THE CAUSES OF THE CIVIL WAR

"The tragic ?fireball in the night? imagined by Jefferson had finally

rung. The Missouri Compromise had failed. Proslavery and antislavery

civilians clashed in the streets and took up arms. Thousands of Northerners

were willing to die for their beliefs. The Civil War had begun. The states

were at war with each other." This dividing battle between the North and the

South was unavoidable. The Civil War was caused by economic, political and

moral problems. It all started by an alarming increase in a need for cotton,

which triggered the building of a barrier between two territories in a growing

nation.

New Machinery was changing the textile industry in New England and

Britain. These mills needed more and more cotton, creating a new demand in

the south. For this trade with Europe, after 1812, raw cotton accounted for

one-third all cotton exports of the United States. By 1830, it increased to half.

Cotton quickly became a big money-making cash crop for the South and

North economy alike. But the demand also revived the need for slaves. The

plantations had to be worked, and blacks were a cheap, efficient way to get

the cotton picked. To make their jobs easier, Eli Whitney took advantage of

the new idea, and invented the cotton gin(short for engine). It rapidly cleaned

the seeds from the short, sticky fibers of upland cotton, the variety that grew

all over the South. The process was simple: a roller carried raw cotton along

wooden slats. Sharp metal teeth thrust through the slats and quickly pulled the

fibers from the seeds. In 1794, he obtained a patent. Whitney still earned little

because it was simple enough for manufacturers to copy. Even though the

machine made attaining cotton faster, slaves were still pushed to work harder

and produce more.

Blacks under captivity certainly led a harsh, unfair life. But that is

where the white southerners believed blacks belonged. Northerners knew

better. Harriet Beecher-Stowe, a female, black abolitionist was aware of

these conditions. She wrote Uncle Tom?s Cabin, which was published in

1852, and described the incredible cruelty and horrors of slavery. Stowe

wanted to "write something that would make the whole nation feel what an

accursed thing slavery is." Her novel became widely popular, and within a

year, readers had bought 300,000 copies. Wherever it went, it carried it?s

powerful message of the evils of slavery. She hoped the novel would bring a

peaceful end to slavery, but instead it seemed to bring the nation closer to

war. Of course, not all Southerners supported slavery, nor did all Northerners

oppose it. Yet antislavery feelings were on the rise in the North?few white

Southerners went to extremes. Their concern lay in maintaining the plantation

system as it existed. With her book she was able to gain many Northerners

support in the antislavery race, yet at the same time she outraged the

Southerners. Harriet?s novel was one of the many things that sparred mistrust

between the North and South. The North didn?t trust the South because they

refused to help Southern plantation owners capture slaves. North depended

on the South for making money, and the South depended on the slaves to pick

their cotton. This created the Northern fear of Competition. The North was

afraid that South would gain power of crops and put them out of business.

This meant that slavery would double. The North was torn between giving the

slaves their rightful choices, or keeping the economy balanced. It was a

matter of moral standards. The South wanted to break away from the union,

while the North still wanted the two territories to stick together. This conflict

was the main cause of the Civil War. The South argued about their state?s

rights. They said a state could nullify a federal law it did not consider

constitutional. Southern states based their right to leave the union, on the fact

the original 13 states had existed separately before they formed together for

the United States. The South could break their allegiance to the union because

they were not part of the original U.S. If they could form there own

confederacy, the South could continue the use of slaves while also keeping

their reign on the cotton industry.

The political issues that caused the Civil War, revolved around matters

that involved territorial subjects and slavery acts. In 1820, the Missouri

Compromise was worked out