Essay about Causes of The American Civil War

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"War is the unfolding of miscalculations." - Barbara Tuchman Lasting from 1861 to 1865, the Civil War is considered the bloodiest war in American history. However, the Civil War had seemingly been a long time coming. There were many events that took place within the fifteen years leading up to the Civil War that foreshadowed the eventual secession of seven “cotton states” from the Union. The end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the Dred Scott Decision of 1857, John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859, and the outcome of the Presidential Election of 1860 all helped contribute to southern secession and the start of the Civil War; they each caused…show more content…
Although the allotted provisions of the Compromise of 1850 created a sense of relief between the South and the North, it was also met with dismay. By 1848, the Senate of the United States was divided equally—fifteen free states and fifteen slave states; therefore, if the new territories entered as free or slave states, the balance of power would be tipped to either the former or the latter. The Compromise was comprised of five bills. The first stated that California would enter the nation as a free state; the second abolished the slave trade (but not slavery) in Washington, D.C; the third allowed the residents of the Territories of Utah and New Mexico to choose whether or not they would enter the nation as a free or slave state (known as popular sovereignty); the fourth bill passed the Fugitive Slave Act; the fifth bill reduced the size of Texas (gave up much of its western land), which was given compensation as to relieve their debt. The fourth bill was the most controversial, as well as the most impactful. The Fugitive Slave Act stated that all federal officials must return runaway slaves, or face paying a fine. This Act caused many abolitionists to further their efforts against slavery, since it seemed to them that the government was supporting those who were pro-slavery. As a result of (more of a backlash to) the Act, the Underground Railroad was created, which helped runaway slaves reach freedom in

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