American Civil War Introduction Essay

Slavery was the central source of escalating political tension in the 1850s.The Republican Party was determined to prevent any spread of slavery, and many Southern leaders had threatened secession if the Republican candidate, Lincoln, won the 1860 election.

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The strategy of the anti-slavery forces was containment—to stop the expansion and thus put slavery on a path to gradual extinction.

Southern whites believed that the emancipation of slaves would destroy the South's economy, due to the large amount of capital invested in slaves and fears of integrating the ex-slave black population.

During the Reconstruction era that followed the war, national unity was slowly restored, the national government expanded its power, and civil and political rights were granted to freed black slaves through amendments to the Constitution and federal legislation. The Southern states viewed this as a violation of their constitutional rights, and as the first step in a grander Republican plan to eventually abolish slavery.

In the 1860 presidential election, Republicans, led by Abraham Lincoln, supported banning slavery in all the U. The three pro-Union candidates together received an overwhelming 82% majority of the votes cast nationally: Republican Lincoln's votes centered in the north, Democrat Stephen A.

Eight remaining slave states continued to reject calls for secession.

Outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan and the incoming Republicans rejected secession as illegal.

The Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people.

War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The Confederacy grew to control at least a majority of territory in eleven states, and it claimed the additional states of Kentucky and Missouri by assertions from native secessionists fleeing Union authority, but without territory or population therein; these states were given full representation in the Confederate Congress throughout the Civil War.

The first six to declare secession had the highest proportions of slaves in their populations, with an average of 49 percent.

Of those states whose legislatures resolved for secession, the first seven voted with split majorities for unionist candidates Douglas and Bell (Georgia with 51% and Louisiana with 55%), or with sizable minorities for those unionists (Alabama with 46%, Mississippi with 40%, Florida with 38%, Texas with 25%, and South Carolina, which cast Electoral College votes without a popular vote for president).

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