The Economic and Political Causes of The Civil War in The United States

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 626 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

Words: 626|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Economic causes of the conflict
  2. Escalation of the conflict
  3. Conclusion

The Civil War, which took place from 1861 to 1865, is a pivotal event in American history that significantly shaped American society and solidified the national identity of the United States. While the primary cause of the war is commonly attributed to the controversy over slavery, the factors that led to the conflict are multifaceted. By examining the economic and political issues that contributed to the Civil War, it becomes evident that while the war may have been postponed through compromise, the underlying tensions between the Southern and Northern states would have eventually resulted in armed conflict.

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Economic causes of the conflict

One of the key causes of the conflict was the economic disparities between the North and the South. The rapid development of a railroad network in the North left the Southern states in a vulnerable position economically (Davidson et al. 270). As a result, the Southern states heavily relied on cotton production, which necessitated cheap labor. The limited immigration to the Southern states further increased their dependence on slavery (Davidson et al. 273). Slavery was integral to the Southern economy, and without it, the region would have been at a significant disadvantage compared to the industrialized North. Thus, when debates over slavery intensified prior to the Civil War, it was inevitable that the South would resist any attempts to abolish slavery.

From a political perspective, the imbalance of power between the North and the South made the Civil War seem inevitable. The Southern states believed that remaining in the Union would compromise their honor and safety (Calhoun 1). The Southerners feared that the North, with its dominance in banking and commerce, aimed to subjugate the South (Davidson et al. 273). While the idea of Northern colonization of the South was unfounded, such perceptions fueled Southern reactions to the political imbalance and further heightened tensions between the two regions. The pattern of industrialization and the trade relations between the North and the South, which largely benefited the North, contributed to these beliefs.

Escalation of the conflict

The conflict was further exacerbated by the instability of regulations, which hindered the achievement of a lasting compromise. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, introduced by Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois in 1854, repealed the Missouri Compromise and intensified tensions surrounding the slavery issue (United States Senate). The act aimed to organize the territories of Nebraska to facilitate railroad development (Davidson et al. 273). However, in order to garner support from Southern Senators, Douglas had to address the issue of slavery explicitly by repealing the Missouri Compromise (Davidson et al. 273). Although this decision was risky due to the growing tensions between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups, Douglas prioritized the development of railroads from east to west. The act created two territories, Kansas and Nebraska, where the status of slavery would be determined by popular sovereignty (Davidson et al. 274). This led to an influx of pro-slavery and anti-slavery activists in both territories, resulting in violent episodes known as Bleeding Kansas (Davidson et al. 276). These events further intensified the divide between the North and the South, culminating in the election of Abraham Lincoln and the subsequent secession of eleven Southern states (Liu 68).

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In conclusion, while it is possible to argue that the Civil War could have been postponed through compromise, the fundamental division between states on the issue of slavery would have eventually led to armed conflict. Preserving the Missouri Compromise and achieving a balance of power and economic development between the North and the South could have temporarily alleviated the tensions that sparked the war. However, the deep-rooted disagreement on the constitutional rights of individuals would have inevitably resulted in violence. By addressing the conflict head-on, President Lincoln aimed to resolve the issue and preserve the unity of the nation, thus securing the American national identity.

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The Economic and Political Causes of the Civil War in the United States. (2024, February 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 29, 2024, from
“The Economic and Political Causes of the Civil War in the United States.” GradesFixer, 12 Feb. 2024,
The Economic and Political Causes of the Civil War in the United States. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Feb. 2024].
The Economic and Political Causes of the Civil War in the United States [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 12 [cited 2024 Feb 29]. Available from:
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