The period between 1861 and 1865 holds a special place in the history of the United States. It is this period that could have witnessed the demise of the United States as a nation resulting to the fragmentation into two regions, south and North.The American civil war was a political war pitting the northerners against the southerners.
It was drawn on the basis that most northern states were proposing the ban on the expansion of slavery outside the states where it was allowed. The south was vehemently against this and believed that the federal government was encroaching on the states powers by supporting the calls to limit slavery.The south was threatening to secede and went forward to make its threat real. The then president Abraham Lincoln was at the forefront in advocating for the end of slavery and prohibiting any further expansion of slavery to areas that it did not exist.
Slavery was generally accepted as the norm in the south but illegal in the north although not many people opposed it publicly. This debate was raging on the eve of the civil war with the south foreseeing the collapse of their economic background should slavery be outlawed. The southern states depended on slave labor for their large plantations of cotton.The north had no use for slaves as its economy had taken an industrial turn, slaves were not considered economically feasible. They were against its expansion into the newly acquired western states.
There was a general belief that if slavery was limited and it expansion controlled it was very likely that finally it would come to diminish, the south was against this.The row over the issue of slave states and free states has its root to the founding of the United States. It is this row that would culminate into the civil war. This was partly because all along individuals loyalty was first and fore most to the states rather than to the union with the majority seeing membership in to the United States as a voluntary mission rather than a compulsory venture.The prospects of any such row erupting into a discussion were being averted by a compromise between the states. One factor that had curbed an escalation of any such disagreement was because none of the two regions were able to control the senate.
Both sides were willing to strike a compromise as long as this status was maintained. The Missouri compromise of 1818 is one such compromise that kept the union going despite the raging debate on slavery. The constitution of the United States did not accord supremacy of the federal government over the individual states as far as slavery was concerned (Angle, Paul M., and Miers, Earl S., 23).
In this compromise, the Missouri state was admitted into the union as a slave state while Maine was admitted as a free state. This was in consideration of the balance that existed and the knowledge that tilting such a balance would have devastating effects.The compromise measures of 1850 would also avert a possible fall out over whether to allow slavery into the newly acquired states in Mexico. The northerners wanted slavery not to be extended into those states while the southerners were for its expansion. The compromise resulted into giving other states to choose whether to take up slavery with the exception of California, which was admitted into the union as a free state.The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 opened the slavery wound after it allowed the whites in Missouri to decide their fate as far as slavery was concerned.
Abraham Lincoln in particular was vexed by this decision and would lead to the coalescing of anti slavery supporters to form the Republican Party. The balance that existed between the slave states and the free states was rocked after the election of Abraham Lincoln as the president of the United States in 1860.This was because there was a firm belief that he would take a strong initiative to curb the expansion of slavery. A republican win had been anticipated by the southerners and meant that the push for anti-slavery legislations would be executed.
At this time, the southern pro-slavery states had a minority support in the House of Representatives and in the senate. This spelt doom for the southern states. The Deep South states were to secede first.