The Civil War

The Civil War

The Civil War began in 1861 with the conflict at Fort Sumter, South Carolina and ended when General Lee surrendered to General Grant in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia in 1865. However, the sectional conflict between the North and the South began long before the war. Many people believe the main cause of the war was the issue of slavery. Even President Lincoln said, in his second inaugural address in 1965, that “all knew [that slavery] was somehow the cause of the war.” While slavery was an issue, it was not the single cause of the Civil War. Colonists believed that indentured servant hood and slavery were vital for colonial success, which was a definite break from English law and custom. In the 17th century, the colonies legally established slavery. Since Englishmen could not legally be slaves due to their rights to “life, liberty, and property,” the English imported slaves from West Africa. There were geographical and settlement differences in slavery throughout the colonies. The Chesapeake needed slaves for the harvest of tobacco. Planters wanted a stable and less-threatening labor force to reduce class conflict. White Virginians, of all classes, applied a “natural inferiority” to blacks. In New England, slavery did not last long. The Puritans only accepted slavery under two conditions: They had to be convicted of a capital crime, or they had been have been taken captive during wartime. New England was a small-scale farming community and not advantageous to slave labor, therefore slavery was not an economic requirement. Since New England was a more urban area, they were usually more skilled and were status symbols. Often, they were incorporated into society. Slavery in South Carolina was completely different. The first settlers brought their own slaves with them from Barbados. The whites relied on the slaves for survival because they knew the climate and agriculture. It is evident that there was divisio…


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