Causes of the Civil War--Part 2 --"King Cotton"..and slavery.
So the carnage of our American Civil War begins. Not that the losses at Ft. Sumter were great ( 1 southerner is killed when a cannon accidently explodes ), but what will follow will take the nation by surprise..and put our people into a climate of death for four long years. A national sadness blankets the population.
"A house divided against itself..cannot stand".( A.Lincoln) No truer words were spoken. And we were a house..and a nation divided.
Did the division of slave state versus free state finally catch up with us? Yes.
Were the differences between the southern "antebellum" slave states and our industrial northern free states reaching a point where the issue of slavery could no longer be ignored, a religious and political hotbed that finally showed the northern population the truth with the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act ( basically stated that people were responsible for harboring runaway slaves that could now be apprehended anywhere within the Union..done for a reward of course.)
Now northerners would see manacled slaves brought throught their own streets. A pretty strong visual experience. Coupled with the power of the northern press..northern sentiment to abolition was growing.
And how did this greater slavery start. At a time when the US population is approx. 31 million .. there are 8 million slaves within the Union.
Eli Whitney had invented the cotton gin way back in 1793 that could seperate cotton seeds from the cotton so fast it became a very profitable agriculture. Not that it is a good idea to be bound to one crop. But now add cheap slave labor and you have the makings of growth and easy profit. Add 60-70 years and you have a regional lifestyle that is more than comfortable..and not easy to part with.
So the southern lifestyle and economy becomes dependent on one crop, cotton ..and also dependent on slavery. A dependency that will bind and restrict the slave states decisions in the future as states rights are squared off against the rights of the federal government. The idea of "nullification" ( to nullify Federal Acts) is proposed by certain slave state proponents within the political arena.
When nullification untimately fails..the proposition of secession is tabled.
Brought to the brink of our Union dividing..by
... the growing economic and social differences between the north and the south.
... the constant and often bloody struggle between slave state and free state supporters and proponents ( ex: Kansas - Nebraska Act of 1854)
... the renewed and increasing political battle of States Rights versus Federal Rights.
... the growth of the northern abolition cause.
When you really come down to it..slavery is within most of the severe problems plagueing the nation and the hallowed halls of our capitals..state and federal.
Has the sin of slavery finally caught up with and entangled the workings of a supposed free nation..yes.
More to come on the final straw that brings about the increasing struggles..debates..threats..and finally secession. That final straw..the election of a gaunt, inexperienced one term Congressman from the wilds of the midwest. His name was Abraham Lincoln.