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Critical Events that Led to the American Civil War (Essay Sample)


In developing your paper:

- YOU CAN ONLY USE ONE EVENT PER DECADE.  The purpose of this assignment is to analyze change over time- not to see how well you took lecture notes for the last days of the semester.  Do not use events prior to 1780 because you need to focus on post-American Revolution period.

- Clearly explain the role slavery played in driving a wedge between the north and the south.

- Clearly explain the details of your four most significant/critical events.

- Clearly explain WHY you think each of these events is among the most significant/critical events leading to the Civil War.

- Clearly address the question: when do you believe the Civil War became inevitable and why?


Student's Name
Critical Events that Led to the American Civil War
It is often the case in most societies that the present niceties being enjoyed by the current generation is as a result of a price that was paid some time back by past generations. All the benefits that a society enjoys, in most cases had a price paid for it. The best example of this, is the United States of America. It is arguable the greatest democracy on the planet, and among the most developed thereof. The rights and privileges of individuals are respected, and the constitution followed to the latter. This however, didn't come as a coincidence or chance. It is a result of the price paid by the past generations, especially during the American Revolution and Civil War.
One of the most important events in America's history is the American Civil War. This war was fought between the Northerners and Southerners (slave states) between 1861 and 1865. The Northerners were led by the United States President at that time, Abraham Lincoln. The Southern slave states that fought against the Federal Government were led by Jefferson Davis. The nations' continued existence was now in question, including the straddling of the entire continent and the nature of the country; free or slave. The basis of the entire war was about the termination or continuation of slavery, which these two sides held extremely varying views. This essay will look at the timeline and facts of the Civil War. Such is because several events that took place before the Civil War influenced the start of the war.
The slave trade was the driving a wedge of the American Civil War and major events that took place before the start of the war such as the Jefferson's Gradual Emancipation proposal, Gabriel's rebellion, and the Missouri Compromise led to the war but the invention of the Cotton Gin was the biggest sign that the war was inevitable.
1784: Jefferson and the Gradual Emancipation
Thomas Jefferson had lived his life while endorsing a gradual emancipation plan (The “Peculiar Institution” 236). This plan meant that all persons born into slavery would be freed after a certain date and sent beyond the United States' borders upon reaching adulthood. While it was a brilliant idea and a way to slowly handle the contentious issue of slavery at the time, it still got criticism from various quarters, even while support was still there. Slavery was not deep-rooted in the northern side of the US and they were adopting the gradual emancipation. Pennsylvania had passed the gradual emancipation law earlier, in 1780 and other territories in the North seemed more likely to follow the suit.
In 1784, Connecticut and Rhode Island passed laws that provided for gradual slaves' emancipation. They later rescinded the voting rights of the blacks fueling another animosity (The “Peculiar Institution” 236). In the same year, the Continental Congress rejected a proposal by Jefferson to prohibit slavery by one vote. This proposal would include in all territories such as the areas that become the Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama states. The rejection of the proposal by Jefferson was a clear indication to both sides of the argument, especially the Northerners who were for the abolishment of the slave trade that the struggle was to be tougher than earlier anticipated.[Peter Onuf, Congress and the Confederation (1991).]
The gradual emancipation was a big blow to slavery, especially to the Southerners who were for slavery. Their vast agricultural lands and industries relied heavily on slave labor. They therefore felt this would hit them really hard in terms of their economic activities. They initiated the first seeds of discontent. Altho...

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