US LABOR: Role of the West in the Civil War (Essay Sample)
We typically think of the Civil War as an issue of North and South, but the West was critically important in this division. How and why was it so important, and what were the most important issues?
You should plan to write a cohesive, formal essay, 1300 to 1600 words, in which you develop an argument and advance it through making points and using evidence to back them up.
The formatting is the usual – double-spaced, standard margins, normal sized font (11 or 12 point, depending on which you choose) and so on.
Do not use outside sources for this assignment. You should only be referencing the documents on Sakai (The West documents), the textbook, and what we have covered in class. You do not need to use all of the documents, but you should use some of them, along with the textbook. The best papers tend to blend together a variety of different types of sources, making for a stronger case.
You can just use parenthetical citations (Author, page number) after something you wish to cite. Since you will all be using the same sources, there is no need for a works cited page.source..
Role of the West in the Civil War
The American civil war was hinged on slavery either directly or indirectly. Thus, labor laws between the north and the south were fundamentally different because of their dissimilar economic models. Republican senator, William Seward had foreseen a conflict, and in 1858 in Congress, he hinted of the looming conflict. He stated that ‘two radically political systems; the one resting on the basis of servile or slave labor, the other on the basis of voluntary labor for free men' were bound to go for a war (pg.397). To a young nation, barely a century old, each region wanted their economic policies and model to prevail, and it led to a bitter rivalry. The South depended heavily on the slaves for production in their plantation-based farming system while the north depended on skilled labor to work in their industries. Freed or escaped slaves who went north provided competition making the wages and salaries remain competitive and cheap for the industrialists. As the enmity between the south and the north escalated over slave ownership and import tariffs, the two belligerent regions, each sought to assert their ideologies and influence on the new territories in the west mainly for economic and political reasons. Each region understood the role played by the West in the larger political landscape of the country and sought to win them to their side.
Southern states which formed Confederacy aimed at defending their rights to own slaves and influence the policies that would govern in the new Western territory. The south sought to win the war to repeal the 1808 congressional act that prohibited foreign slave trade so that they could import more slaves from Africa (pg. 398). Southern states depended on slavery for their economy because it was not industrialized as much as the north and their economic development was hinged on the laws governing slavery. Years preceding the civil war, the southern states had begun to lose congressional influence to the northern states because more people were moving north for the industrial jobs. The south, which depended on plantation agriculture was losing their voice in the Congress, and it sparked a bitter rivalry with the northern states. The north, on the other hand, wanted the abolition of slavery because their economy was independent of the slave ownership. They also proposed new tariffs on imported goods which were vehemently rejected by the Southerners and deepened their rivalry. As the south sought to secede from the union, their woes were deepened by the higher tariffs imposed by the northern controlled government on southern trade with Europe.
At the heart of the conflict, the southern slave owners wanted the new Western states to be slave states upon which they could freely move with their slaves. The north objected their views because they wanted the new states to be ‘free-soil' for easier economic development. Slave owners felt that it was their right, engrained in the constitution to own property (slaves were property) and to move with them as they pleased. They felt the government was denying them their constitutional right to own property and freely move with it to wherever they pleased. They did not appreciate the government imposing rules on how they had to ‘treat' their property. When they were unable to navigate the political waters and influence the federal government to allow them to move with their states on to the West, they sought secession to protect their rights and interests.
One of the reasons why the south was obsessed with the West was because they had fought for them more than the northern states. The newly acquired territory because of the Mexican war i
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