Civil War

This essay has a total of 2148 words and 9 pages.

Civil War


Writing about recorded history should be a relatively easy task to accomplish. Recorded
history is based on facts. Regardless of what time period one may write about, one will
find enough information about that time of period. The key is to put everything in a
logical and understandable manner. This paper will be about the Civil War. I will try, to
the best of my knowledge, to discuss the North’s and South’s positions and Arguments for
going to war, their initial military strategies and their strength and weaknesses. The
paper will actually be a summary from chapter 10 of the book Battle Cry of Freedom: The
Civil War Era By: James McPherson, "Amateurs Go To War".


Before discussing the war itself, one must understand the Union’s and the Confederate’s
arguments and reasons for going to war. Let’s start at the beginning, when the South was
first showing animosity for the North, which eventually led to sessionist ideas by the
South.


The Compromise of 1850 was drafted in response to the threat of a Southern Convention,
because of Zachary Taylors decision to carve out two huge territories in the Far West and
to admit them in the union as free states. Henry Clay drafted the compromise, which
includes eight parts. "The first pair would admit California as a State and organize the
remainder of the Mexican cession without "any restriction or condition on the subject of
slavery". The second pair of resolutions settled the boundary dispute between Texas and
New Mexico in favor of the latter and compensated Texas by federal assumption of debts
contracted during its existence as an Independent Republic. Clay’s third pair of
resolutions called for abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia but a
guarantee of slavery itself in the District. As if these six proposals yielded more to the
North then to the South, Clay’s final pair of resolutions tipped the balance Southward by
denying congressional power over the interstate slave trade and calling for a stronger law
to enable slave holders to recover their property when they fled to free states" Battle
Cry of freedom: The Civil War Era, McPherson James, (p.70-71). The Northerners hated the
fugitive slave law, because in the past it was never enforced and it never gave a trial by
jury to any runaway slaves. The only testimony heard was that of the slaveholder and he
usually recovered his slave. Not only that, but the slaveholder was compensated $10 for
winning the trial because of all the trouble he had to go through in recovering his
property. Because of the passage of the compromise, the North had to enforce the law which
it hated.


As the United States expanded westward, two new territories were carved out and the issue
of slavery arose again. The U.S. government let the two new territories decide themselves
whether or not to permit slavery. Since it was up to the people to decide the slavery
issue, Northern abolitionists enticed anti-slavery supporters to move into the new regions
and vote to make Kansas and Nebraska free states. Southern pro-slavery supporters did
exactly as the North did to make Kansas and Nebraska slave states. The two sides clashed
with one another over this issue and there was literally a Civil War in Kansas.


One particular situation that occurred in Kansas was the sacking of the city of Lawrence.
Pro slavery advocates of the city of LeCompton, Kansas set up a group or a posse that went
to the anti-slavery city of Lawrence, Kansas, ransacked, burned and literally destroyed
the city. In response to this attack by the Southerners the Northerners took revenge. John
Brown, a radical abolitionist, decided to do a similar thing to the Southerners. He
planned an attack on LeCompton, Kansas. Enroute to LeCompton he encountered about five pro
slavery supporters, and without remorse, hacked them to death at Potawattamie Creek in
Kansas. The entire country was slowly being divided into two parts and even congress could
not do anything to resolve the problems. Political parties were splitting along
North/South lines and even violence was a common occurrence in congress. The last straw,
which eventually split the Union, was the election of 1860. On the eve of the election,
Southerners had already agreed that if a republican wins the election, they would leave
the Union. Well, history shows that Lincoln, a republican, was elected and the south truly
did leave the Union. During the four months, prior to President Lincoln’s inauguration,
President James Buchanan did nothing to discourage secession. It may be even concluded
that he was sympathetic to the Southern cause. South Carolina was the first state to
secede from the Union, and by February 1861 seven more southern states followed South
Carolina’s example. Finally, when Lincoln took the office, all of the federal arsenals in
the south have been overrun by Confederate forces. In Fort Sumter, South Carolina, federal
troops were literally surrounded and their supplies eventually ran out. Lincoln made a
decision to send an unarmed supply ship to the harbor of Fort Sumter. Lincoln’s reasoning
was that if the South fires on an unarmed supply ship, it would be an act of war. If it
doesn’t it would mean that the South is bluffing and it really does not want to secede.
Well, on April 12, 1861 Confederate troops fired on the unarmed supply ship at Fort Sumter
and the Civil War began.


The North’s primary reasons for going to war was to keep the country together. The South
was fighting for "state sovereignty, the right of secession and interpreting the
constitution the way they wanted to," Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James
McPherson, (p. 310).Slavery was not the reason the Civil War began. Lincoln had argued
that it was unconstitutional for any state or states to secede from the Union, which is
why keeping the Union together, as one country, was the North’s most important cause for
war.


The South was fighting for the "sacred right of self government", Battle Cry of Freedom:
The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 310). The South felt that it was fighting for the
same reasons that the founding fathers had fought for in the war for Independence.
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