What Caused the Civil War

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Slavery was the main cause of the breakup of the Union and influenced other factors, such as territorial expansion, industrialization and economic tensions, and political alignments. Combined, all of these conflicts, with slavery at the root, led to the conflicts in the nation that started the Civil War. The issue of slavery caused conflict regarding new territories, economic stratification, and political turmoil. All of these tensions served to divide the nation, North against South, to start the Civil War. Slavery, in itself, was the most predominant reason for the breakup of the Union. It fundamentally divided the Free northern states and the Slave southern states, causing immediate tension. However, it was the various conflicts resultant of the central issue of slavery that truly plunged the Union into Civil War. The foremost of these tensions dealt with new territories, particularly those gained in the Mexican cession. The Mexican War was the direct result of “Manifest Destiny,” or the belief that the United States was ordained by God to control North America from coast to coast, which was introduced by the article used in Document 1. This article by John L. O’Sullivan was written to encourage the “reception of Texas...for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” Notice, in this excerpt, the use of the word “free.” At that point in time, the southern economy relied on the free labor of the slaves working on huge plantations. Therefore, Document A implies that Texas would be admitted as a slave state, which caused a great deal of tension because it would destroy the Slave/Free state balance. Document B, a declaration of war on Mexico by James K. Polk, provides a different view on the war, declaring it a defense of the “honor, rights and dignity of this country.” On the other hand, the abolitionists were preaching in defence of these
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