Histore Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

The succession of the eleven southern states significantly impacted the United States and its citizens during the years of 1860 and 1861. Many people are curious as to why, after many years of unification and prosperity, the North and South would find it necessary to split apart. Many aspects contributed to the southern states decision to succeed from the union including: the diverse perspectives on the emancipation of slavery, the South’s belief it was capable of being self sufficient, as well as, standing as a nation on its own, and the concern that the Constitution of the United States was being altered from the original meaning it was meant to have.
The debate over slavery, what it stood for, and what rights the African American population was actually granted by the Constitution was probably the most significant issue contributing to secession. In his 1858 "On the Irrepressible Conflict," William Seward addresses the condition of the United States clearly by stating, “Our Country is a theatre, which exhibits, in full operation, two radically different political systems; the one resting on the basis of servile or slave labor, the other on voluntary labor of freemen.” This statement is evidence that each side had completely different interpretations of the rights that were set forth to the slave population within the Constitution. The South believed the Constitution granted the African American slaves no civil liberties at all. They had no rights guaranteed to them from the Founding Fathers or the provisions set forth within the Constitution. They were considered property, such as a piece of merchandise, and should only be allowed the freedoms in which their owners would permit them to have. The slaves were viewed as a necessatity in order to keep the South abundant. The forms of servitude they supplied and the high endurance of the African Americans made them a very profitable commodity to the Southern states. The North, however, declared that even though the African American race had arrived in a state of bondage, the Constitution guaranteed the same rights, freedoms and liberties to the slave population as any other citizen living in the states. They wanted freedom for the slaves, and guaranteed them such, if they were able to successfully make it to the Mason Dixon line; the line which separated the North from the South, bondage from freedom. The North felt so strongly in this equality that there were many accounts of heroes, such as John Brown, trying to make a voiced declaration for the rights of the southern slaves. Many of these acts were intended to give slaves hope, all the while enticing the slaves themselves to build tensions among their owners; allowing slave owners the taste of fear and the question of what actions the slaves might actually be capable of. Succession of the southern states from the union was necessary in order to continue the South’s way of life.
The South believed that because of their abundant...

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