The Civil War Essay

The Civil War Essay

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The American Civil War, fought between the North and South during the years 1861~1865, was the must brutal war in American history. Over 600,000 Americans died in this struggle, which was fought because the nation could not peacefully settle the social, political, and economical issues. This issue simmered for many years and many laws were enacted as compromises to prevent the Civil War, but by the 1850s, things were coming to a head. The sparks that ignited the two sides into an actual war were the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and the Abolition movements by Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 carried the result of the stalemate between the North and the South over the location of the proposed Transcontinental Railroad. The Northerners wanted the railroad to run from Chicago to California, while the Southerners wanted the railroad to run between New Orleans to California. In order to settle this dispute, senator Stephen Douglas managed to persuade Southern congressmen to agree to the Kansas-Nebraska Act which made Chicago the starting point o f the railroad by splitting the territories left in the Louisiana Purchase into two states: Kansas and Nebraska. This new arrangement created the state of Kansas north of 36/30 degree, the line north of which slavery was forbidden by the Missouri Compromise of 1820, to enter the Union in popular sovereignty. This law infuriated the Abolitionists in America who claimed that, “Douglas proposal, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, shattered the letter and spirit of the 1820 Missouri Compromise ;after its passage, the debate over the future of slavery became more violent than ever” (Schweikart and Allen pg. 118). Both the Abolitionists and the slave owners poured into Kansas and elected opposing governments in the same state. Slave-owners attacked the city of Lawrence Kansas, where the Abolitionist government was located. The government officials escaped, but the pro-slavery settlers killed a resident, and burned buildings. This actions was the first real violence and more than, “Hundred people died in the border wars fought over ‘Bleeding Kansas’” (Schweikart and Allen pg. 119). This physical violence divided the nation further apart than ever. Issue of Bleeding Kansas couldn’t settle the anger in both North and the South. Kansas-Nebraska Act and Bleeding Kansas started an unstoppable run of violence that eventually led to the greatest violence: the Civil War. The Abolitionist movement also contributed to the onset of the Civil War by two both peaceful and violent actions. Years prior to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Abolitionist author Harriet Beecher Stowe published a novel called Uncle Tom’s Cabin about
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