Long-term and Short-term Causes of Civil War

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Long-termand Short-term Causes of Civil War


Beforethe Civil War, the American states were divided and ended up formingthe Northern and the Southern region, which had diverse ideologies onhow to handle matters that ensued. This report will delve the issueof the Civil War, its causes, goals and expectations of both sides,why the North obtained victory, as well as steps put forward inputting the nation back together.

Fromthe period 1840-1850s, the Northern and Southern states became evenlydivided in Congress. The short-term cause of the Civil War waswhether slavery was to be allowed to expand. The expansion ofservitude was an issue since it could give the South an ultimatecontrol of the assembly, which could go against the desires of theNorth (Foner, 2013). Alternatively, one of the long-term causes ofthe war was the house’s attempts to handle the issue of growth ofbondage. This was through the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Compromiseof 1850, which included stronger fugitive servitude law the permitof California as a free state the closure of slave trade in theDistrict of Columbia and local white inhabitants determining thestatus of bondage. Another long-term cause was the election ofAbraham Lincoln. The Lincoln’s proposal that enslavement wassupposed to be contained in the South resulted in his rejection inthe region. Upon winning the election, the Deep South secededimmediately led by South Carolina.

Theissue of slavery appeared to become more threatening to the existenceof peace between the North and the South. Thus, established partyleaders had to move in so as to resolve the differences that existed.The immediate source of controversy emerged from the acquisition ofnew lands following the Mexican War. It was during this period thatCalifornia requested its admission to the Union as a free state. MostSoutherners were opposing the measure indicating that it was meant toupset the balance amid the two sections in Congress (Foner, 2013).This led to the Compromise of 1850 that attempted to settle mattersemerging from the acquisition of territory from Mexico by permittingCalifornia to become a free state and providing that the servitudestatus in New Mexico and Utah was to be determined by the settlers.Resolving of these issues gave hope that the Civil War could becomeaverted.

Whenthe war commenced, both the South and the North possessed differentgoals that they expected to accomplish. The South had the goal ofsecuring freedom from the North so as to develop an independentnation that was free from political oppression and the repression ofthe bondage of the North. Alternatively, the North had the goal ofconquering the South so as to bring it back to the Union (Foner,2013). Also, it had the desire and target of controlling the economyof the South. As the Civil War progressed, the goals of the Southremained unchanged however, those of the North became modified. WhenLincoln realized that the North might lose the battle, he amended thereason for being in the war. This made him alter the goal ofretaining and reshaping the Union through fostering the reunion ofall the states where enslavement was not to be tolerated.

Therewere different reasons that led to the North rather the Southemerging victorious in the war. One of the explanations for the winwas due to the vast number of people that it had compared to theSouth. The North had a population of approximately 22 million whilethe South had 9 million (Foner, 2013). The large population put theNorth at an advantage. Also, the reason behind the triumph wasbecause of the massive industrial capacity of the region. Emanatingfrom its manufacturing ability, the North was in a position toproduce firearms at a large scale which supported its fightinginitiatives. Furthermore, the Northern states were able to produceagricultural products in hefty amounts, and their transport systemwas well developed. This offered an advantage during the war sincethe men in the battle could receive supplies without a struggle.Moreover, a superior navy on the side of the Northern statesfacilitated the victory.

Despitethe North winning the battle, it took them four years to obtain thevictory. One of the reasons why it took long to get the war done wasbecause the Union had poor military leadership, which made the Unionarmies not conquer the war during the early stages. Also, the Southhad the strategy of delaying the war so that the North could considera defeat based on the cost associated with managing the battle. As aresult, the South used defense rather than attacking tactics makingthe fight go for a prolonged period (Foner, 2013).

Therewere different approaches that were used during and after the war inensuring that the nation was put together. During the early stages ofthe war, the Congress agreed to apply a resolution that had beenproposed by Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky, which had theaffirmation that the Union had no thoughts of interfering withslavery. Another important aspect that developed following the warwas emancipation. Throughout 1861 and 1862, Lincoln fought hard toretain control of the emancipation issue (Foner, 2013). He declaredthat the matter had become a military and political necessity.Following the North emerging victorious in the war, Lincoln signedthe Emancipation Proclamation that declared slaves held in theSouthern territory free (Foner, 2013). Furthermore, black soldiersbecame incorporated into the military service. This was critical inuniting the nation since it offered a liberating experience. Inaddition, Lincoln helped the land to adopt universal ideas that werecentered on human liberty and political democracy following theconclusion of the war. Moreover, in an attempt to connect thecountry, the house developed policies which supported economic growthand changed the financial system of the nation. For instance, theHomestead Act and the Land Grant College Act helped in holding theeconomy together. The steps worked well because they helped ineliminating the issues that divided the nation before the civil war.For example, the steps helped in resolving the enslavement matterwhich had mainly put the states in tensions.


Duringthe Civil War, the Northern and Southern states differed on theissues that were to be adopted by the Congress. Every side desired tohave more powers in order to have control in the house. The issue ofslavery appeared to become more threatening to the existence of peacebetween the North and the South. Thus, established party leaders hadto move in so as to resolve the differences that existed. However,the North and South disagreed and became involved in a battle. TheNorthern states became the winners in the fight however, the wartook a long time because the Union had poor military leadership,which made the armies not conquer the war during the early stages.The Congress developed policies which supported economic growth andchanged the financial system of the nation as a way of uniting thenation. Also, the emancipation was a critical issue towards unitingthe country.


Foner,E. (2013). Giveme Liberty: An American history.New York: W.W. Norton &amp Co.

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