Sectionalism split the United States in two and caused the Civil War as well as many other national dilemmas. Slavery, political parties, tariffs, views on national rights versus state rights, and agriculture-based versus industrial-based societies were all factors leading to a separated nation and a war that effected everyone in the country simply because the North and the South could not see eye-to-eye. The disagreements began when Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Lincoln was against the expansion of slavery.
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However, the South had grown accustomed to life with free labor and was firmly against abolition of slavery (Document A). The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was a temporary fix to the problem of slavery for over two decades, dividing the United States by means of legal slavery. From then on, slavery was legal from the southern tip of the Missouri Territory up to Canada, and slavery was allowed south of the Missouri Territory to Mexico (Doc A). Thomas Jefferson supposed society would be settling in after the Compromise, or unable to reunite after both sides were contently given what they wanted (Doc B).
Along with obvious opposing views on slavery, the Union, or free states, and the CSA, or slave states, lived in different types of societies. The CSA was primarily dependent on agriculture; hence the push for slavery, but the Union was a more balanced society of manufacturing and agriculture. Economically, they had different intentions because of the base of their economies. The Union was pushing for higher taxes on products sold to other countries to earn more money for manufacturers.
A federal tariff was passed that increased taxes on outgoing products in 1828. This angered the South because they did not export many goods except cotton to Britain. Britain then struggled to pay for their cotton, causing the South to sell less cotton. This tariff became known in the South as the Tariff of Abominations because of the negative effects it had on the southern region. In 1864, to solve the dispute of whether the Kansas and Nebraska territories would become free states orslave states, Senator Stephen Douglas came up with the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
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This act led the decision of the territories up to the people and popular sovereignty (Doc F). The act said that once a person admitted for citizenship in either one of these territories, they would be allowed tovote regarding the states slave toleration. Lincoln hoped the territories would become free states in order that men who go there may “better their condition” as a free man (Doc G). The South became angered at Lincoln’s views and struggled to gain political representation because of the less-popular views they had.
The frustration in the South grew because they wanted to be heard, but their 867,276 slaves did not count as citizens, therefore had almost no rights (Doc G). The option of popular sovereignty made for a lot of wide-open traveling into the Kansas and Nebraska territories. “Bleeding Kansas” was a term that became popular during this time. The phrase referred to southern and northern forces supporting or even funding their fellow people’s trips to the territories in order to win the competition of popular sovereignty voting.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act and the issue of slavery were two of the biggest factors leading to the Civil War. The Dred Scott Case was a Supreme Court case at the time that was very controversial. Dred Scott, who was a free African-American from the North, moved to the South and was taken as a slave in the South. He argued that he should be free since he was born free in the North (Doc E). The disputable factor was whether or not an African-American, whose parents were shipped to America as slaves, could be given the same rights as an American-born citizen (Doc E).
One of these rights happened to be the privilege of suing in a United States court. After many arguments, it was concluded that Dred Scott was not to be given the rights promised to white American citizens because he was not part of the group of people in America when the Constitution was originally written. This case caused anger in the North because they thought there was to be no expansion of slavery. The situation with John Brown in his attempt to free slaves from the South may have caused similar feelings for northerners. IN 1959, John Brown appealed to Supreme Court admitting to what he had done.
The man references the Bible as his motivation for doing the things he did because he says, “That teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. ” He chose death over a change of heart from what he believed and so he got what he wanted (Doc H). Political party, popular religion, and traditional life came to be some of the biggest influences for Americans. The North and the South’s sectionalism caused fighting by disagreements that began solely from views on slavery, but led to many more factors such as rights, tariffs, and popularity.See More on War