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The civil war was not preventable. The tensions between the North and the South were too great to overcome. Civil War although some will argue was avoidable many will also state that it was unavoidable due to many events throughout the time frames of 1850-1861. The issue of slavery caused a sectional divide in the country. The biggest issue was the Compromise of 1850 which tried to prevent expanding slavery into western states. The Compromise of 1850 pushed the issue of slavery to the side and was more for expansion of the United States. Slavery and sectional differences continued to grow and tensions increased between the North and the South. There were many events that transpired to the Civil War and at no time with the differences between the North and the South were these issues going to find an easy solution.
Many events led our country to Civil War and further prevented the chance of preventing it. The Compromise of 1850 which was the initial cause to starting the ball rolling towards the Civil War. This act led to escalating issues and opinions between the North and the South. Some of the events leading up to an unrecoverable attempt to prevent the war included the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the new Republican party, “Bleeding Kansas” and the Dred Scott decision of 1857. The final event that made the war preventable and ultimately started the Civil War was the election of Abraham Lincoln.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Act of 1820 and forced the people of Kansas and Nebraska to decide on if slavery would be allowed or tolerated. The South supported the repealed act while the North felt betrayed since this was a long-standing Act and allowed the entry of Maine into the Union. This act ultimately destroyed the WHIG party, split the Democratic party and created the New Republican Party. “Bleeding Kansas” was the first place to demonstrate that the sectional crisis could easily be, and in fact already was, exploding into a full-blown national crisis. As the national mood grew increasingly grim, Kansas attracted militants representing the extreme sides of the slavery debate (American Yawp, Chapter 13).
Events like the Dred Scott decision in 1857 furthered tension between he North and South when Missouri gave him his freedom yet the Missouri supreme court removed that freedom and stated slaves could not sue due to having no alienated rights. The Dred Scott decision signaled that the federal government was now fully committed to extending slavery as far and as wide as it might want (American Yawp, Chapter 13). Republicans including Abraham Lincoln regarded the decision as part of a slave power conspiracy to legalize slavery throughout the United States (Burlingame, Striner, University of Maryland, Washington College, & Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission). This led to violent clashes between northerners and southerners.
The election of Lincoln’s ultimately intensified the state of affairs in the South and determined they the split with the Union. When Lincoln became president on March 4, 1861, it was clear the nation was headed to a non-returnable situation and war (Burlingame, 1). Lincoln’s election was the turning point in which war was inevitable. Even though things were already at their peak, South Carolina then “Declaration of the Causes of Secession” on December 24, 1860. The Union believed that President Lincoln was anti-slavery and in favor of the North. Weeks after Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, rebels in the newly formed Confederate States of America opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Within days, Abraham Lincoln would demand seventy-five thousand volunteers from the North to crush the rebellion (American Yawp, Chapter 13).
In conclusion the election of Lincoln caused the South to withdraw from the Union, then caused bot side to start the Civil War. It originally only brought the North to war but the firing on Fort Sumter angered the South and made them engage in the war. Lincoln was also from the North and supported the beliefs of the Northern people and the south did not support or agree with him because they believed the North would make most decisions for the country. Ultimately, the reason it caused the Civil War was an argument over right and wrong that caused many deaths and yet over time concluded the right to own slaves.
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