Civil War the Great Divide

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The Great Divide

The issue of slavery was discussed in many ways. People talked about the morality of the institution (or lack thereof), the economics of slavery, and the political issues that came about because of it. No matter how it was discussed, the North and South could not agree. Northerners thought Southerners were corrupting the soul of America, and Southerners thought Northerners were hypocrites. No matter which way they looked at slavery, the North and South had two antithetical views that could not coexist in the same country. The first issue that comes up when thinking about slavery is morality. Many Northerners were ignorant of what slavery really meant until escaped slaves moved north and told their stories—stories
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The South also pitched the idea of the plantation as a happy home. When Jefferson Davis responded to the Emancipation Proclamation he called slaves “peaceful and contented laborers.” Slavery was an obsolete and antiquated labor source. It provided cheap but inefficient labor and even though it was America’s biggest source of capital, it was holding America back. The North saw this much better than the South. Politicians had been arguing over slavery since the foundation of America (the 3/5 Compromise in the Constitution). When the cotton gin was invented, plantation owners started to buy more land in the territories in order to grow more cotton. There were two issues that slavery brought up the most: the balance of North/South power and expansion. Political debates were rarely about the actual slaves. Arguments over the expansion of slavery in new states resulted in compromises that solved nothing. Compromises like The Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850 solved very little and made people on both sides angry. Northerners were especially startled by the Fugitive Slave Act from the Compromise of 1850. It said, “all good citizens are hereby commanded to aid and assist…” People in the north could not believe that arresting a fugitive slave with out having a warrant was being a “good citizen.” They were insulted. The Compromise of 1850 also made

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