Causes of the Civil War

Causes of the Civil War
Although some historians feel that the Civil War was a result of political blunders and that the issue of slavery did not cause the conflict, they ignore the two main causes. The expansion of slavery, and its entrance into the political scene.

The North didn?t care about slavery as long as it stayed in the South. South Carolina seceded, because Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was voted into office. The Republican party threatened the South?s expansion and so Southerners felt that they had no other choice.
The United States was divided into three groups by the time the Civil War began: those who believed in the complete abolition of slavery, those who were against the expansion of slavery, and those who were pro slavery. The Republican party was formed in opposition to southern expansion. Their views were Free Soil, Free Men and Free Labor. The Republicans were anti-South but they were in not abolitionists. They believed that slavery was a flawed system that made the south ineffective and because the North?s free labor system was superior it must be guarded from southerners.

When the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, the South felt threatened, and because expansion was vital to the survival of slavery they also felt their way of life was being threatened. Because slavery was such an important part of Southern society, the South felt that they could not survive without it. That?s why they were not willing to compromise with the north. To own slaves was a sign of wealth and social prestige and poor farmers who could not afford slaves had a goal to work for. In the election of 1860 you can see that Lincoln only secured 4% of
the popular vote in the South, only winning in the upper 5 states, where in the north he received 54% of the popular vote. This shoes how united the South was in their dislike for Lincoln. If the South had been more divided they might have been more willing to compromise.

The central cause of conflict between North and South was slavery, but it was only in it?s expansion that it became a reason for war. The entrance of slavery into politics made it into a public issue, and once the issue became public the conflict had to be solved.

From the first years in American history, we have drank. Records of the first Europeans on America?s mainland tell about the colonists? ?great thirste? after their original supplies of European-made alcohol ran out. The settlers made their own wine. Eve Alcohol was imported from all over the world. Innovative colonists made alcohol from almost anything. One song from the 1700?s went like this:
If barley be wanting to make into malt,
We must be content and think it no fault,
For we can make liquor to sweeten our lips
Of pumpkins, and parsnips, and walnut-tree chips.

Not everyone approved of drinking. Many Protestant groups, including the Methodists and Lutherans had strong antidrink traditions based upon religious teachings. Prohibition was first tried in America to protect colonial settlers from the attacks of I The earliest reformers called for moderation, not total abstinence, but as their movement gained strength it demanded a complete prohibition of all beer, wine, and liquor. The first temperance legislation was passed in Massachusetts in 1838. Called the Many people in this era were beginning to be categorized as either ?drys? or ?wets.? Drys were against alcohol and wets were for it. Even with the increasing number of Drys in office, the liquor trade was one of the nation?s biggest industries in the lat Saloons were called ?the Devil?s Headquarters on earth? by some. Supporting the Dry cause were such enigmatic speakers such as Billy Sunday who said:

The saloon is the sum of all villainies. It is worse than war, worse than pestilence, worse than famine. It is the crime of crimes. It is the mother of sins. It is the appalling source of miseries, pauperism and crime.

With all of this prohibition propaganda, the Wets were having a hard time maintaining the upper hand. Large gifts of cash came for the Dry cause from rich industrialists such as Henry Ford.

The Drys saw the prize and sought it with a new fervor. Within one year and eight days of being proposed, 36 states were backing the Eighteenth Amendment. Prohibition went into effect at midnight on Saturday, January 17, 1920. This new legislation out Under the Volstead Act, 1,500 poorly trained people were assigned to enforce Prohibition. They were very ineffective. One way to get alcohol was to make it yourself. Many people hid stills wherever they could. Most people enjoyed the danger of the aut As an inadvertent result of the Prohibition Amendment was a loss of jobs. Some saloon owners closed down and opened speakeasies. Speakeasies were illegal nightclubs which sold liquor. Some beer producers continued to produce beer. They accomplished t Most of the illegal liquor came from other countries. Canada imported huge amounts of liquor which was then smuggled into the United States. Many smugglers acquired alcohol overseas, and then brought it back to the United States. They?d wait until nigh The illegal liquor trade was very appealing to the gangsters of the time. At first, the gangsters were welcomed because they brought alcohol. Soon, however, the public learned better. In Detroit, school children weren?t allowed outside at recess becaus Americans were intrigued by this. Many Americans were captivated by what was happening to America and reflected their feeling is the arts. Underworld, by Ben Hecht, was one of the first popular gangster movies. The American public loved these action-pa Americans grew anxious and more adventuresome. They dared to bend the rules more and more. With speakeasies, the harder to was to gain access too, the more people wanted to get in. These speakeasies changed the nation. Here, people could drink and be On top for the rampant disregard for the law by civilians, many of the law enforcers were corrupt. Many crime lords had the public officials on their payroll. Occasionally, as in the case of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma in 1927, the officials actually Then there were the good guys, those Federal agents who upheld the Prohibition laws to the fullest. Two of them were Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith, the self proclaimed ?masters of a thousand disguises.? They would put on disguises and go into speakeasies President Hoover took administering the Volstead Act very seriously. Total enforcement, however, never came about. The problem was in the federal government. It placed all enforcement responsibilities on the city and state government. The enforcement as long as it wasn?t sold in saloons or taverns. No compromise could be reached. Many Drys hoped that the passing of the 19th amendment allowing women to vote could prevent the repeal of the 18th Amendment. However, many women?s groups such as the wctu g The presidential elections of 1932 played a big part in the repeal. Hoover, being blamed for the Depression, lost to Roosevelt. Many Wet candidate won office that year as well. After being admitted to the House and Senate, the 21st Amendment was quickl One of Prohibition?s lasting legacies was organized crime. The vast amount of funds that the gangsters now had allowed them to gain control of prostitution, gambling, drug dealing, as well as other illegal activities.

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