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The American Civil War Essay Sample

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The American Civil War Essay Sample


The American civil war (War Between the States) (1861 – 1865) refers to the civil war in the United States of America. Eleven Southern Slave States created the confederate state of America after they had declared their secession from the United States of America.   Under the leadership of Davis Jefferson, the eleven states fought against the United States federal government which was being supported by the five border slave states and the Free states. The American civil war caused the death of more than six hundred and twenty thousand soldiers and an undetermined number of civilians, restored the union, strengthened the federal government and brought to end slavery in the United States. The economic, social, racial and political issues of the civil war shaped the reconstruction era that came to an end in 1877 and brought with it changes that made America a united superpower.

While considering the social, economic, and political changes, this paper is going to look at the root cause of the American Civil war.

The root cause of the civil war

Many History scholars will support the view of this paper that the root cause of the American civil war was the political decisions that were made regarding slavery. Many politicians blundered while making decision. Politicians such as Buchanan James, Pierce Franklin and Douglas Stephen made decisions and took actions that promoted slavery. These politicians are perceived to have made several political blunders, for a example Stephen’s handling of Nebraska – Kansas Act and the way in which the North were alienated by Buchanan (Davis et al 2009).

By trying to pass the Kansas – Nebraska bill, Stephen Douglas generated a lot of problems. Despite the fact that the Northerners wanted to see Nebraska developed the southerners were not enthusiastic because of its location and the conditions/terms of the Missouri compromise that all new states   would join the union as a free states. Stephen was aware that he needed to be supported by the Southerners so as to pass the bill through the congress. This implied that he was to change the bill and allowed for the southerner’s expansion of slavery in the region. The South also wanted the territory to be divided into two, Nebraska and Kansas, in theory slavery could have moved toward the North but Douglas saw this as unlikely. He didn’t see any problem in letting the Nebraska Kansas to decide their fate. He was of the opinion that by doing so he will succeed to win the South. This was not the case; instead the bill did the opposite of what he wanted the bill widened the rift between the south and the north. His action was perceived by the south to be a conspiracy at work. The south considered Douglas a traitor (Davis et al 2009).

This was not the end of political blunders; between 1854 -1856 there were many political blunders. President Pierce appointment of Reeder Andrew, who was a pro slaver as a governor of the territory was also a blunder. It was crystal clear that   he was not in a position to handle that situation. The pro slavers from Missouri crossed their borders and went and voted Kansas before they returned home. This act tarnished the popular sovereignty’s concept. It caused a lot of problems at the legislature’s meeting at Lecompton because it was dominated by pro slavers who enacted many pro slavery laws.  The northerners were angered by this and it cemented there believe that there was conspiracy of slave power that was working. Events worsened after the pro slavery attempted to arrest Lawrence. The attacks could have been avoided if President Pierce would not have blundered politically by appointing the pro slavery governors and Lecompton legislature (Motley 2007 pp. 7 -14).

            With the election of Buchanan as the new president, the country was more optimistic that the problem will be resolved.  However they were disappointed because President Buchanan alienated the north. In his cabinet he appointed he leaned towards the pro slavery, this is because six of his members of cabinet were slave owners. He failed to assure the North that there was no slave power conspiracy. He even caused more tension with the case of Dred Scot. Following the court ruling that a slave was not a citizen hence he had no power to sue the state, secondly he wasn’t a residence of Illinois this made the law irrelevant finally by residing in territory were slaves were not allowed did not freed a slave.  The northerners didn’t like this and they protested to President Buchanan who ignored them. What worsened the situation was that the president was in the court whispering with the judge during the court’s proceedings. Another political blunder that president Bachmann did was supporting the Lecompton convention, this proved to be a very colossal blunder (Hebert 2008 pp. 30 -34).


In conclusion, despite the actions that were taken by these politicians causing a deep rift between the North and South, these political blunders could have been avoided. However it would have required a politician with vast experience to prevent the Southerners and the northerners from going into war. Political decisions regarding slavery were the root cause of the problem.

            The writer of this paper is of the opinion that these politicians were faced with a delicate decision and no matter the decision that they would have made one of the sides could have still remained unsatisfied.


Davis, Fredrick, Jeffrey, Winker, Mires, Nash Pentana & Winker (2009) Currents of change chapter 10 the American People 6th edition Vol. 1

Davis, Fredrick, Jeffrey, Winker, Mires, Nash Pentana & Winker (2009) Slavery and the old south chapter 11 the American People 6th edition Vol. 1

Hebert G (2008) the history of the America 1861 -1865 civil war University of Michigan press pp. 12 -35

John M (1945) Causes of civil War in America University of Alexandria press

Motley L (2007) the causes of the America’s civil war G. Mainwaring publisher pp. 1 -12

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