The Civil War
One of the most crucial parts of American history is the Civil War, this war is the test to see if a nation can survive and be united with the idea of liberty and justice for all. The winning of the Mexican War introduces new territory to the United States causing controversy in what should become free or slave states. At the cost of the free and slave states is the amount of electoral votes within either party.
The constitution in which our founders state “all men are created equal” becomes more of an issue due to the amount of slavery Southern America is dependent upon. The test of the Civil War stems from the founders view of liberty and justice for all. The Southern view of all was far different from the Northern view. The Southern view of all was white male landowners. The Northern view of all included not only the white male, but had started to include the blacks and women as the Northern states moved to a more industrialized based region.
Kennedy Hickman states: While the South was devoted to an agrarian plantation economy with a slow growth in population, the North had embraced industrialization, large urban areas, infrastructure growth, as well as was experiencing high birth rates and a large influx of European immigrants. This boost in population doomed Southern efforts to maintain balance in the government as it meant the future addition of more free states and the election of a Northern, potentially anti-slavery, president. (Hickman, K. “The Approaching Storm”)
Based of the constitution that the nations founders had set out, liberty and justice for all included all Americans. Therefore this was crucial for the Mexican War and in turn the Civil War. As a result of the Mexican War, Texas becomes a slave state, therefore California becomes a free state. The Mexican War also introduces more western territory causing more controversy over slave or free states in those areas. Jennifer Roback Morse states: Without doubt, the annexation of the Republic of Texas by the United
States was a critical event in North American history. In the view of many historians, the annexation of Texas marked the point at which the Civil War became unavoidable. The annexation itself provoked partisan polarization, sectional acrimony, and political upheaval serious enough to prompt a realignment of the political parties. (Morse, J. “New Light on the Annexation of Texas”) Therefore the North and South were now concerned about how many electoral votes each would have.
If more were anti-slavery than those pro-slavery then all decision potentially could always be swayed in one direction. In order to keep this under control for each slave state that entered, a free state would enter. However, most of the South wasn’t slave owners, but the men there felt the pressure of the slave owning plantations to also take up arms and defend the South. “Most Southerners were hand-to-mouth farmers who owned no slaves at all. ” (Keegan, J. The American Civil War”) Most of the Southerners fought simply because they believed in the unity of the Southern states and not in the fact that the whole nation had to be pro-slavery.
Northerners believed in order to be a nation both the South and North had to unite on the slavery front, and on the basis of “liberty and justice for all” fueled the fight for the Northern states. The Civil War was fueled with the idea that “all men are created equal,” in turn the North believed that the slaves had to be freed. The Northerners had started to view the act of holding slaves as immoral and unjust.
People of the South, who were slave holders saw it as an advantage for the slaves keeping them from experiencing the hardships of the impoverished black Northerners working in factories and providing for themselves. The Southerners did not see that they were holding back a group of people from being educated, owning land, and providing for themselves. The act of owning slaves was not following the constitution because that meant all men were not created equal, this was the view of the North. Slavery was the main obstacle holding back this nation from being truly united in all since f the word.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America. ” (US Constitution, art. 1, sec. 1. ) With the beginning of the constitution it is easily deduced that they would agree with all the points made here that it was crucial to unite the North and South in order to uphold the constitution.
Abraham Lincoln states “a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. ” This sums it up best that now once united we as a nation can grow and become what the founders had only dreamed of, a nation united on all fronts ready to with stand the test of time.