Americans Against Americans: Civil War

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The civil war was a major point in American history. It was the breaking point of the United States of America and determined the future of America. Imagine the Union army not winning the American Civil War, where would America be today? Understanding the causes that led to the Civil War and the outcome it had on the people of America at the time. The most crucial issue that led to the civil war was the moral ethics of slavery.

There are many reasons why a civil war started in America. Uncle Toms Cabin was a book written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852. This book was a response to the Fugitive Slave Act. The act bounty hunters to capture runaway slaves and return them to their owner; anyone who tired to help the slave escape will be lawful convicted (?Fugitive Slave Act np). Stowe wrote Uncle Toms Cabin to talk about the horrors of slavery and help the people of the North understand what happens to slaves in the South. The South showed animosity towards the book and believed it was a misrepresentation of slavery. Bleeding Kansas. Some call Bleeding Kansas a smaller civil war because of the many battles fought and the number of causalities before the actual civil war. Anti-slavery and proslavery fought over the land of Kansas. The reason for this was because of the equal amount of slave states and free states. Kansas was a new piece of territory and needed to be claimed through popular sovereignty stated in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 (Uncle Toms Cabin np).

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One day, a proslavery mob attacked the town of Lawrence, Kansas, destroying a hotel and news press in hopes to silence the abolonist movement. In retaliation, an antislavery mob led by John Brown came back days later and a brutal massacre happened known as the Pottawatomie Massacre (Pottawatomie Massacre np). After battles and many casualties, Kansas became a free state due to popular sovereignty. One very important Supreme Court cases was Dred Scott v. Sanford of 1857. Dred Scott was a slave that traveled to a free state with his owner. Dred Scott sued for his freedom based on the terms of the North-west Ordinance and the Missouri Compromise. The final ruling of the case was that Africans or African-American descents could not sue the federal government because they are not citizens but property (McBride 2006). The owners rights to his property were upheld by the Fifth Amendment. During these times, the Republican party began to grow. Antislavery and proslavery was a big deal within politics and it ultimately ended up dividing the Democrats and Whigs because of the different views on slavery. This is how the Republican party was able to grow. The new party consisted of Antislavery Whigs, Democrats, and Free-Soilers and the main goal was to slow the spread of slavery, but not end slavery (Republican Party 2018).

The tensions grew as antislavery and proslavery was coming to a breaking point for the country. John Brown was an abolitionist, but he was an extremist. In a raid, he attempted to capture the Harpers Ferry (a federal arsenal). His mastermind plan was to arm slaves with weapons and create a free black state as a place slaves can escape to. Browns plan did not go as planned and he was forced to surround by Colonel Robert E. Lee. Brown was found guilty and executed, but this incident empowered abolitionists across the country. The Election of 1860 was split between four different candidates. The Democrat party was split between John Breckinridge and Stephen A. Douglas.

Abraham Lincoln was the chosen candidate for the Republican party and an additional candidate was chosen by the Constitutional Union, John Bell. Lincoln won the election with no Southern electoral votes and 60% of the nation voted against him, but he won the electoral vote 180 to 123. The vote was split drastically due to the split in the Democrat party. The South was not happy about Lincoln winning the presidential election and started to secede from the United States. The southern states began to secede one by one and eventually all becoming apart of the Confederate States of America. Lincoln had not yet taken office at the time of the session and he couldnt do anything about it. President Buchanan refused to do anything about it. After Lincoln took office in 1861, he informed South Carolina that he would have provision over the federal fort of Fort Sumter. Of course, South Carolina did not like this. South Carolina opened fire on Fort Sumter and fought for 34 hours until surrendering with no casualties. This battle was the start to a long treacherous war.

The civil war was a big tension putting Americans against Americans. The victory of the Union Army changed the course of America forever. Even though there are still many struggles today dealing with race and ethnicity it couldve been worse without the victory of a Union Army. I believe it is morally wrong to own another human being as property. The war was started on whether it was right to own a human being and force them to do work.

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