What are the causes and consequences of the Civil War?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There were several causes of the Civil War. One of the causes was that compromises that were made didn’t work in the long run. The Missouri Compromise was declared unconstitutional. The tariff compromises, while successful in the short term, failed to resolve the issue in the long run. The Compromise of 1850 was doomed almost as soon as it was created.

Slavery was another cause. The South wanted to keep slavery and see it spread. The North, on the other hand, didn’t want slavery to spread and was also opposed to the concept of slavery. The election of Lincoln brought this issue to a head. The South believed Lincoln was going to ban slavery. While Lincoln was opposed to slavery, and certainly would have worked to prevent it from spreading, he said he would have allowed slavery to exist where it already was in place if it would have kept the country together.

There were economic differences between the North and South. The North, being mainly an industrial region, supported high tariffs. The South, being mainly an agricultural region, supported low tariffs. The North and South found themselves on opposite sides of most economic issues.

The North and South also disagreed on how much power the federal government should have. The North wanted a strong federal government while the South wanted to limit the power of the federal government. The South believed that states should be able to nullify federal laws that adversely affect them.

The consequences of the Civil War are significant. Slavery came to an end, and the power of the federal government was reinforced. States couldn’t nullify federal laws. Over 600,000 Americans died in this war. The South was in ruins, meaning a plan for rebuilding the South was needed. This plan, called Reconstruction, would also establish the process for readmitting the southern states into the Union. Help also had to be provided for the newly freed slaves. The Civil War resolved some issues and sent a message to Americans that there were better ways to resolve our differences than by fighting each other.

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