America is a Melting Pot
America is a melting pot of people from all over the world. We are now called the United States but it wasn’t long ago that we were divided by some big issues. These disagreements were escalated to be the makings of the Civil War. Before the war broke out America was not a peaceful place because of the question of slavery. Was it ok to all of America to enslave and keep people as possessions and property. Did trading people’s lives make sense for a growing nation? How did the new lands in the West decide which one they would be? These questions would give many reasons to the Southern States to secede from the Union. The top three are the questions of the role of Slavery, Agriculture, and the Election of President Abraham Lincoln.
Agricultural differences started from the very beginning with the settlement of the Southern, fertile states and the Northern, rocky soil states which made each economy totally different from the other (Document 3). Land in the North did not make farming cash crops easy so they spent their time and resources on Industry. Cities were being born and kept growing by having factories for work, railroads for transportation, and shipping for goods. The Northern states employed workers. They did not use slave labor to grow the city.
On the other hand, land in the South was fertile and weather being warm allowed farmers the perfect conditions for growing large cash crops. These crops were tobacco, cotton, and sugar cane/beets. Because of the large amounts of fertile land in the South plantations sprung up and were way too large to be worked by just owners (Document 3).
So they needed people to work the land. Not just a few but hundreds of people not just a plantation owners family. The labor came in ship loads from overseas. Plantation owners in need of pickers, house help, nannies, foreman, field workers, servants, etc purchased slave labor on a regular basis. The slaves did not know any other life other than slavery and some owners treated them very well. However, there were many that treated their slaves very poorly and dished out cruel punishments and horrible housing. They bought, sold, and traded people like we do goods on Ebay. Slaves got a lot of attention because of a phenomenal book called Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe who just happened to be a white Northerner housewife. The book was talked about in papers and articles all over the place. (Document 4). The book started a fire in the Northerners hearts to fight slavery. One abolitionist brought the spark. The states were then divided up into two kinds of states the Union and the Confederacy. In the Union, they believed that slavery was wrong and wasn’t a proper way of life. They disagreed with the Confederate Southern states on this issue.
The question of slavery was also brought up as a hot topic in the 1860 Presidential Election. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican from Kentucky who became President elected by the Union. He said the following, Government cannot endure permanently half slave half free with a Presidential Poster stating Free Speech, Free Home, Free Territory (Document 5). This statement fired up those Southerners who were already thinking about seceding or leaving the Union. Their state rights allowed them to leave the Union because they weren’t held by the Government. They could make their own decisions. As soon as South Carolina seceded from the Union then 6 more states followed in their footsteps (Document 5). Lincoln’s promise was to give ALL people a life of complete freedom and equal rights.
But it was Lincoln’s election that would ultimately fuel and give life to the start of the Civil War. His role in history promised a growing United States a free country ending the Compromise of 1850, The Fugitive Slave Law, and states open to slavery on the basis of popular sovereignty. New territories would be declared free and southern states would eventually give up their slaves. Bloody battles were fought on American soil upsetting all tension to that point. The questions of all the differences between the North and South created the violent Civil War we all know today.