Emancipation In 1860, the nation was locked in a Civil War. This tragic war, which lasted from 1861 to 1877, was mainly caused by the diverging society between the North and the South. The war divided the country between the North (Union) and South (Confederate). There were many factors that led to the war and the chief ones were political, social, and economic differences between the North and the South. Slavery was a major issue that triggered the American Civil War.
Basically the South wanted and needed it and the North did not want it at all. The South was going to do anything they could to keep it. Slavery and slave trades had become a big part of the South’s economy. The slaves were needed to work on plantations which helped the South prospered. During the 19th Century, the North worked hard on abolishing slavery, which they thought was a disgrace to the Union.
The South relied strongly on the slave trade and when the North spoke of abolishing it, the South spoke of forming there own country. These slaves were very valuable to the slaveholding planter class. They were a huge investment to Southerners and if taken away, could mean massive losses to everyone. The South especially needed more slaves at this time because they were now growing more cotton then ever because of the invention of the cotton gin. Within that time period of 50 years the number of slaves also rose from about 1,190,000 to over 4,000,000. The plantation owners in the South could not understand why the North wanted slavery abolished that bad. Slavery formed two opposing societies and could not have been abolished with out the Civil War.
The North was very industrialized and had a stable economy in comparison to slave-dependant South. During the mid-1800s immigration to the North greatly increased. Although this exploitation was extremely cruel and much like the treatment of the slaves in the South, the Northern economy profited immensely. Southerners said that slave owners provided shelter, food, care, and regulation for a race unable to compete in the modern world without proper training. But after the American Revolution slavery really died it the North, just as it was becoming more popular in the South. A surge of democratic reform swept the North and West. There were demands for political equality and economic and social advances.
The Northerners goals were free public education, better salaries and working conditions for workers, rights for women, and better treatment for criminals. The South felt these views were not important. All of these views eventually led to an attack on the slavery system in the South, and showed opposition to its spread into whatever new territories that were acquired. Northerners said that slavery revoked the human right of being a free person. Now with all these views the North set out on its quest for the complete abolition of slavery. In early 1860, South Carolina formed under a new flag, Confederate States of America flag, so that they could continue to operate their slave trade.
What followed was an ordinance of succession, which saw the other slave-populated states, also swears an oath to the Confederate States of America, also so that they could continue their slave trade. This situation was found to be unworkable and it divided the country in two. The North was very industrialized and had a stable economy in comparison to slave-dependant South. When new territories became available in the West the South wanted to expand and use slavery in the newly acquired territories. But the North opposed to this and wanted to stop the extension of slavery into new territories.
The North wanted to limit the number of slave states in the Union. But many Southerners felt that a government dominated by free states could endanger existing slaveholdings. The South wanted to protect their states rights. Compromises were proposed working toward an end to slavery. All these compromise measures resulted in a gradual intensification of the hostility between the slave and free states. The North was just drowning the South out. In politics, the North had an advantage over the South.
The North was more populated than the South and the South only counted slaves, which was big part of their populations as of a person. Since the House of Representative was based on population representation, the increasing population in the North gave them a big majority over the South. In the North, they strongly believe that majority rules and that they should make and execute the laws. These kind of political views were also part of the reasons for war. Basically the North favored a loose interpretation of the United States Constitution.
They wanted to grant the federal government increased powers. The South wanted to reserve all undefined powers to the individual states. Also the North wanted to develop a tariff. With a high tariff, it protected the Northern manufacturer. It was bad for the South because a high tariff would not let the south trade its cotton for foreign goods.
The North also wanted a good banking and currency system and federal subsidies for shipping and internal improvements. The South felt these were discriminatory and that they favored Northern commercial interests. The North had been going over the line, trying to take away their state rights. The South had to stand up for themselves and fight for their moral rights. The South, which was dependent on slavery, would have been devastated if slavery was abolished.
The prospering North was trying to control most of the South for their capital benefits. The existence of slavery was the central element of the conflict between the North and South. Other problems existed that led to succession but none were as big as the slavery issue. The only way to avoid the war was to abolish slavery but this was not able to be done because slavery is what kept the South running. Because slavery formed two opposing societies, and slavery could never be abolished, the Civil War was inevitable.
These were all the reasons why the South seceded from the Union and there was really no other way to avoid succession because the North and South had totally opposing views. The ending of the Civil War abolished slavery and determined that free labor was the only kind of labor allowed. Thus the ending was revived with the beginning of the Reconstruction. The 14th Amendment was appealed, helping to turn blacks into official citizens of the United States. It also provided for national citizenship and forbade states from depriving citizens of equal protection of the law. There were still a number of questions that needed answers.
Would slaves overuse their powers, since Congress had granted them rights? The nation would face a challenge in the future. Next stop was the Reconstruction. That is how emancipation changed the social, economic and political status of our nation. American History.