The US Civil War/Week 1
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- "The Civil War" is the most common term in the United States for this conflict.
- "The War of Northern Aggression" is a term coined by Southern Historians for this conflict.
Current public knowledge of the Civil War is actually quite different from the real causes of the conflict. Even over 100 years later, these topics are controversial and are more likely than not to cause debate. We encourage you to decide for yourself what you choose to believe, and do not let one person's bias or belief influence your own. This Course is made by several people from several parts of the world. Before removing something you believe is incorrect or controversial in this course, please consult several different resources and have full knowledge on the subject before you remove it.
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a major war between the United States (the "Union") and eleven Southern states which declared that they had a right to secede, or leave the Union, and formed the Confederate States of America, led by President w:Jefferson Davis. The Union, led by President w:Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party, which had opposed the expansion of slavery into territories owned by the United States, rejected any right of secession. Fighting commenced on April 12 1861, when Confederate forces attacked a United States (federal) military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
Reasons for Conflict
The American Civil War was a result of several reasons and events that built up to the eventual armed conflict.
- The Northern States did not institute slavery largely because of economic reasons. The North did not have soil that could sustain cash crops. The few farms that did exist in the North were mainly subsistence agriculture such as Corn, Wheat, and Potatoes. Instead, the North became industrious, using raw materials from the south such as cotton and producing a finished product such as clothing. The labor in these factories were cheap; Irish immigrants that had come due to the Potato Famine in Ireland and came to America for work and new opportunity. Historians today reflect that Southern Slaves had better housing, healthcare, and quality of food compared to the immigrants, whom were basically slaves to the factories.
- Sentiment against Slavery in the North was largely passive. Radical Religious activists, although few in number, became a serious concern for the Southern planting elite. Stories of horror from w:Bleeding Kansas and actions from radicals like w:John Brown caused the Southern Slave-Holding States to believe their way of life was threatened by the North.
- Tariff's created by Northern Lawmakers on raw exported goods crippled Southern profit. These tariffs were meant to force the Southern Plantation owners to sell most of their product to the Northern Factories well below the Global Market Price. This increased profits for the North while decreasing the profits for the South. Southern Discontent was prevalent in Washington over these ' Tariffs of Abomination'.
The South believed in a strong central rights, while the North believe in a strong state government. The South believed they had the power to declare any national law illegal. This is known as states rights. The North believed the National government's power was supreme. The South feared the North would take control of congress, and Southerners began to proclaim states rights as a means of self-protection.
The Presidential Election of 1860 had the Northern Republican of Abraham Lincoln victorious, despite his unpopularity in the south, including states like North Carolina not even having his name on the presidential ballot. Abraham Lincoln was known to be an opponent of slavery, he had still attempted to ease Southern worries by claiming he had no intention of abolishing slavery in his Presidential term. Despite his attempts however, Southern States felt like their interests and their influence had been compromised. 11 Southern States in total would eventually secede from the Union. First being South Carolina.