compete in the modern world without proper training. When new territories became available in the West, the South wanted to expand and use slavery in the newly acquired territories. Nevertheless, the North opposed to this and wanted to stop the extension of slavery into new territories. The North wanted to limit the number of slave states in the Union. However, many Southerners felt that a government dominated by free states could endanger existing slaveholdings. But the north and south did not just disagree on slavery; they also had very different views on the constitution. The North favored a loose interpretation of the United States Constitution. They wanted to grant the federal government increased powers. The South wanted to reserve all undefined powers to the...