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Essay on The Road to the American Civil War

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The majority of speculations regarding the causes of the American Civil War are in some relation to slavery. While slavery was a factor in the disagreements that led to the Civil War, it was not the solitary or primary cause. There were three other, larger causes that contributed more directly to the beginning of the secession of the southern states and, eventually, the start of the war. Those three causes included economic and social divergence amongst the North and South, state versus national rights, and the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dred Scott case. Each of these causes involved slavery in some way, but were not exclusively based upon slavery.
The North and South were forming completely different economies, and therefore completely different geographies, from one another during the period of the Industrial Revolution and right before the Civil War. The North’s economy was based mainly upon industrialization from the formation of the American System, which was producing large quantities of goods in factories. The North was becoming much more urbanized due to factories being located in cities, near the major railroad systems for transportation of the goods, along with the movement of large groups of factory workers to the cities to be closer to their jobs. With the North’s increased rate of job opportunities, many different people of different ethnic groups and classes ended up working together. This ignited the demise of the North’s social order. The South was not as rapidly urbanizing as the North, and therefore social order was still in existence; the South’s economy was based upon the production of cotton after Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin. Large cotton plantations’ production made up the bulk of America’s...


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...Was Not About Slavery,” Confederate Veteran, 20 (September/October 2010)
Roark, James L., Michael P. Johnson, Patricia Cline Cohen, Sarah Stage, Alan Lawson, Susan M. Hartmann. Understanding the American Promise, Volume I, Chapter 14. Bedford/ St. Martin’s.
Symonds, Craig. “American Civil War (1861-1865)”, New York Times.
Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857.
“Important from Montgomery; Inauguration of Jefferson Davis as President of the Southern Confederacy. His Inaugural Address. Policy of the New Government Foreshadowed,” New York Times, February 19, 1861.
“Secession A Southern Convention Amendment to the Constitution,” New York Times, November 19, 1860.
“The Slavery Question in the Southern States,” The New York Times, October 3, 1859.



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