THE CAUSES OF THE CIVIL WAR



"The tragic ?fireball in the night? imagined by Jefferson had finally



rung. The Missouri Compromise had failed. Proslavery and antislavery



civilians clashed in the streets and took up arms. Thousands of Northerners



were willing to die for their beliefs. The Civil War had begun. The states



were at war with each other." This dividing battle between the North and the



South was unavoidable. The Civil War was caused by economic, political and



moral problems. It all started by an alarming increase in a need for cotton,



which triggered the building of a barrier between two territories in a growing



nation.



New Machinery was changing the textile industry in New England and



Britain. These mills needed more and more cotton, creating a new demand in



the south. For this trade with Europe, after 1812, raw cotton accounted for



one-third all cotton exports of the United States. By 1830, it increased to half.



Cotton quickly became a big money-making cash crop for the South and



North economy alike. But the demand also revived the need for slaves. The



plantations had to be worked, and blacks were a cheap, efficient way to get



the cotton picked. To make their jobs easier, Eli Whitney took advantage of



the new idea, and invented the cotton gin(short for engine). It rapidly cleaned



the seeds from the short, sticky fibers of upland cotton, the variety that grew



all over the South. The process was simple: a roller carried raw cotton along



wooden slats. Sharp metal teeth thrust through the slats and quickly pulled the



fibers from the seeds. In 1794, he obtained a patent. Whitney still earned little



because it was simple enough for manufacturers to copy. Even though the



machine made attaining cotton faster, slaves were still pushed to work harder



and produce more.



Blacks under captivity certainly led a harsh, unfair life. But that is



where the white southerners believed blacks belonged. Northerners knew



better. Harriet Beecher-Stowe, a female, black abolitionist was aware of



these conditions. She wrote Uncle Tom?s Cabin, which was published in



1852, and described the incredible cruelty and horrors of slavery. Stowe



wanted to "write something that would make the whole nation feel what an



accursed thing slavery is." Her novel became widely popular, and within a



year, readers had bought 300,000 copies. Wherever it went, it carried it?s



powerful message of the evils of slavery. She hoped the novel would bring a



peaceful end to slavery, but instead it seemed to bring the nation closer to



war. Of course, not all Southerners supported slavery, nor did all Northerners



oppose it. Yet antislavery feelings were on the rise in the North?few white



Southerners went to extremes. Their concern lay in maintaining the plantation



system as it existed. With her book she was able to gain many Northerners



support in the antislavery race, yet at the same time she outraged the



Southerners. Harriet?s novel was one of the many things that sparred mistrust



between the North and South. The North didn?t trust the South because they



refused to help Southern plantation owners capture slaves. North depended



on the South for making money, and the South depended on the slaves to pick



their cotton. This created the Northern fear of Competition. The North was



afraid that South would gain power of crops and put them out of business.



This meant that slavery would double. The North was torn between giving the



slaves their rightful choices, or keeping the economy balanced. It was a



matter of moral standards. The South wanted to break away from the union,



while the North still wanted the two territories to stick together. This conflict



was the main cause of the Civil War. The South argued about their state?s



rights. They said a state could nullify a federal law it did not consider



constitutional. Southern states based their right to leave the union, on the fact



the original 13 states had existed separately before they formed together for



the United States. The South could break their allegiance to the union because



they were not part of the original U.S. If they could form there own



confederacy, the South could continue the use of slaves while also keeping



their reign on the cotton industry.



The political issues that caused the Civil War, revolved around matters



that involved territorial subjects and slavery acts. In 1820, the Missouri



Compromise was worked out