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Why didn't the North and South split before Amer. Civil War? Watch

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    I am learning for my history exam about the history of the United States.

    The Southern states were thinking about stepping out of the United States before the Civil War. The US was divided into the North who wanted to abolish slavery and the South who did not want that.

    I understand why the South wanted to step out and all, but the North was unyielding and wanted the South and North to stay united. This led to the Civil war.

    What was the motive of the North to keep the Southern states in the union. Wouldn't it have been much easier to let the southern states go and let them have their slavery and such?

    My text book is not very clear on this, and it just seems illogical to me?
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    1. The country was stronger united, south was a huge area of US and was important to them
    2. The moral reason, they don't want slavery going on, especially in there own back yard
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    Hmm, okay, thanks.

    I think the Northeners were less racist than I thought then, if they would go into war for the Afro Americans.

    I honestly would have thought that they must have had another good reason if you put it in historic perspective, because even if the north wanted to abolish slavery, that didn't mean that they saw the Afro Americans as their best friends, they were still racist.
    Why sacrifice that many people of your own people?

    Also, if the South did step out, that surely did not mean that the South and North couldn't still do business together. They could have come up with some sort of agreement so the economic disadvantages could have been minimized.

    Anyway, i think I might be getting into this to deep. I should probably stick with my textbook for now, but I find this stuff thought provoking and will definately look into it later .
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    The old 'they wanted to abolish slavery' point is a total myth, it was solely a case of holding the union together, the issue of slavery while a contentious issue at the time didn't cause the civil war, states rights and their rights to secede from the union did.

    While it is true there was a substantial body of anti slavery opinion in the North at the time, the war was not about Slavery until Lincoln's famous Emancipation Proclaimation, and it's been stated in numerous publications that he was wary of such a speech while the South were in the ascendency and he needed a victory to carry it, thats why it didn't come until after Gettysburg, he used the momentum of that and combined it with a call for freedom of the blacks to finally get the Union totally on the side of the war, before that there was substantial dissentation within the Union forces, and constant attempts to negotiate a peace with the South, not to mention the draft riots. It was a simple act of politics, Lincoln knew that declaring slaves free in the South would cause all sorts of problems internally for the Confederates and would sway the general public of the Union to a pro war position, and he used it for all it was worth.

    There was also substantial fear in the North that Britain and France would use the split of America to further their interests in the Americas and cripple the country and it's emerging industry, this was especially prevalent when France and Britain were teetering on the edge of intervening in favour of the Confederates.
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    Okay, wow, thanks a lot, that seems to be a better explanation! My text book links the war directly to slavery and really nothing else much, I just looked it up, and there's one sentence that (roughly translated to English from Dutch) says:
    'The Northern states thought that the Southern states had no right to secede from the union.' However, the rest is all about slavery...

    Anyway, thanks a lot again!
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    I would agree with the post by Ajp100688 and also mention, on the timing issue, the growing economic divergence between the North, which was becoming more industrial, and the South that was still largely agrarian. The difference earlier had not been so significant but by 1850s, with the Industrial Revolution in full swing in the North, the economic needs of the distinct regions were more marked.
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    (Original post by ajp100688)
    The old 'they wanted to abolish slavery' point is a total myth, it was solely a case of holding the union together, the issue of slavery while a contentious issue at the time didn't cause the civil war, states rights and their rights to secede from the union did.

    While it is true there was a substantial body of anti slavery opinion in the North at the time, the war was not about Slavery until Lincoln's famous Emancipation Proclaimation, and it's been stated in numerous publications that he was wary of such a speech while the South were in the ascendency and he needed a victory to carry it, thats why it didn't come until after Gettysburg, he used the momentum of that and combined it with a call for freedom of the blacks to finally get the Union totally on the side of the war, before that there was substantial dissentation within the Union forces, and constant attempts to negotiate a peace with the South, not to mention the draft riots. It was a simple act of politics, Lincoln knew that declaring slaves free in the South would cause all sorts of problems internally for the Confederates and would sway the general public of the Union to a pro war position, and he used it for all it was worth.

    There was also substantial fear in the North that Britain and France would use the split of America to further their interests in the Americas and cripple the country and it's emerging industry, this was especially prevalent when France and Britain were teetering on the edge of intervening in favour of the Confederates.
    Your conclusion that the issue of slavery didnt cause the war doesnt follow from your premise that most northerners didn't want to abolish slavery. Firstly, the influential northerners e.g., Garrison did want to abolish slavery. Secondly, of course states' rights etc were crucial, but in what way did these issues find expression? Slavery.

    States rights as an issue was first raised in 1832 by the Nullification Crisis. This was brought about because the South and the North had radically different attitudes to protectionism, which drove S. Carolina to denounce the authority of the federal government (which in this intance had acted to protect Northern interests). Why did they have different attitudes to protectionism? Because the South consumed more goods than they exported, hence they were hurt by the 20% tariff. Why did they consume more goods than than they manufactured? The economic implications of the slave system.

    There are countless more examples of slavery becoming the dominant issue of the time, and ultimately what drove the sections to war. To illustrate another example, why did the second party system breakdown, precipitating the rise of the Republican party in 1860? (In fact...what was the platform of the Republican party?! anti-slavery.) The expansion of slavery had resulted in sectional loyalties superseding party loyalties e.g., wilmot proviso, compromise of 1850 etc;

    I take your point about the war not being MADE OUT to be about slavery. This is because it would have alienated many of the border states, who didn't want to fight a war for the negro. Nonetheless, if we investigate the years before the war, it seems somewhat imprudent to say the issue was not a major major, perhaps the foremost, cause of the war. Every issue that has subsequently been proposed as a cause either resulted from slavery (economic, cultural divergences) or found their expression in slavery (states' rights).
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    "Every issue that has subsequently been proposed as a cause either resulted from slavery (economic, cultural divergences) or found their expression in slavery (states' rights)"

    Could be one of those chicen and egg arguments.

    I would argue that slavery was caused by economics rather than economic divergence being caused by slavery. Therefore ultimately the conflict arose from the stresses of different regions having different economic priorities, slavery being merely a manifestation of said difference.

    This argument is wholly tenable as slavery previously flourished in the Northern states in the early settlement period, as a substitute for identured servitude, reducing in significance only as a result of divergent economic need over time and different climates. Cotton picking ,being very labour intensive, was not automated by technical improvement in the same way as other arable farming.

    In effect the agricultural revolution that transformed English farming in the 18th century was transported to the colonies. In the North the improvements could be utilised, but not in the South,leaving the South labour dependant.
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    (Original post by Ukkie)
    Okay, wow, thanks a lot, that seems to be a better explanation! My text book links the war directly to slavery and really nothing else much, I just looked it up, and there's one sentence that (roughly translated to English from Dutch) says:
    'The Northern states thought that the Southern states had no right to secede from the union.' However, the rest is all about slavery...

    Anyway, thanks a lot again!
    That certainly is still true, at this time there was a lot of wrangling over the interpretation of the consitution. On the one hand the Whigs were interpreting it as backing all of their view points, but so 'flexible' was the interpretation that the Opposition felt that it could easily be backing their views. As such, the Northern based opposition felt that the Union was perpetual and that the process of nullification was a direct violation of this.

    Eric Foner's book "Free Speech, Free Men, Free Labor" is fantastic in it's discussion of the causes of the civil war, and doesn't guide you into making any sort of judgement, although it is a bit long!!
    The 'New Basic History of The United States' by Charles Beard also provides a summary of this time [in certain chapters]

    Slavery was a very large sticking point for both parties, however as mentioned, a variety of other factors came into play, such as the 'protective tarrif'.

    With no basis at all, just throwing it out there, perhaps the North also wanted the South to remain part of the union for the scale of its agricultural production, the Eastern seaboard becoming ever more focused on manufacturing in the ante-bellum era?
 
 
 
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