Molly Firth Final
The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 truly was the “last straw” and the beginning of the Civil War. There were many factors leading up to war including difference in slavery opinions, trade, tariffs, and rights of the states. The election of president Lincoln was the cause of the war because the south knew that he was determined to end slavery and that would mean their lives would change forever. The Civil war began within five months of his election. The south was fearful, within three months seven states seceded from the union, and shortly after the Confederate army was formed. There had been years of tension between the north and south, it was inevitable that a war was about to begin.
The north and the south had many differences, a major one being their opinions on slavery. The north was fighting to end slavery, while the south was fighting to keep slavery alive. President Lincoln’s main goal was to save the union, he had never intended on completely ending slavery, but the south was afraid and didn’t trust him. The south didn’t have the industries, factories and advancements the north had access to. Their way of life was farming and without help from slaves there would be no success. The south was used to cheap labor by oppressed slaves, without it civilization in the south was doomed.
Trade and tariffs was another issue at stake. The north liked the idea of higher tariffs. Higher taxes on imported goods would make northern goods have a much cheaper rate. On the contrary, the south pushed for lower tariffs. The south had an import-oriented economy as their main way of life was plantation growth and farming. The invention of the cotton gin cut the cost of exported good tremendously as they were able to produce more usable cotton at a much greater speed. The south was fearful that the British and other importers would raise the rate of their goods to make a profit for themselves.
The south also felt that their states rights were being taken away since an abolitionist was elected president. The southern states dreaded that the federal government would be able to abolish slavery within individual states. Without slavery there would be no one to run their plantations, meaning trade would cease. While I am against slavery I can see where this would trouble the people of the south as they rely on it so heavily for their economy.
The election of President Abraham Lincoln was the last cause leading up to the civil war. His presidency terrified the south, that is why they banned together to fight for their states. He caused several states to secede from the union and raised a great fear among the south. With the abolishment of slavery their society, culture, and economy would end. They would have no goods to trade, no way to maintain their properties and life as they know it would come to an end.
“A Brief Overview of the American Civil War.” American Battlefield Trust. March 07, 2018. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/brief-overview-american-civil-war.
History.com Staff. “Civil War.” History.com. 2009. Accessed July 25, 2018. https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/american-civil-war-history.
Schulman, Marc. “Economics and the Civil War.” World History 400-300 BC. Accessed July 25, 2018. http://www.historycentral.com/CivilWar/AMERICA/Economics.html.