The Civil War was a fight to defend a way of life. The issue of uniting was fundamental to the survival of American democracy. The two different opinions on how the Union should be governed shaped America in a way that would have great effect on the states, this brought about Sectionalism between the North and South. The major reason of the conflict between the North and South were their different views on slavery and the treatment of the African Americans during the Mid-19th Century. This wasn’t the only trigger to cause the Civil War another encountering component of this war was the economic, social and political differences between the North and South.
Some slaves were treated badly and suffered through many hardships, some were whipped and most were deprived of an education. Abolitionists believed it was wrong to enslave a person, majority of Abolitionists lived in the North with only a few in the South. Abolitionists published antislavery newspapers, books, made speeches and entered politics to fight for the abolition of slavery. They also set up underground railroad systems to help runaway slaves escape to Northern states or to Canada. Abolitionists faced bitter and violent opposition in both the North and South.
Uncle Tom’s cabin was a book written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This book was about the life and hardships of a slave in the south. It contributed to political and economical arguments on slavery. Many believed that Stowe was wrong in writing the book which also led to more arguments. Also, another important cause of the civil war was issue of slavery in the territories that was dividing the North and South.
Notable characters in the novel who exemplify this are George Shelby and Augustine St. Clare, Senator Bird, and Ophelia St. Clare. All of these characters mirrored actual people from that time period. George and Augustine are the typical moral slave owners, plantation owners who knew that permitting slavery is immoral but were unwilling to do anything about it. Senator Bird is a typical northern politician of the time period, a politician who personally felt slavery is evil but still voted for a fugitive slave law. Ophelia is a typical northern abolitionist who, despite wanting emancipation, harbored prejudices against blacks herself.
According to Davis, slaves and peasants were perceived and subjected to common stereotypes regarding the color of their skin, the customs many of the enslaved peoples had before they were conquered, and how the elite upper classes and literate people looked down on them as a dehumanized object. To support this theory, he looked into the role that color symbolism and how physical appearance had a large impact on this misconception. (Davis 50, 57) Another sample he looked and discussed was Islamic and Christian geographic expansions and conflicts that led to the creation of the term Racism that is linked to historic events involving slavery. (Davis 54, 60) Winthrop argues that Slavery and Racism was created at the same time. He supports this argument by looking closely at the meaning of the symbolism behind the color black.
Illiteracy was high among slaves, mostly due to white owner’s fear of education leading slaves to revolt. Those who were capable of reading and writing made use of newspapers, poetry, pamphlets, and other forms of literature to spread their message. Not only slaves, but abolitionists of all kinds used this method and some of the most famous anti-slavery publications were made available thanks to them. Two famous anti-slave narratives are Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, penned by Douglass himself and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, like most other slave narratives was written by a former slave himself, however Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written by a white abolitionist and a woman.
How important was the issue of slavery in causing the American Civil war? Due to slavery America was divided into two halves, the North and the South, both had very different and in some cases radical views. Firstly the more industrialised North generally was through and through against slavery as many felt it was immoral but also realised that if you paid your workforce you would increase your means of production and efficiency which helped them become more industrialised. However the south was reluctant to give up their slaves and felt that they were doing the slaves a favour in keeping them, housing them and feeding them. They were like children and would not survive by themselves.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was known to be a strong abolitionist for most of, if not all, her life. The abolition of slavery was a greatly controversial issue that Stowe was very passionate about. It would make sense that she would pick abolitionism to write a novel about because of her passion and desire to have slavery made illegal in all areas of the country. The novel is written in a point of view that portrays the slaves and the friendly slave owners as the protagonists and the abusive slave owners and bounty hunters as the antagonists. Portraying certain characters in these ways helps rally anti-slavery supporters for the abolitionist cause.
While this impacted our nation, the other competing forces still had a more significant impact. Just like nationalism, sectionalism also had an impact on American history. Sectionalism is when the nation becomes divided over a controversial issue. For example, the North and the South were divided for a very long time because of the issue of slavery. The division was so strong, it eventually led to the Civil War.
Though the types of slavery may have changed, the seriousness of the issue and the affect it has on the people who are forced into slavery situations are just as horrible and outrageous as those from the past. Exploring these new kinds of slavery and comparing them to those of the past will all be covered. Also, what is being done now and relating it to what was being done in the past will help explain what the future holds for this never ending battle against slavery. What exactly causes people to turn to slavery? In the historical days, Davis indicates in his article “What the Abolitionist Were Up Against” that even as far back as Aristotle, people thought that “from the hour of their birth, some men are marked out for subjection, others to rule” (17); basically stating that it is natural for some to have total power, and other to have a life of slavery.