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Friday, May 4, 2012

Civil War

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Rafaella Schivartche


Block 8


October 0th, 00


The Civil War


Cheap Custom Essays on Civil War




Conflicts usually happen between nations, but sometimes many problems inside your own country result in many different points of view that in turn cause a war inside the country. A more technical word for this type of war is civil war. Above all the civil wars comes the American Civil War with a capital C and a capital W. This was not any war, but one that finally reunited the North and the South. “Many historians consider the Civil War the most important event in the history of the U.S. It was responsible for the worst death and destruction in the country’s history. The war temporarily resolved a long and bitter debate over the balance of power between state and federal governments, ended more than two hundred years of slavery, destroyed the Confederacy, and fostered lasting suspicion and misunderstanding between the North and the South.” (Streissguth, 001) Behind of every conflict are the causes. “Historians have long debated the causes of the Civil War. Many of them maintain that slavery was the root cause. In his second inaugural address in 1865, Lincoln said of slavery “All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war.” But most historians agree that the war had a number of causes. They note especially the sectional division between North and South � that is, the differences in economies, ideals, and ways of life. They also point to the disputes between the federal government and the states over what rights and powers the states possessed. ” (American, 7) The causes of the Civil War predominantly came from major sprouting differences between the North and the South. The most significant difference was the economy, which primarily caused the war, and then social issues sparked some anger and lastly political issues.


The Civil War was a longtime process. Colonial times were responsible for shaping the country, in consequently two different areas the North and the South. Geographically, economically, and politically different, it was clear that there was going to be a problem between them. It all started with the needs of the people of the South and the people of the North. In the South, the early settlers found that the warm climate and the fertile soil was perfect for growing crops, so they brought in slaves from Africa to do the hard work. The South established a rural way of life that was sustained by an agricultural economy based on slave labor. The Southerners were very tied to their past, they did not welcome any new ideas. Up North, things were a little bit different. The cool climate and the rocky soil were not suitable at all for planting crops. So, they had to find an alternative, which was to explore industries and factories. The economy of the North came to depend more on trade than agriculture. This type of economy and advances in transportation and communication helped cities to expand and grow. Almost all industry and commerce were centered in the North. The Northerners or Yankees (called by Southerners) were very open to modernization and anything that would help to make a better future. “The ideals of Yankee Protestantism encouraged modernization. Those ideals included hard work, education, economic independence, and the belief that the community had the right and responsibility to decide whether an action was moral or immoral.” (American, 7)


There are several examples of the economic issues that led to the Civil War. The North was very industrialized, modern, and military. Opposite of that, the South had it’s “King Cotton”. In 1858 Senator James Henry Hammond of South Carolina replied to Senator William H. Seward of New York “Without the firing of a gun, without drawing a sword, should they [Northerners] make war upon us [Southerners], we could bring the whole world to our feet. What would happen if no cotton was furnished for three years? . . England would topple headlong and carry the whole civilized world with her. No, you dare not make war on cotton! No power on earth dares make war upon it. Cotton is King.” (http//www.civilwarhome...) There was also the Panic of 1857. What happened was that the banks had invested in businesses that were failing. The people came to withdrawl money (gold), but the ship that carried it sank, so no one could get the gold they demanded and this caused a three-year economic depression. The situation all over the country was terrible. One could say that economically the North was more advantageous, but the South had it’s value, it had agriculture, the North had to trade for the supplies of food. Basically, the North would out level the South based on the economy, but it is very impressing to see how well the South resisted the military forces of the North without the mass productions of weapons etc.


For many, the main cause of the Civil War was slavery and the complications that followed it. But slavery was merely the climax of all economic causes that had been happening before. In other words, slavery, the social cause of the Civil War, descended from economic needs. The South was where the “heavy duty” of slavery happened due to the agricultural economy they had. They needed the manual labor to produce so they never morally questioned slavery. After a while, anti-slavery and abolitionists appeared in the North and began to rebel against slavery. Lincoln, the president that was elected and was president during the war was an abolitionist. The social causes of the war were only events that marked their way through history, succeeding or not, that concluded with the war.


The actual Civil War did not start from night to day, many rebellions and events that are considered the social causes of the war happened way before. There are many examples of famous rebellions for example the Rebellion in Charleston, 18, led by Denmark Vesey, which the South won. Also, the Rebellion in Virginia, 181, led by Nat Turner which made a small band of eight Black slaves into sixty or seventy in number. This was the beginning of a slave uprising that raised southern fears. This rebellion had a profound influence on the attitude of Southerners towards slavery, they now knew that slaves were not going to be slaves for the rest of their lives, they would fight against any obstacles in their way, in that case, the Southerners. Everything that went on the country had two sides, even newspapers, The Liberator was a purely abolitionist paper. Later, the American Anti- Slavery Society was created in 18. The society pressed for the immediate and unconditional abolition of slavery, sponsored speaking tours of white and black orators such as the eloquent former slave Frederick Douglass. This man was one of the most engaged leaders of the abolitionist movement. Douglass served as an adviser to President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and fought for the adoption of constitutional amendments that guaranteed voting rights and other civil liberties for blacks. People like Douglass that were against the slavery issue were mobilizing and creating societies to get rid of this problem forever.


Lastly, is the political part of the puzzle. As important as it sounds, politics were not as impacting as economic and social issues. It is one of the main catalysts of the war, one of the reactions between the social and economic issues. The main political problem was the issue of the Confederation vs. the Federation. By the 1850’s, some Northerners had begun working for the complete abolition of slavery, and to make things even better the South states threatened to secede from the Union as a means to protect their right to keep slaves. Then the U.S. elects an abolitionist president, Abe Lincoln. He was not totally against slavery, but was much more of an abolitionist and would certainly avoid benefiting the South in any way. He did not recognize the Southern states that had formed a Confederacy as separate from his country.. They automatically secede and form a Confederacy, a little country inside America, and they want their independence together with their “president” Jefferson Davis.


Take the Missouri Compromise (180) as an example. It allowed Missouri to become a “Slave- State”, to balance the free and slave states. What did it do? It only delayed the issue of slavery, did not solve anything, it just prevented the North and South from discussing the issue. The Compromise of 1850 is another example of politics (uselessness in solving the problem). This Compromise was a group of acts that hoped to settle the slavery question for once, by pleasing both the North and the South. Popular sovereignty was put into use, and once more, did not solve anything; it caused even more problems between the Northern and the Southern states. The Kansas/Nebraska Act of 1854 is another example of the political issue of the Civil War. This act only caused more political turmoil, it shattered the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850 because Kansas was a slave state, but Kansas was above the line that divided slave and free states. The Dred Scott decision was the most significant event because it taught future generations of slaves a lesson. It did not lead into anything, Dred Scott, a slave, lost his case, but he enhanced many others with the urge to try to be free. His case only led to the deception of the abolitionists and the closest step to the Civil War. The Crittenden Compromise was an unsuccessful last-minute effort to avert the Civil War. It made minor modifications to the Missouri Compromise and to the Fugitive Slave Law and extended some boundaries. It did nothing more than that , making clear the inevitability of the Civil War. With all these examples that happened right before the war, it is obvious enough to see that politics did nothing to help solve the slavery and argumentation problem between the North and the South. In fact, it only worsened the situation. The only good that can come out of this is the fact that the war finally broke out (not that war is a good thing).


This was the first total war, “in which massive armies fought each other in a conflict where there could be no compromise.” (Thackeray, 16) Many lives were killed, more than 610,000 deaths. All the war was fought in the South, so many properties were damaged, and two-thirds of southern railroad mileage had been destroyed. In reality, the Civil War could have been avoided. Because it was a chain of reactions that led to the war, if one of the reactions was taken more seriously, then it would not have sparked rebellions and resulted in the war. But it happened, and so the thing is to take out positive things of the after war. The Civil war had many outcomes for America’s future. It ended the slavery issue, from the Constitution, from the states, but sadly not from the mind of the pro-slavery people. But what the war did was to the abolitionists, and to the free slaves. They became more inspired to try and fight the racial discrimination problem that remained in America for many decades. The U.S. grew politically, economically, and socially after the war. It united the North and the South, the economy was now tied and could work together. The people just had to get over the fact that the nation was one, and not divided in half.








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