In his second inaugural address in March 1865, Abraham Lincoln looked back at the beginning of the Civil War four years earlier. All knew, he said, that slavery was somehow the cause of the war (Brinkley, 372). Barely any historians question the fundamental actuality of Lincoln’s announcement, however they have differed strongly about whether slavery, was the main, or even the key, reason for the civil war to take place.
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The debate on whether the civil war would be repressible or irrepressible had started long ago before the war actually took place. On one side were individuals who trusted the sectional threatening vibe to be unintentional, superfluous, and crafted by compulsive protestors. However, on the other hand, there were people who opposed this idea. Instead, they thought that there must be an irrepressible clash among restricting and persevering energies.
Although new comprehension has been picked up, to some degree the old contentions still hold on. The question was whether was the war unavoidable, also known as irrepressible according to William Seward, or would it rather be considered as a result of mishap, the consequence of a progression of “unforeseen” incidences or happenings that may naturally not have occurred and without which the result would probably have been rather unique? These two concepts are usually what the Americans have been expressing differed opinions for ages. In reality, the disagreements somehow always seem to return to the same question about the Civil War, whether it was repressible or irrepressible. However, it has been proven for the American Civil War to be irrepressible due to slavery, economical, and political reasons, and this is why it occurred in the first place.
To begin with, the ?irreplaceable conflict argument dominated historical division of the war from the 1860s to the 1920s. Because the North and the South had reached positions on the issue of slavery that were both irreconcilable and seemingly unalterable, some historians claimed the conflict had become ?inevitable (Brinkley, 372). With that in mind, the North was always against the concept of suppression from the earliest time of the 1800s. Moreover, this was also depicted in the arrangement of the Republican and Free-Soil parties, who basically demonstrated the political sentiments of the North over suppression. On the other hand, was the South, who constantly required the presence of slavery over the years.
Although this might sound incorrect, they still had strong reasoning behind their belief of maintaining slavery. According to them, slavery served to be their foundation for the agricultural business in that area, and in addition to that, they also believed that this concept was permissible by God, the One who provided them with the privilege to possess slaves. According to the tariff called the Calhouns Exposition of 1828, the Southerners had already demonstrated their opinions way in advance – when the Civil War was not even announced yet. The South decided to withdraw as their supposition was that the states had much more powerful rights in comparison to the people, incorporating the concept of possessing slaves. Another form of literary works that depicted the northerners view on the concept of slavery included Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852): the opponents were against suppression since they thought of it just like an unethical organization. The agreements that were exchanged during 1830 – 1860 constantly focused on the issues related to suppression, but however, the problem was extremely controversial to be proven wrong and stayed uncertain until 1860. Later on, The South cut off ties from the North and prepared themselves to face the Civil War. In this way, the Civil War was irrepressible and occurred due to the constant argumentation over suppression, and due to the distinction maintained by the North following the Revolution era.
Another reason that highlights why the American Civil War was irreplaceable was the fact that, although the greatest emphasis during that time was on the moral conflict over slavery, the struggle also reflected fundamental differences between the Northern and Southern economic systems. According to James Rhodes, in his seven-volume History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850, he stated that no one could have imagined that economic conditions were destined to prevail that would bring to naught the moral and humane expectations of the wisest statesmen of the time (Rhodes, 26). This statement clearly proves that there were major economic distinctions in the regions that grew drastically over the 1800’s. Some of the instances that portray the truth behind this statement involve the construction of two diverse economies, industrialist-based system in the north, whereas farming and agricultural-related system in the south. This proves that the southern economy consisted of slavery, whereas the northern economy consisted of free labor and industrial authority. Therefore, the stations of the two areas were entirely distinctive from each other. This led numerous southerners to believe that the treatment provided to industry laborers, who were barely paid, was awful compared to a slave in the South. The southerners started to fear the northerners, due to the abolitionist movement, which was directed by them. As each day passed, the movement against slavery grew stronger and one day, the northerners eventually had the ability and the courage to end slavery.
In this way, the downfall of the southern economic system made them financially weak, thereby ending the lives of each one of them. All of these evidences have been proved through the authors notes of The Rise of American Civilization, which depict that the American Civil War was irrepressible not only due to moral reasons, but also because the entire economic system was in the hands of the northerners (Charles and Mary, 431).
Finally, the third and the last reason that proved why the American Civil War was not irrepressible, is due to the ?regionalization of political parties. As stated previously, with all the ongoing separations between the North and South areas due to economic issues, there is still one primary piece tying the both regions together in the mid 1800’s, which were the two political groups. The Whigs and the Democrats are separated from one another due to constant argumentation over problems, such as the debate between taxes vs. the national bank, rather than profound argumentation over the issue of suppression.
In any case, with the advancement of the Republican party, excluding the Whigs part, and the Democrats turned into a southern gathering, it is thereby available to complete the separation of the areas. This tension between the two (North and South) regions is displayed in the example followed. When Lincoln, while representing the Republican Party, won during the presidential elections, he defeated three other candidates. However, none of the southerners participated in the election because they did not vote for him. With this being said, his victory in the elections was therefore viewed as a contribution from only the northern citizens. The reason behind this reaction from the southerners was because those whose actions contribute to the outbreak of war between North and South, again with Lincoln at their head, are roundly criticized, while those who seek compromise are praised (Cooper, xvi, 342).
Although Lincoln specified and pictured during his speech, addressed in 1858, that a house divided against itself cannot stand and that this government cant endure, permanently, half-slave and half-free (House Divided Speech), he still contradicted his own statement when he stood for ?antislavery and went against the southerners, knowing that it was dividing the nation into two parts. With that said, the previous example obviously demonstrated that Lincoln was only an ?average individual, who didnt know how to keep his word or carry-out reasonable duties as a president, such as having the potential and courage to stop the protestor when he noticed them as a danger to other individuals. These are some of the opinions that the southerners formed about Lincoln and his work as a president.
This is because the southerners had deeply disliked and doubted him most of the time. Instead of providing him with a fair chance of helping out, the southerners took a drastic step instead: Almost eleven southern states withdrew from the union and formed a separate country called the Confederate States of America, and appointed Jefferson Davis as its president, which was later considered by the U.S. overseers as a demonstration of conspiring and being treacherous. However, When the American government found that the crisis was real, many of them sought to persuade the seceding states to return to the Union, which clearly displayed that Washingtons sociability, therefore, defined both the successes and the failures of federal policy making (Shelden, xiv, 296). In this way, the complete separation of the north and south regions for even a short time period, due to political pressures, proves that the American Civil War was definitely irrepressible.
In conclusion, the American Civil War was definitely the biggest clash that ever happened throughout the history. All the battles and conflicts were resolved on this soil. Although it took for almost four long years for the issues to be resolved, it is still recalled today as the most life-threatening and apparently the most critical occasion in the country’s history. With that being said, the American Civil War was definitely irrepressible because there were factors like slavery, economic, and political reasons that caused disturbances between the northern and southern states, eventually being the primary reason to instigate the civil war.
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