CAUSE OF THE CIVIL Warn 1860, the world's greatest nation was locked in Civil War. The war divided the country between the North and South. There were many factors that caused this war, but the main ones were the different interpretations of the Constitution by the North and South, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the arrival of Lincoln in office. These factors were very crucial in the bringing upon of the destruction of the Union. They caused immediate war. In 1791, the tenth amendment was added to the Constitution.
The tenth amendment states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." (Bailey 16) This amendment was the basis in which the South kept slavery. The states believed that since nothing was written in the Constitution about who should decide about the slavery issue, that therefore the states had the power to decide. On the other hand, the North didn't feel such a issue was part of states' rights. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the nation; other southern states followed after, thus causing the Civil War.
After South Carolina adopted an Ordinance of Secession, the South Carolina convention issued a "Declaration of Causes of Secession" In it, it stated:" By this Constitution certain duties were imposed upon the several states, and the exercise of certain of their powers were restrained... But an amendment was added, which declared the powers not delegated... are preserved to the states... We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused... to fulfill their constitutional obligations... Thus the constitutional compact has been deliberately broken...
and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation." (Stampp, 44) South Carolina felt strongly that they should be allowed slavery by the Constitution, the North disagreed. One of the state's reasons for seceding was because they felt the other states had broken their obligation by not allowing them to secede. With South Carolina out of the Union, the War would begin shortly. Another trigger to the civil war was the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In 1854, another slavery issue was brought up- would Kansas and Nebraska be slave-holding or free states? From the Missouri Compromise, all states above the 36 o 30' line were to be free states and all states below were slave states.
But, Stephan A. Douglas, had another idea, he wanted to settle the problem by popular sovereignty. The only problem with his plan was that Kansas lay below the 36 o 30' line and Nebraska above it, which inflicted with the Missouri Compromise. Douglas had to try to repeal the Missouri Compromise in Congress, for his plan to work. Congress debated the issue. "So heated were political passions that bloodshed was barely averted" (Bailey, 414) Even though, Douglas was able to get the bill passed.
The repeal of the Missouri Compromise angered the North, they wanted to stop all future slave territory demands. "The Kansas-Nebraska Act-a curtain raiser to a terrible drama... it led directly down the slippery slope to Civil War." (Bailey, 416) Many people were furious. The North and South opinions were very different, congressmen even started carrying guns to congress. .".. fierce contest which accompanied...
the passage of Douglas' Kansas-Nebraska Bill is one of the said ironies of history. Northern and southern politicians... threw fuel to the flames of sectional antagonism until the country blazed into a civil war." (Stampp, 88) The arrival of Lincoln in office, immediately stirred up trouble in the South. Lincoln's position with the slavery issue was he would let slavery exist where it already existed, but wouldn't allow any new slave territories.
(Bailey, 434) In his inaugural speech he said "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. " Even with that statement, southerners found Lincoln as threat to them. Some even called him an abolitionist. Stephan A. Douglas, one of the other runners for the presidency said in a speech about Lincoln ."..
Mr. Lincoln invites, by his proposition, a war of sections, a war between Illinois and Kentucky, a war between the free States and the slave states, a war between the North and South" (Stampp, 80) Douglas believed Lincoln would cause war if he was elected because of his position in slavery. Lincoln, was elected president, but didn't receive much popular votes. Almost all his votes came from the North.
"In winning the North, the "rail splitter" had split off the South." (Bailey, 435) Sectionalism could be seen with the votes given to each candidate from the states. Four days after Lincoln was elected, South Carolina called a special election in which they decided to secede from the Union. Ten more states followed South Carolina. Civil War began soon, lasting five years of bloodshed. The Civil War was caused by many reasons.
The factors that were most responsible in causing the Civil War were the different views of the Constitution among the North and South, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the arrival of Lincoln as president. They caused immense destruction throughout the nation. If these factors were prevented, the United States could have been preserved and civil war could have never occurred. Works Cited Bailey, Thomas A. , and Kennedy, David M. The American Pageant.
Lexington, Mass. : D. C. Heath and Company, 1994. Dickey, Norman H.
ed. Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. Vol. 23. Funk andWagnalls L. P.
, 1990 Stampp, Kenneth M. , The Causes of the Civil War. , NY, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc. , 1974.