Factors Contributing to the Start of the Civil War Essay

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On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, starting the American Civil War. The Civil War would last for four years and result in massive American casualties. It would eventually end with slavery abolished and the South under the military occupation of the North. The conflict between the Southern and Northern states did not start suddenly, and did not only appear in the 1860s. Slavery was prevalent in the South and eventually made illegal in the North, which caused Northerners to oppose slavery and Southerners to support it. As a result, there were conflicts over the spread of slavery across the nation. They were first manifested in the Missouri Compromise, in 1820. Conflict over the spread of slavery …show more content…
Davis). By 1783, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts had abolished slavery, and the other northern states soon followed. Slavery grew, however, in the South ("Events Leading to the Civil War").

As American settlers moved west from the East Coast and new states were added to the Union, the question of whether slavery would be allowed in these states arose. By general unspoken agreement, in order to keep the Senate balanced between slave and free states, new states were admitted on what Eric Corder calls in Prelude to Civil War "a ‘one for you, one for me’ basis" (4). That is, for each new slave state that was admitted, a new free state would soon be added. Free Vermont was admitted in 1791, slave Kentucky in 1792, slave Tennessee was added in 1796, free Ohio added in 1803, slave Louisiana added in 1812, free Indiana added in 1816, and so on ("Events Leading to the Civil War"). This balance worked well until the area east of the Mississippi River had been filled with states, and new states were to be added on the west side of the river.

Americans had argued for the abolition of slavery since before the Revolutionary War. Pennsylvania Quakers spoke out against slavery in the colonial era. After the start of the Nineteenth Century, support for abolition increased. Abolitionists usually merely spoke out against slavery, but they also sometimes helped black slaves escape to freedom north of the