Conflict over issues of how much control the federal government should have over the states, industrialization, trade, and especially slavery had increased tension between Northern and Southern states. After Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, 11 Southern states seceded from the Union and set up an independent government - the Confederate States of America. Theseevents led to the outbreak of the Civil War - a brutal, bloody, four-year conflict that left the South defeated and ended slavery at the cost of more than half a million lives.
Events Leading up to the Secession of the South / War
There were many reasons for a Civil War to happen in America, and political issues and disagreements began soon after the American Revolution ended in 1782.Between the years 1800 and 1860, arguments between the North and South grew more intense. One of the main quarrels was about taxes or tariffs paid on goods brought into this country from foreign countries. Southerners felt these tariffs were unfair and aimed toward them because they imported a wider variety of goods than most Northern people. Taxes were also placed on many Southern goods that wereshipped to foreign countries, an expense that was not always applied to Northern goods of equal value.
• Also, in the years before the Civil War the political power in the Federal government was changing. Northern and mid-western states were becoming more powerful as the populations increased. Southern states lost political power because the population did not increase as rapidly. As oneportion of the nation grew larger than another, people began to talk of the nation as sections. This was called sectionalism. Just as the original thirteen colonies fought for their independence, the Southern states felt a growing need for freedom from the central Federal authority in Washington. Southerners believed that state laws carried more weight than Federal laws, and they should abideby the state regulations first. This issue was called State's Rights.
Another quarrel between the North and South was over the issue of slavery.
• In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was reached. This was an agreement passed between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibitedslavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30' north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. Prior to the agreement, the House of Representatives had refused to accept this compromise and a conference committee was appointed. The United States Senate refused to concur in the amendment and the whole measure was lost. Eventually, the House passed asimilar bill with an amendment, introduced on January 26, 1820, allowing Missouri into the union as a slave state. The question had been complicated by the admission in December of Alabama, a slave state, making the number of slave and free states equal. In addition, there was a bill in passage through the House (January 3, 1820) to admit Maine as a free state.
• The Senate decided toconnect the two measures. It passed a bill for the admission of Maine with an amendment enabling the people of Missouri to form a state constitution. Before the bill was returned to the House, a second amendment was adopted on the motion of Jesse B. Thomas of Illinois, excluding slavery from the Missouri Territory north of the parallel 36°30' north (the southern boundary of Missouri), except withinthe limits of the proposed state of Missouri.
America was an agricultural nation and crops such as cotton were in demand everywhere. Cotton was a plant that grew well in the southern climate, but it was a difficult plant to gather and process. Labor in the form of slaves were used on large plantations to plant and harvest cotton as well as sugar, rice, and other cash crops. Slavery had been a...