History of the United States in the 19th Century

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What issue(s) did the sectional crisis between North and South hinge?

Expansion of slavery in the West created problems between the North and the South of the United States from the very beginning. Battles emerged over its development and the federal government in protecting the interests of slaveholders. The Northerners and the Southerners had different fears regarding the expansion of slavery. Northern workers felt that the wages were suppressed due to the presence of slaves and that the slaves were stealing their land. Southerners, on the other hand, feared that without the spread of slavery, the abolitionist’s group would take over the national politics and an increasingly dense population of slaves would lead to rebellion and civil unrest (“The Sectional Crisis,” ch. 13).

A robust proslavery government was required to maintain order from the constant resistance of enslaved men and women. However, the issues brought disagreement among the Northerners and the Southerners on the role of the federal government to capture and return these freedom seekers. Northerners urged to their states’ rights to avoid capturing slaves while the southerners demanded a national commitment to slavery. Enslaved laborers remained important to the nation’s economy developing not only the Southern economy but also provision of raw materials for the industrial North (“The Sectional Crisis,” Ch. 13).

Differences over the fate of the slaves remained at the center of the American politics as the United States expanded. After years of conflict, both North and South Americans feared that the opposite section of the country had seized control of the government. By 1860, an opponent of the slavery`s expansion arose from within the Republican Party (“The Sectional Crisis,” Ch. 13).

From the ancient past, slavery had been viewed as a natural way of life. They worked in plantations and ports, and they helped generate tremendous wealth for the British crown. As time moved on, the slaves rejected the longstanding idea that slavery was a condition naturally fitting some people. With that, a new Trans-Atlantic Antislavery movement argued that freedom was the natural condition of man. The Missouri Territory marked a turning point in the sectional crisis. When the congress opened its debate over Missouri`s admission to the Union, Congressman James Tallmadge of New York proposed laws to abolish slavery in the new state. The southern state responded with collective outrage, and the nation shuddered at an undeniable controversy. It was evident how divisive the slavery issue had become from the exposure resulting from the Missouri Compromise (“The Sectional Crisis,” Ch. 13).

The 1850 Compromise tried to offer a solution to everyone, but instead, it worsened the sectional crisis. For Southerners, the slave law empowered the federal government to deputize regular citizens into arresting runaways. Northerners became radicalized, and organizations like New England Aid Society provided guns for the individuals ready to fight for antislavery through popular sovereignty. In all dimensions of the slavery issue, politics became increasingly militarized. The Republican Party had promised rise of an antislavery coalition, but voters rebuked it, and the lessons were clear enough. The colossal sectional crisis was now becoming a national crisis, worse that no one was willing to relent. In fact, Kansas City attracted militants representing the opposing sides of the slavery debate (“The Sectional Crisis,” Ch. 13).

For the last decade, slavery had long divided the politics of the United States, and these divisions were both sectional and irreconcilable. Nevertheless, with the rise of the antislavery coalition in the 1850s a coalition named the Republican Party was eager to cordon slavery and put it back to where it already existed. With the revelation of the secession crisis, it was evident that the Southerners could not accept the federal government working against the interests of the slavery expansion (“The Sectional Crisis,” Ch. 13).

Discuss the effects of the United States’ production of cotton in the 19th century

Cotton in the United States is believed to have developed long before the Civil war started. This development is associated with the growth in the economy, increase in population and expansion of the American south. New technologies and practices were used while at the same time seeking to improve on the traditional and cultural traditions, which included agricultural production and slavery. Cotton production led to the expansion of cities, and the population became cosmopolitan. Moreover, people became educated and wealthier with systems of lower, middle and upper classes becoming more evident (“The Cotton Revolution,” Ch. 11).

The first seven bales to arrive in Europe were imported in November 1785. The delivery was unscheduled and unwanted since the merchants from Europe considered cotton products of the Caribbean Islands. Not everybody knew that the seven bales would change the world. Before long, there was competition from botanists, merchants, and planters who set out to develop strains of cottonseed that would grow in the new lands which were opened up through the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The American global cotton market changed forever after the discovery of Petit Gulf. The change was promising with the cotton growth the newest and profitable thing in town. Cotton was different, and it was introduced at a time best suited for its success. It was the average person’s commodity since it grew on cheap; widely available land (“The Cotton Revolution,” Ch. 11).

The land was readily available to the white men who did not have much dollars and with big dreams after the Indian removal. With this, the federal government was allowed to survey, divide and auction off acres of land regardless of the amount one was willing to pay and this made it possible for farmers who had dreams of owning a large plantation would purchase dozens of acres for as low as 40 per acre. The explosion of available land brought new life to the south. Banks offered credit to anyone looking forward to purchasing property in the south and thus opening up the Southwest (“The Cotton Revolution,” Ch. 11).

Cotton changed much of the south. Internal travel and supply that was earlier difficult were now possible on the waters of the Mississippi River. It promised a revolution in transportation, trade, and commerce. Cotton had become the pillar of the southern economy. Advances in the steam power and water travel revolutionized Southern farmers, and by the end of the 1830s, cotton had become the primary crop not only of the Southwestern States but also the whole nation at large (“The Cotton Revolution,” Ch. 11).

The actuality of slavery in the south was dominant everywhere to the extent that the instructions slaves got restricted them from understanding their place in the society. They worked in fields while farmers took charge of their plantations and farms. Slavery was a way of life especially when farmers expanded their lands and planted more crops. Therefore, the rise of cotton attached the south to slavery. Slavery was the backbone to cotton planting, and without it, there could be no Cotton Kingdom, no massive production of raw materials and the two (cotton and slavery) moved hand in hand, cotton grew alongside slavery. Some slaves chose to practice their version of Christianity that incorporated aspects of Traditional African Society. Despite slaves living under rules and in full subjection to their masters in cotton plantations, there was still fear on what to do if at all slavery would be under threat (“The Cotton Revolution,” Ch. 11).

To what extent were the Civil War and Reconstruction revolutionary? (Consider the history of disenfranchisement and enfranchisement in the US. Historians will conquer the fact that the civil war and the reconstruction came along with the revolution. The civil war that happened in the 19th century in the US was the bloodiest in the country’s history. The war resulted in not less than 700,000 deaths as it came at a time slavery was at its peak. A war that had started with northerners preserving the Union ended up in a battle of eradicating slavery (“The Civil War,” Ch. 14).

The election of 1860 and its secession are attributed to the civil war, which on the other hand had brought about dignified life among all people in America. Before the election, the Democratic Party had split over differences towards the policy of slavery. The party leaders refused to include a pro-slavery platform in the party. In fact, it led to some leaders defecting from the party.  On the Republicans side, their initial unity ended up in secession after Abraham Lincoln was nominated. In fact, when Abraham Lincoln was elected as president in 1860, he was a significant threat to the institution of slavery (“The Civil War,” Ch. 14).

When Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861, he declared that secession was void. However, Abraham Lincoln did not intend to attack the southern states, which had utterly seceded although possession of the federal property within the seceded lands had to be retrieved. The civil war started with the attempt to evacuate Sumter fort in Charleston. The unrest that was beginning to add up was beginning to be a center of attraction to countries such as Britain, France, Spain, Russia and other far beyond nations. The war was seen as a democratic experiment that other states were hoping to emulate. If slavery in cotton farms came to a halt, democracy in the United States of America would be realized. In fact, Abraham Lincoln believed that the addition of African American troops in the fight against slavery. As such, African American soldiers went against all the odds of inequality in the military service by using their positions in the army to reunite society. As the civil war was ending in 1865, secession had been solved. Furthermore, slavery was eradicated although owners of cotton plantations had cotton in their farm and no labor (“The Civil War,” Ch. 14).

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On the other hand, the reconstruction period can be said to have been revolutionary since the ended slavery saw the North and the South reunite. As a result, the economy was set to grow alongside territorial expansion. However, the revolution did have not only positive effects but also adverse effects. After the Civil War, much of the south of the US was ruined. People in the region did not have better access to passable roads. The aftermath of the war and the end of slavery was about to make Americans second-class citizens (“The Reconstruction,” Ch. 15). The future of the people of the South was left desperate and uncertain about the future. However, the reconstruction raised the questions of the citizenry of both Americans and African Americans. As a way of reinforcing the end of slavery that had nearly existed for 250 years, the Congress passed the Thirteen Amendment in January 1865. Indeed, the amendment is the reason as to why slavery is not carried out today. Reconstruction in 1867 came along with the elimination of discriminatory voting. Apparently, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, African American have deprived some rights, but in 1867, democracy was upheld, and now African Americans would occupy positions of power for the first time in the history of America (“The Reconstruction,” Ch. 15).

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  1. The American Yawp.8. The Cotton Revolution. 2017. Web.14.12.2017.
  2. The American Yawp.15.The Reconstruction. 2017. Web. 14.12.2017.
  3. The American Yawp 14. The Civil War. 2017. Web. 14.12.2017
  4. The American Yawp. 13. The Sectional Crisis. Web. 14.12.2017
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