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Posted on October 2nd, 2012, by

The Civil War influenced substantially the historical development of the USA. The war led to a considerable change of political and socioeconomic system of the country. At the same time, the Civil War was the natural consequence of growing contradictions between the North and the South. The antagonism of Northern and Southern states led to the outbreak of the Civil War, but it is important to stress the slavery as one of the major cause of the war, which was strongly backed up by consistent economic changes which put Northern states into an advantageous position compared to Southern states.

The main problem that caused the war was slavery. Though there are other causes of the war, such as contradictions between North and South, economic supremacy of Northern states over Southern, etc. but slavery remained the most significant one.

However, the main, real cause of the Civil War is rooted deeper. What is meant here is the mistake, made by the founders of the Constitution, being aware of the problem of slavery, tended to ignore it. Moreover, they practically made it legal despite numerous declarations about equality of all people. As a result, by postponing the solution of the problem of slavery, both sides inevitably approached the Civil War. Such ignorance may be explained only by mutual interest in slavery of both North and South.

Briefly speaking, what happened and what caused the war were actions of American Congress and Government. They did not abolish slavery in the main legislative document of the country, i.e. in the Constitution, and it became a sparkle that started the fire of the Civil War.

Consequently, the possible verdict is that a strategy of the founders of the Constitution was obviously erroneous and a lot of Americans, regardless their social status, suffered from its consequences. At the same time it is necessary to learn this lesson and never repeat such mistakes.

Speaking about the main cause of the Civil War in details, it should be pointed out that it is a very complicated problem that needs a deep analysis in the context of historical reality of that epoch.  The majority of specialists agree that the main cause of the war was the institution of slavery (Norton, 127), which led to the Civil War. Facing this problem North and South came to increasing tension in political and socio-economic relations between states. Despite the fact that slavery was introduced in the US much earlier it was in a deep crisis on the moment of the Civil War, especially in the North while in the South it was supposed to become less and less profitable.

The gap and contradictions between North and South grew. At that period of time North developed much faster than South and Northern states were basically oriented on industrialization based on free labor and not on the labor of slaves that was absolutely ineffective in new conditions of the epoch of industrialization but the growing contradictions, especially those concerning the problem of slavery did not really find their reflection in the legislative domain.

Gradually the conflict led to the growth of tension between North and South and eventually finished in the Civil War after the election of Abraham Lincoln the president of the US. He was elected against the will of Southern states some of which were quite radical. For instance, “South Carolina”¦ unilaterally announced that it would secede from the Union if Lincoln were elected” (Epperson, 224) .

By the way, it was not the first time Southern states came into the conflict with North. Earlier “the President Andrew Jackson, himself a southerner, had threaten in 1832 to send troops to force South California to allow the collection of the federal tariff if that state persisted in its assertion that it could ”˜nullify’ any Federal law it did not agree with” (Watson, 245). Consequently it is possible to speak that the opposition between North and South had deep historical roots.

Nowadays it is possible to presuppose what would happen if the founders of the Constitution had a different approach to slavery, a more radical one. Probably it would be possible to prevent the war if the proper legislative acts were promulgated but the key role played the Constitution. Consequently, the only possible way to prevent the war was to abolish slavery constitutionally that would naturally eliminate the basic contradiction between North and South.

Unfortunately, such scenario is only hypothetical and, as history shows, it did not realize. Moreover, it is not a one hundred percent guarantee of peaceful coexistence of North and South for, in all probability, the states could hardly avoid the growth of gaps between Northern and Southern states that could gradually lead to the situation when North would be more developed than South. Naturally Southerners realized such trend and, being really equal to North at the moment, they would be ready to do everything in order to keep parity, including starting the Civil War.

Thus, in conclusion, it should be said that the Civil War was provoked by the slavery and contradictions between Northern and Southern states. The former outpaced the latter economically and the slavery system was unacceptable for a democratic society forcing the development of the abolitionist movement which threatened to the survival of the Southern lifestyle and economy. Such contradictions, being backed up by political tension between the North and the South, led to the Civil War.

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