Why did America experience Civil War?
Spreading as it did in the continental United States, slavery and slave trade became a partisan political issue that raised serious humanitarian concerns. Based scholarly evidence, there is unanimous consent that the issue of slavery was at the epicenter of the American Civil War. In 1857, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling in the infamous Dred Scott v Stanford. The Dred Scott decision declared that slaves were not inherently dignified as humans hence not recognized by law as such. In as series of humanitarian campaigns, slain American president Lincoln sharply disowned this decision as he pledged to abolish slavery. While slavery set the ground the Civil War, historians believe that Lincoln’s election to the Oval Office and the subsequent secession of the South were the immediate triggers of the war.
Ward (2000) reckons that that the 1860 presidential poll between Lincoln and Douglas was essentially a referendum on slavery. Lincoln’s election angered a section of Southern states for fear that he would make good on his pledge to end slavery, which they believed had become part of the American culture. Led by South Carolina, they declared their secession subsequently forming the Confederate States of America. Scheduled diplomatic dialogue hit a stalemate. As the animosity grew, tension mounted culminating into a war pitting the Confederacy against the Union. This perpetuated an atmosphere of war as fear, hysteria and paranoia swept through America. Occasioned by full scale military confrontation and guerilla warfare, the civil war broke out in 1861 before Lincoln assumed office January. At the height of the war, the series of upheavals and military raids claimed the lives of thousands of American civilians and soldiers and leaving property worth millions of dollars destroyed.
The declaration of secession presented a significant challenge for Lincoln’s presidency; as he sought reconciliation and tolerance on humanitarian grounds, the plantation elite in the South remained adamant in their defense of slavery. Meanwhile, Lincoln’s administration was dedicated to abolition, which was deemed a cause worth fighting for in defense of the equality mantra upon which Lincoln wanted to build the cornerstone of American democracy. In 1862, Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves while outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude under the auspices of the Twelfth Amendment. Following the Compromise of 1877, the war subsided as the Union subdued the Confederacy.