Road to the Civil War Joshua Douglas Axia College University of Phoenix It seems the United States is always at war. Our founding fathers fought the British for freedom and the Indians for land. Colonist fought each other for rights to land to grow their crops. Slaves fought for freedom and independence in this new country they were forced to live in. Slave owners fought for the right to keep their slaves so they could profit from their work. Women fought for their rights to be equal, to work outside the home and to vote.
The North and the South fought each other in a Civil War for their rights to own slaves and to outlaw slaves. Why are wars important? The impact of war may seem negative at time. The loss of life and resources is tragic but many times the outcome of the war moved the United States forward shaping her into the country she is today. Tobacco was the crop to grow. It grew successfully and was in demand. In 1620, the demand for tobacco reached an all time high and the prices of products in Europe rose. Many people from Europe were out of jobs and unable to afford the things they needed to survive and take care of their families.
Many left Europe and traveled across the continent to the United States where they thought they would be able to survive. Many of the immigrants arrived in Chesapeake looking for work. They were called indentured slaves and were required to work a certain number of years. Most indentured slaves did not live their entire term due to hunger, disease and the general conditions and abuse they were put under. This was the starting point of slavery. The boom in tobacco was sure to end at some point. During these times, the economy rose and fell on a whim.
Indeed, in the1630’s and 1640’s the tobacco boom settled down. Virginia became a more social and political state. Wealthy settlers rose to political offices. They formed militias and defenses to govern their parishes. Since tobacco had become less profitable, the slaves were not worked as hard. This allowed many slaves to survive long enough to finish their indentures. Once they had done this, many slaves started working as hired hands on the plantations. Many saved their money and eventually they were able to buy their own land and become independent planters making their own profits.
The economy swung back up in the years following the War of 1812. A domestic market emerged cutting off complete dependence on world trade. Many inventors also emerged with products that would make Americans more efficient and would help produce more products. Eli Whitney was one such inventor. He invented the cotton gin which removed sticky seeds from the lint. This was a huge success. Slaves were now able to clean more cotton per day which caused the cotton production to grow in the lower south. By 1840 the South produced a large portion of the world’s cotton supply.
The rise in industries also helped the transportation circuit to grow by creating railroads to transport goods quickly. The economy was great but there were still issues regarding slavery and human rights. Women started speaking out about their rights such as working outside the home. Abolitionist emerged and started also speaking out about slavery. Many Southern colonists like their slaves. They were able to produce large quantities of crops quicker because they had so many people working the fields. They profited and were wealthy. Slaves allowed them to live the lifestyle of the wealthy.
Many Northern colonists did not agree with slavery. Slavery was wrong and went against the very grain of what this country was founded on. The country was clearly starting to divide over these issues. The Dred Scott decision in 1857 was a major turning point on the road to the Civil War. Dred Scott was a slave that lived in Missouri. His master had taken him to live in Illinois which was a free state. Eventually the owner returned to Missouri which was not a free state. Dred Scott sued for his freedom stating he went to live in a free state thus making him free and he should remain free.
The case went to the Supreme Court. The court was made up of two northern judges and five southern judges. In the end, the ruling was 7 to 2 that Scott should remain a slave. Roger Taney of Maryland was a member of the Supreme Court. He was one of the judges that voted in favor of Dred Scott remaining a slave. He felt that African Americans were not and would never be a citizen of the United States and he made his opinion known. Around the country, the reaction to the decision varied. Many Southern colonists were happy with the decision.
They wanted to keep their slaves and continue to profit off them and live the life of a wealthy man. While many Northern colonist felt this was unconstitutional. The Constitution of the United States was founded on the idea of freedom for all, not just a selected few. The result of this decision had a huge impact on the South. The decision spurred them to action. In 1861, South Carolina seceded from the Union and the rest of the South followed splitting the North from the South. The Civil War now loomed on the horizon. The Civil War was a significant part of the United States history.
Our founding fathers traveled across the continent from Europe to the Americas. They were looking for a new life, freedom from an opposing ruler and oppression from the social classes. Many early colonists had died in this pursuit of freedom. The survivors kept soldiering on, continuing to explore this new land and bargain with the Indians and other countries that had laid siege to different territories. Many wars were fought in this pursuit of freedom. These events, however unfortunate they might be, started shaping our country into what it is today.
Had the men and the women in this country just set back and did nothing, where would we be today? What would this country be like? The Civil War and the result of the outcome of the Civil War turned out to be one of the most instrumental parts of our history. Many men and women died in the pursuit of freedom and equality that allows us to enjoy the freedoms and rights we have today. References: Davidson, J. , Gienapp, W. , Heyrman, C. , Lytle, M. , & Stoff, M. (2006). Nation of nations: A concise narrative of the American Republic (4th ed. ). Boston: McGraw Hill.