Westward Expansion and the Civil War Frq

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12/17/12 Block 6 Westward Expansion and the Civil War By the mid nineteenth century, the United States was expanding westward rapidly. And as America expanded, so did the sectionalism. The rifts between the North and the South, caused by conflicting views on Westward Expansion were becoming more evident. Not only were the debates over westward expansion tedious; the ever growing social debate was also becoming alarmingly prevalent. And in 1860, the Civil War broke out, ultimately because of economic, political and social aspects of westward expansion. Therefore, westward expansion caused the Civil War. The Western Frontier was seen as a profitable enterprise by many people in the 1850s. In Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854, the Republican…show more content…
Finally, the issue of “Bloody Kansas” was a major political factor caused by westward expansion. Once it was resolved that Kansas’s stance on slavery would be determined by popular sovereignty, people flocked to Kansas to make their vote count. The “Border Ruffians” won the controversial vote, which resulted in Kansas being a slave state. However, the abolitionists refused to recognize the pro-slavery government, so they set up a second provincial government in Topeka, Kansas. This episode led to a skirmish between the Ruffians and the abolitionists, like in Lawrence, Kansas in May of 1856. This was a prelude to the actual civil war and showed that even if there was a “fair” vote to determine a Territories slave law, it didn’t mean that all the people would abide by the law. These political episodes involving the ever expanding west showed the weakness of the Union. Finally, the social issues in the United States brought about by westward expansion really contributed to start of the Civil War. Proposed in 1846 by David Wilmot, The Wilmot Proviso was a proposition by abolitionists that proposed that there should be no slavery in any of the land included in the Mexican Secession. This was a bold move by the northern abolitionists, and though this wasn’t passed, it showed that the slavery issue was at the forefront of social issues on the western frontier. It was a

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