US Civil War, 40 years of intense conflict between the north and the south

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The Civil War was the result of 40 years of intense conflict and symbolized economic,

social, and poliitical diferences between the north and the south.

The South produced cash crops ... cotton, tobacco, and sugarcan for export to the north

and Europe it depended on the North for manufactures and for trade. The labor force in the south

included nearly 4 million slaves. Although the slave owners formed a small minority of the

population it dominated Southern politics and society. Slaves were the largest single investment in

the south. Fear of slave unrest ensured the loyalty of non slave owners to the economic and social


To maintain peace between the Southern and Northern supporters in the dmocratic and

whig parties political leaders tried to avoid the slavery question. Ignoring the issue became really

difficult. The Missouri compromise of 1820 temporarily solved the problem by makeing the 36°

30' parallel as the line separating free and slave territory in the louisiana purchase.

Conflict came

back when the U.S. borders were extended westward to the pacific. The Compromise Measures

of 1850 provided for the admision of california as a free state and the organazation of two new

territories Utah, and New Mexica. From the land acquired in the Mexican War. The principle of

popular sovereignty would be applied there, permiting the teritorial legislatres to decide the status

of slavery when they applied for statehood.

Inspite of the compromis of 1850 conflict persisted. The South had become a minority

section. Its leaders viewed the actions of the U.S. congress with growing concern. The north east

demanded for its industrial growth a protective tariff. The northwest looked to congress for free

homesteads and federal aid for its roads and waterwys. The south regarded such measures as

discrimination favoring Northern commercial jobs and it...