The American civil war took place between 1861 and 1865 and was a result of political and economic reasons. The main cause of the civil war was slavery. The North was industrial and the South was agricultural and depended on slavery for labor. Abraham Lincoln outlawed the expansion of slavery into new states under the 13th amendment and this led to the major conflict between the two factions and consequently secession of the South. Unlike other previous US-American wars, the civil war was fought by poor people, including indigenous Americans, immigrants, and African Americans. The war led to tremendous human tragedy with mass deaths of around 750,000 Americans, including the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. While Alexander Stephens advocated slavery, Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas played a greater role in outlawing slavery in the South and its expansion to the new states.
Evolution of the American Civil War
The American civil war started shortly after the election of Abraham Lincoln when the confederates comprising of the 11 South states attacked the North. The South was against the election of Abraham Lincoln because he was against slavery which was the backbone of the South economic activities (3). The North was industrial and did not require slaves to boost their economy. The civil war facilitated the secession of the South from the Union and formed confederate under the rule of Jefferson Davis. Under the new leadership, they legalized slavery through the enactment of new rules.
Abraham Lincoln was in the forefront as the US president to limit and abolish slave trade not only in the North but also in the South. Abraham Lincoln’s address to the American people in 1863 was very important because he was giving hope to the American people that they should not fear or surrender despite the demise of heroes on the battlefield but dedicate themselves to fight for human rights. He advocated that whatever the forefathers had done about liberty should be maintained and that all men are created equal and so no one should victimize others based on color. Going forward, Abraham Lincoln said that the war was to be about freedom fighting for everyone by ending slavery and slave trade in the US. His thought henceforth was that the responsibility of the American people was to dedicate themselves fully to the great tasks of freedom fighting. Lincoln believed that when united, they will triumph and that the government of the people provided by the people’s sovereign will not perish on earth.
Texas is one of the States of the confederate that seceded from the Union. Texas was a commonwealth-holding state that maintained and protected the negro slavery. The negro slavery existed since the first settlement of the whites in the region. Texas officials wanted servitude of the Africans to the white race to last in all future time. However, the non-holding slave States demanded the abolition of negro slavery in the confederate and recognize political equality between the negro race and the white race. The Texas officials denied the proclaimed doctrine of self-evident truth “all men are created equal” irrespective of color or race as claimed by the signers of the declaration of independence. The officials debased the doctrine and maintained their patriarchal system of African slavery because they considered the black as an inferior race while the white race is superior.
The Texas officials also held undeniable truth that slavery subordination to the superior race is normal and a natural condition. According to the speech of Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the confederate, he said that the confederate government is founded on the opposite idea that negro is equal to the white man. He claimed that the North held a wrong assumption and they are dominated by fanatics that springs from an aberration defective reasoning due to insanity. He further claimed that the North was erroneously making man equal which the creator had created unequal. From Alexander Stephen’s sentiments, the black should serve the white man at all times since it is an inferior race. The contentious issue about slavery between the North and the South was a major issue and apparently was the main reason for secession. Therefore, secession was a justification for the civil war that led to the massive killing of hundreds of thousands of people.
Fredrick Douglass described the changing meaning of war in his speech during the third year of the war. Initially, the war was to show supremacy between the North and the South and it was projected it would end within three months. Contrary, the war prolonged for more than a year and caused sorrow and suffering to people, as well as the desolation of many regions to mass deaths and fleeing. The devastating impact of the war is the main reason that made Fredrick Douglass give a speech to advocate the end of the war. Fredrick Douglass’ concern was that any further prolongation of the war could lead to more calamities to both public and the private. Douglass demanded to have a civilized country free of slaveholders and turn the civil war into an abolition war for slaves to gain liberty. He was not comforted by president Lincoln’s sentiments because he was supporting the end and spread of slavery in the South contrary to his promises in campaigns that he could reinforce slavery and defend the right of slaveholders. Lincoln’s determination was to have a country that considers equality for all. The South generals who were once proslavery also changed their minds and were in favor of ending slavery.
The American civil war was mainly caused by slavery and it led to the secession of the South from the North during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. While Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas played a greater role in outlawing slavery, Alexander Stephens advocated maintaining slavery in the South. The Texas officials and Alexander Stephens regarded the black as an inferior race and that they are obligated to serve the white at all times. Fredrick Douglass also played a major role in ensuring that civil war was to come to an end because it caused mass loss of lives and suffering. The devastating impact of the war led to the end of the war in 1865 and brought independence to slaves.
Gunderson, G. (1974). The Origin of the American Civil War. The Journal of Economic History, 34(4), 915-950. doi:10.1017/S0022050700089361