Could the Civil War Have Been Avoided?

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The question of what events led up to the Civil War has been discussed by experts and by citizens ever since the war began. Was the Civil War brought on by poor leadership or was the United States setting itself up for war? Although many believe the Civil War was inevitable, the decisions of the American citizens and of the presidents of America could be blamed for the Civil War. “Even before slavery became a major issue of sectional conflict, George Washington recognized and warned against the development of sectional differences” (Section 2. How did Sectional Differences Threaten National Unity? 140). The social, political, and economic problems that the United States faced were the greatest factors of the Civil War. The Mexican War, growth of the Abolition Movement, and the election of Abraham Lincoln seem to be the major factors of the Civil War. President Polk, a believer in the Manifest Destiny, provoked a war with Mexico in order to obtain more territory. At the conclusion of the war with Mexico, in 1848, the United States had obtained New Mexico, California, and Texas north of the Rio Grande from the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. A conflict arose between the Northerners and Southerners to decide whether the states should be free states of slave states. “The Treaty did nothing to settle the question of slavery in the new territory, however. Mexico had abolished the institution two decades earlier; would the United States reintroduce it? Many Americans looked to the election of 1848 to decide the matter” (McPeek 450). The Liberty Party was determined to bar slavery from all territories through the Wilmot Proviso. The Southern Democrats challenged the Wilmot Proviso. John Calhoun, the leader of the Southern Democrats, affirmed the right of slave-owners to bring their slaves to any territory. “The North has only to will it to accomplish it—to do justice by

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