The main conflict
in the tensions rising between the North and the South was the controversial
question of whether or not slavery should expand or perish in order to keep the
country completely united. The Missouri Compromise was enacted and stated that
slave states must remain South of the Missouri borderline. Later, the Kansas-Nebraska
Act overturned the Missouri Compromise. The new act called for popular
sovereignty, which was the state’s right to choose between becoming a free or
slave-holding state. This created a problem as neither the North or the South wanted the other to
become more influential, by having free states than slave states or vice versa.
As the discontent peaked, the Civil War broke out. The South believed this was
a war of rebellion and Southern independence. The North believed it to be a
revolution. Slavery was the central conflict of the Civil War; however, it was
actually one of many conflicts. There were deep economic, social, and political
differences between the North and South. Each reason had various levels of importance; some of
the larger issues included: sectional disagreements over tariffs and state’s
rights, a series of failed compromises over slavery, conflict between Northern
abolitionists and Southern defenders, and Lincoln’s election. Other causes
include the publication of Uncle Tom’s
Cabin, lack of presidential leadership, and the Dred Scott Decision, all of
which had minimal
influence on the war. Overall, the most important cause for the Civil War was
Abraham Lincoln’s election and the least important was the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
candidate Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860 without even being on
the ballot in 10 Southern states. This was the final straw for the South who
felt Lincoln was against them and would abolish slavery. After the election,
eleven states, starting with South Carolina left the United States of America
and formed the Confederate States of America. Lincoln did not approve of the
South’s right to secede from the nation and sent troops to stop the South. This
movement of troops officially began the Civil War, making Lincoln’s election
the main cause of the civil war.
1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It depicted a story of what a slave’s life was
like. The book’s goal was to start a wave of anti-slavery sentiment across the
nation. Throughout the South the book was bitterly denounced and in some states
even deemed illegal, as it portrayed slaves as humans instead of possessions.
Stowe was regularly described as a liar and a villain in Southern Newspapers. While
it would be an exaggeration to say that Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin caused the Civil War, there is no doubt it was a
factor, albeit a lesser
one. The book was instrumental in
changing people’s perception of slavery during the time, but was not necessary. Eventually, slavery would have been
abolished, however it may have taken an additional 50 years to humanize slaves
and begin changing people’s perception of slavery.