Sectional Discord Causes

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The American Civil War was a period of internal conflict in the United States that took place from April 12, 1861 to May 13, 1865. The war divided the 34 states into two separate entities: the Union and The Confederacy. The Union was composed of the states that remained loyal to the U.S. Constitution and federal government, while the Confederate States of America seceded. Following Lincoln’s inaugural address in 1861, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union, quickly followed by the other states that would make up the Confederacy. The build up to the war, however, began long before. The first signs of conflict can be traced back to the writing of the three-fifths clause of the Constitution. Even today, nearly 150 years…show more content…
Slavery had been a central issue in the United States since the founding of the country when the Founding Fathers
As the U.S. moved closer to war, it became more divided by its attitudes, interests, and general lifestyles. Although sectionalism, the loyalty to interests of a particular region over the country, can be traced to the earliest years of the new nation, it became more of an obstacle in the 19th century as Americans began to see themselves as either Southerners or Northerners. Although sectional discord was an important factor leading to the onset of war, at its core was the division and conflicts related to slavery. This is seen with a brief examination of the election of 1860.
In this presidential race of 1860, Lincoln carried all of the North except New Jersey, and “without receiving a single vote in ten southern states, [he] was elected the nation’s sixteenth president.” The Republican Party’s platform not only opposed the expansion of slavery to the western
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States’ rights, the powers held by individual U.S. states rather than by the federal government, had been an issue since the ratification of the Constitution when some feared that the federal government had more power than the states and wanted an outline of the Americans’ basic liberties. During the lead up to the official outbreak of war, state powers were a matter that caused major conflict between the North and the South. When South Carolina seceded from the Union, they stated that the Northern states had “denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution.” At this time, slaves were seen as property rather than humans, and the right to property was guaranteed by the fifth Amendment. Although the quote does not explicitly mention slavery, it can be seen that South Carolina seceded because the state had felt like its so-called entitlement to own slaves had been violated when Northern states began to disregard the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 which required all runaway slaves to be returned to their master even if they had escaped to a free state. Although South Carolina also claimed their right as a U.S. state to secede because of their belief that “in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual” and when one party fails the agreement, it is void, it
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