Rather than asking whether it was "worth it," the important historical question regarding the Civil War is whether it could have been avoided. That leaves plenty of wars — the War ofthe Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War One, Vietnam, and Iraq to name a few — that I would arguably classify as unnecessary, or having been fought because of diplomatic failures, mistaken information, or in two cases World War One and Vietnam something close to utter deception by the political leadership at the time. The Civil War, though, is a unique event in American history, and it will remain as such for as long as there is a United States of America. When the time came to draft the Constitution 11 years later, there were several provisions written into the document that helped to preserve slavery in the states in which it existed.
Was the Civil War Inevitable? The American Revolution only released these independent British colonies from Imperial rule.
However, their unity in the Revolution already created a loose connection from State to State. This connection was confirmed in the Articles of Confederationfully ratified in This bound all of the member-states into a federation.
Each state gave up some independence to the federal government for mutual safety and well-being. One of the portions of the Constitution central to state powers, before the Civil War, was the Tenth Amendmentratified in Very loosely interpreted, the amendment could be grounds for a state leaving the Union, if the federal government attempted to impose a law where the state had jurisdiction.
The Nullification Crisis The strength of state powers vis-a-vis An avoidable civil war powers was tested in the Nullification Crisis, from The state government of South Carolina declared two tariff acts null and void in the state: The Tariff ofand the Tariff of The first, the Tariff ofprotected goods produced by Northern factories by taxing imports from Britain.
Southern states were forced to buy those goods at a more expensive price, even if the protection did not help them. This directly harmed the economy of the Southern states. On the other hand, the Tariff of tried to appease the Southern states by lowering the tariff. South Carolina rejected both this reduced tariff and the Tariff ofdeclaring them non-binding on the state.
As a result, President Andrew Jackson responded with a Proclamation declaring that ordinance, in its turn, void. The Southern states were not unified on a decision to secede, and South Carolina would not secede alone.
However, it set the precedent for possible Southern secession from the Union.
At the same time, the Force Act set the precedent for possible civil war in the event of a Southern secession. The Force Act allowed the United States government to respond militarily to any resistance to those enforcing tariffs.
They also legally protected any revenue officers from resistance by parties in resisting states. This tariff structure lowered import duties slowly, over a prolonged period of time.
This gave Northern industries a chance to continue industrialization, and removed the disadvantage of the Southern states. The Constitution was not even 50 years old. States were learning to live with one another in a Federation, and learning their relationship with the Federal government.
The Southern states were justified in protesting tariffs that favored Northern industries. However, they found they crossed a line in the nullification ordinance.
On the other hand, the Force Act may be considered an overreaction. With these precedents, the Civil War definitely became more probable. The Union already had an idea the South might secede; the South discovered the Union would react strongly.
The Nullification Crisis is an example of the wide economic differences between the Northern and the Southern States. Slavery is discussed here because, at least prior to the Civil War, it was more an economic concern to the Southern states than anything else.
The invention of the telegraph, the steamboat, and the sewing machine all occurred before the Civil War. In the industrializing Northeast, canals and railroads made industrial economic growth even faster.
In the case of the American Civil War, everything.
The Southern states were producing what was, bythe most important export: Because of this advantage, there was no incentive for the Southern states to change their economic ways for any reason.The American Civil War was Avoidable The explosion of the American Civil War was caused by a vast number of conflicting principles and prejudices, fueled by sectional differences, and set afire by a very unfortunate set of political events.
Was the Civil War Inevitable from an Economic Standpoint? From a Southern standpoint, it was the and Tariffs happening all over again: blatant favor given to Northern states over the Southern. However, this time, the target was the entire economic machine on . An Avoidable Great War.
Comments — Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. An Avoidable Civil War The explosion of the American Civil War was caused by a vast number of conflicting principles and prejudices, fueled by sectional differences, and set afire by a very unfortunate set of political events.
The American Civil War was no different in this regard, and no one can say that they truly saw it coming.
It is easy to speculate in retrospect and say that the war was unavoidable, but the truth is far more complicated than that. In reality, the American Civil War was not .
Was The American Civil War Avoidable? Rather than asking whether it was "worth it," the important historical question regarding the Civil War is whether it could have been avoided.