The United States’ Civil War
The US Civil that lasted for four years from 1861 to 1865 was originally provoked by slavery in Southern America whose economy was highly dependent on cotton growing. The victory in the election by Abraham Lincoln from the Republican Party who supported the anti-slavery ideology triggered mixed reactions in the United States. It is ironical that despite the loss of life and destruction of property during the Civil War many people are still glorifying the war for its end of slavery in the USA. The big question here is whether it was necessary to indulge in this bloody expedition and kill millions of people in such an inexplicable firing. Indeed, if a thorough study was conducted apart from that armed conflict, a more peaceful and diplomatic solution would be achieved. The war could have been avoided long time before violence erupted. Judging from the Mel Barger’s point of view, abolition of slavery would have been achieved more than two decades before occurrence of the civil war (Barger). There are several things indeed that the US would have avoided long ago to prevent the occurrence of the Civil War.
The issue of secession should not have been treated so harsh by the Union. The South had every right to withdraw from the Union because they were entitled to revolution. Neither Madison nor Lincoln denied all the states right to revolution. If the Confederacy represented well the Revolution Act, then the seceding states were not supposed to be put down and blamed for rebellion. Since the Constitution made was supposed to govern all the states, the South was at Liberty to change it. It is the majority who made the Constitution and the majority would also change it whenever they need to. Any group or individual hold an inalienable right to fight against the majority (Sandefur 75).
Just like the British who embraced the Abolition Act of 1833, it was successful in curbing the escalating menace of savagery in the Empire. America was not different and the situation would be different if they embraced this option from the very start. They would also succeed in ending slavery without firing a single shot. Mel Barger in his article argues that if diplomatic negotiations and consistent political action had been done by 1840, that would have been the most suitable timing for the United States of America because around this time the emancipation act had relieved the British slaves from the West Indies (Barger).
Leaders both from the North and the South believed that the sovereignty of their states would be stronger after forming the Union under the United States of America’s Constitution. They wanted to be exempted from taxation without representation after secession from the British Empire. This enhanced animosity among these parties and South Carolina seceded from the Union. The seven states that followed South Carolina in withdrawal made Abraham Lincoln declare secession illegal under to the Constitution. In his speeches, Lincoln said that rebellious states would face war if it were necessary. These sentiments led to mobilization of an armed conflict in both parties and at this juncture the war seemed unavoidable. Reactions from the Southerners seemed a little harsh and they viewed Lincoln as their greatest enemy despite his sparkling personality. Eventually, he was assassinated.
Apart from slavery, another bone of contention for the Southerners’ rebellion was revenue collection of tariffs in the ports of the South and federal forts. The Southern states felt exploited by the North because of high tariff taxation imposed on them. Lincoln advocated for this taxation because this was the largest tax point that raised revenue to be used in other parts of the country. Later, federal forces based in the Charleston harbor also withdrew and moved to Fort Summer that seemed more secure and was the house for collection of duties. Three commissioners from South Carolina were sent to Washington to negotiate a treaty that would provide a solution to disputes about lighthouses, the arsenal, forts, and all those issues that would make South Carolina an independent state. Buchanan said he had no authority to fight over these matters and even weapons were moved to the South through his Democratic administration (Beck). From this, it is possible to conclude that diplomatic efforts to avoid civil war were infertile.
If to critically examine the cause of the war, Lincoln is seen to have contributed thereto more than any other person judging from some decisions he made. However, one cannot say he was the only cause of the Civil War. It can be argued that if Lincoln could have just called for peaceful negotiations without threatening rebellious states in his speeches, they might have treated that issue differently instead of launching an armed conflict that resulted in the Civil War.
Consequences of the policies implemented by Lincoln contributed to the conflict. For instance, he believed that it was his obligation to enforce laws that would unite the states even if they did not like. He took a high position that all states had to stick to the Union and were not supposed to secede. This decision looked a bit ironic because it conflicts with one of the speeches he made concerning the right of revolution. In one of his speeches, he said that any state that felt inclined thus was at liberty to choose its government that suited it. Perhaps, if he could have given up on high exploitative taxation rates in the seceded states and agreed to negotiate the federal installation, the war would not have erupted. Revenues the state had acquired from the South due to exploitative tariffs would have been avoided and, maybe, it would have reduced the anger of the Southerners (Beck).
In conclusion, Lincoln was an ambitious leader with his own vision of the future and his virtues of diligence, integrity, and determination made him a hero in the Northern states. His potential would be extremely helpful to the United States if it were utilized properly rather than subjecting the country to brutality and the war, which led to his demise. If the Civil War had not have erupted, it would have resulted in the greatest unity of the South and North America. It is high time that nations learn to solve their conflicts in a peaceful way without resorting to violence or else the society will eliminate itself just like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where side effects of military actions are still evident today.
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