The American Civil War is one of the most significant events in the history of the United States. In fact, it often does not miss in a sentence that touches on the history of the United States, just like the name Lincoln. The Civil War resulted following the declaration of seven slave states in the South of their intention to secede from the rest of the United States. These opposing states formed the Confederacy and fought against the Union states in a war that lasted between 1861 and 1865 (Kingseed, 2004). The war claimed an estimated 600,000 soldiers and caused extensive loss of infrastructure in the South. The positive effect of this war was the abolishment of slavery in the United States and the ultimate creation of a united country.
The irresponsible conflict theory of the American Civil War was based on the belief that the war culminated from an interplay of opposing forces in the North and the South of the United States. The group that supports this theory about the American Civil War believed that the Civil War resulted from irrefutable disagreements between the North and the South. There were several opposing forces that contributed to the American Civil War. According to the group that believed in this theory, these opposing forces touched on important issues such as slavery, protectionism, sectionalism, territorial borders among other conflicting policies.
The issue of slavery can be blamed as the main cause of the American Civil War. Slavery was an issue that elicited deep and strong emotions in both its protagonists as well as in its antagonists. The protagonist forces of slavery were deeply opposed to any attempt at eradication of the vice while the antagonists were willing to do anything possible to change the situation. The Southern states were strongly in support of slavery while the Northern states were opposed to the continuation of slavery. The anti-slavery forces aimed at stopping the expansion of the practice in order to gradually phase it out. Irreconcilable differences on the issue of slavery divided the Democratic Party into the North and the South while the Republican Party fully advocated for an end to the expansion of slavery. Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, argued that with containment of expansion, slavery would die out eventually.
Protagonists of slavery wanted to expand the slave market by reopening the international slave trade in order to populate the new territories. Continued disputes and disagreements necessitated a partisan meeting in Kansas, which almost led to the admission of Kansas as a slave state. Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, who were both pro-south, presided the vote fraud that almost gave a win to the south. The North had their first major win when the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution was rejected by the Congress in 1857. There was a physical confrontation between the opposing and proposing forces of slavery in 1856 when a congressman from the South, Preston Brooks engaged in a fight with a republican, Charles Sumner, who had ridiculed slaveholders (Knight, 2003).
Sectional differences on slavery resulted in the collapse of the ‘Know-Nothing’ and ‘Whig’ parties. The antagonist Northerners solemnly stood in solidarity with Abraham Lincoln who acted as their political leader of the Republican Party, which considered slavery a national evil. Stephen Douglas, a Democrat, believed that the issue of slavery in Kansas would only be dealt with by local laws rather than by a congressional vote.
The United States of America expanded extensively in the early and mid-1800s through conquest, negotiations and purchase. The new states entered the union of the United States as slave states. These states included Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Florida. There were also some portions of Alabama and the state of Mississippi. The supporting forces of slavery were also aiming at expanding their conquest and slavery to other areas such as states in Central America and Cuba. On the other hand, the Northerners were firmly against these efforts, and this culminated in the collision of pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces.
The pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces developed four doctrines that were aimed at creating a solution to the question of the extent of federal control over the territories. The Constitutional Union Party produced a conservative theory that espoused that determination of slave and free states should be mandated to the constitution of the United States. This doctrine was brought to light in 1860, during theCrittenden Compromise introduced by Senator John Crittenden. The senator proposed six amendments of the constitution of the United States as well as four resolutions in the Congress. The changes aimed at guaranteeing a permanent existence of slavery in the southern states and other states which were exercising slavery. This compromise was supported by the southerners who firmly believed in slavery (Tulloch, 1999). The Republicans, on the other hand, opposed the compromise, because they did not want further expansion of slavery outside where it already existed. The compromise was rejected by both the senate and the House of Representatives, but was discussed in the Peace Conference as a last ditch effort to stop the start of the war.
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Abraham Lincoln together with the Republican Party championed the doctrine of Congressional pre-eminence. They supposed that slavery could be abolished altogether from a state following the discretion of the congress through the due process of the Fifth Amendment. This group proposed that the congress be empowered to abolish slavery from the state, but never to establish. This was ultimately announced by Wilmot Proviso in 1846.
The two doctrines that rejected federal interference of slavery were proposed by the Democratic senator of Illinois, Stephen Douglas from the north and his southern counterpart, Jefferson Davis. Douglas came up with the territorial doctrine that supposed that only the locals should have the rights to establish or abolish slavery in a territory. This doctrine was legislated in 1854 as the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The theory of state by sovereignty by John Calhoun was almost similar with the territorial doctrine.