Slavery Before The Civil War Essay

Slavery Before The Civil War Essay-68
Abraham Lincoln did not target farming and cotton in his arguments against slavery; he used morality.He told one audience in Chicago in 1859 that, "I think slavery is wrong, morally and politically." Lincoln told another audience that America could not be seen "fostering human slavery and proclaiming ourselves, at the same time, the sole friends of human freedom." And, of course, in his fabled "House Divided" speech he predicted that the United States would be either all slave or all free. Following the compromise of 1850, legal, political, and physical battles raged over whether or not to admit Kansas as a slave state, a state with no cotton.

Abraham Lincoln did not target farming and cotton in his arguments against slavery; he used morality.He told one audience in Chicago in 1859 that, "I think slavery is wrong, morally and politically." Lincoln told another audience that America could not be seen "fostering human slavery and proclaiming ourselves, at the same time, the sole friends of human freedom." And, of course, in his fabled "House Divided" speech he predicted that the United States would be either all slave or all free. Following the compromise of 1850, legal, political, and physical battles raged over whether or not to admit Kansas as a slave state, a state with no cotton.

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Why were so many prominent southerners, such as George Washington, George Wythe, and Thomas Jefferson, opposed, at least in theory, to the institution?

Slavery, too, was seen as a moral evil by the hundreds of thousands of northern abolitionists who published newspapers and marched in the streets of small towns and large cities carrying their colorful banners.

At the same time, the warmer Southern states continued to rely on slaves for their farming economy and cotton production.

Southerners made huge profits from cotton and slaves and fought a war to maintain them.

Richmond, VA, had mills and factories as early as 1800. When I ask college students to talk about the causes of the war, many tell the story of Eli Whitney and the cotton gin.

The 1860 census shows the fairly even spread of manufacturing across the states, with only New York and Pennsylvania recording 17,000 or more manufacturing establishments (see Primary Source Farms Census Data [1860], List of Urban Areas [1860], and Manufacturing Census Date [1860]). They remind me that there were no factories in the South prior to 1860 and are astonished when I tell them that factories flourished in the South as early as John Adams's Presidency. They began to arrive in the early 1600s to work on farms that grew a number of different crops.Many factors plunged the nation into chaos in 1861.Key political causes include the slow collapse of the Whig Party, the founding of the Republican Party, and, most important, the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as president.Many students believe that the Republican Party, created in 1855, focused on slavery in the 1860 campaign, but their key issues centered on political corruption of the Buchanan Administration.The Republican platform called for containment, not the end of slavery.They gloat over the North's shipping yards and are surprised to learn of the busy shipping industry based in cities such as Richmond, Charleston, and New Orleans. Sugar and tobacco became the most profitable to meet European demands for crops that did not grow in the colder European climate.Their jaws drop when I talk about the thousands of slaves in the South who worked in busy cities, not on quiet plantations. Virginia planters made a fortune growing tobacco, making tobacco the first King. By 1860, however, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana replaced Georgia and South Carolina as leading growers of cotton (see Primary Source Cotton and Slaves Data [1860]).The agricultural economy was certainly one cause of the Civil War, but not the only one.Wars are never simple and neither are their causes.And political deals, such as the Missouri Compromise in 1820 and Compromise of 1850, and Supreme Court rulings, such as the Dred Scott decision in 1857, divided the country even more.These divisions went far beyond cotton and economics.

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