Table of Contents
- The Compromise of 1850
- Works Cited
A long-argued debate among historians is whether the Civil War was inevitable or not, it can be seen as an ‘impending crisis’ or a conflict that could’ve been avoided if not for a ‘blundering generation’ of leaders. By examining the events leading up to the war it is clear that the Civil War was inevitable due to slavery, secession, the compromise of 1850, and westward expansion.
First, slavery was the biggest factor that led to the civil war with both sides disagreeing on the matter. Northerners had wanted abolish slavery in the United States and believed it was a terrible concept while the South was using slaves as labor workers in the fields. The Northerners against slavery were the abolitionists, most famously Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman them and many others created the movement in order to persuade more people about the dangers of slavery. The south was threatened by this because the abolishment of slavery would force them to create an entirely new lifestyle.
Next, Secession which was the removal of eleven southern states from the Union in 1860. In the year 1860 Abraham Lincoln defeated southern representative Stephen A. Douglas and was elected president. The southern states did not like or agree with the policies Lincoln put in place and the dominos started falling after South Carolina was the first state to secede from the union. Ten other states soon followed, and this was the final nail in the coffin between the two sides.
The Compromise of 1850
Next, the compromise of 1850 which was supposed to be what it sounds like, a compromise, but it did the exact opposite. The compromise made California a free state in the union, slave trade was banned in the district of Columbia, the Fugitive Slave Law was enforced, and let New Mexico and Utah vote on slavery. The compromise was set up to help both sides get what they want but it instead solved no problems, only making the tension between the two sides worse.
Finally, expansion which even though westward expansion brought many great things to the United States it also was a big factor to the civil war. With every state added to the union each changing the balance of power between the North and South. The South thought that if they lost too many of these new states to the north that they would lose their way of life or most importantly slavery. New states were fought over between the two sides and added onto the already existing tension.
In conclusion the Civil War was inevitable due to slavery, secession, the compromise of 1850, and westward expansion. The events leading up to the war show that it was an ‘impending crisis’ and not just due to a ‘blundering generation’ of leaders. This is why the Civil War was inevitable.
- “Causes Of The Civil War | History Detectives.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, https://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/feature/causes-of-the-civil-war/.
- Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History. New York, W.W. Norton, 2017.