Since the independence, the USA has followed a spectacular path of
growth on all sides ( politics, economy, social life...).
attracted a huge number of foreign visitors whom have studied the
situation of the country especially during the mid 19th century.
Although, all the world was marveled by it's vitality and
strength but one big black spot that turned to critics all the complements
that should have been conceded, it is slavery.
By 1850, the
American society included 23 million people in a union comprised 31
states. During that time the USA reached a high level of
development; The northern part especially New England & the
middle Atlantic states were a great centers of manufacturing,
commerce and finance they produces textile, lumber, clothing,
implements... by the same time shipping was a big sector that has
prospered, vessels from the United states were crossing the whole
world. The south from the Atlantic to the Mississippi River and
beyond was a relatively compact political unite featuring an economy
centered on agriculture. The southern states produced cotton,
tobacco, wheat, meat... All this crop was produced by slaves working
in plantations. Thereof, slavery was a fundamental base of the southern
In the 19
century the major difference between the North and the south was the
the adoption of slavery in the latter. The northern part was a prosper
industrialized area whether the South was an agriculture based
economy. So the Northerners justified the south backwardness by the
adoption of the slavery system. Thereof, the slave population that
served to cultivate crop should have been used to promote the
industrialization movement. To Northerners slaves
constituted a labor capital that was not adequately utilized. Besides,
slavery was a system of brutality in which beating and separating
families was commonplace. However, the fact that censored slavery
was not the behavior of individual masters and overseers
toward the slaves, but slavery's fundamental violation of every
human being's inalienable right to be free.
Southern political leaders wanted to consolidate slavery system by
getting additional slave states as the expansion to the west went
on. So northerners saw a conspiracy in the southerners
thoughts to set a slavery enlargement pattern and
to offset the admission of new free states.
Antislavery movements have begun since the revolution, on of
its actions was the abolition of slaves' trade with Africa by the
Congress in 1808. Till 1830, the American antislavery movement
was a bit shy. In the1830's the rising
abolitionist movement was combative, the movement demanded an immediate
end to slavery
with no compromise. The movement's leader was William Lloyd
Garrison from Massachusetts. Garrison, played an active role
in awakening northerners to the evil of slavery who was helped
by Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who became the spokesman for
the Massachusetts Antislavery Society and the editor of The
Abolitionist weekly newspaper.
Many actions took place by the antislavery movement to liberate
slaves such as the setting of a network of secret routes to help
slaves escaping from the south to Canada.
Although great efforts were do by abolitionist movement to
make slavery a question of conscience, The wholesome of northerners
set aside from taking active role in the cause or actively opposed
it. Moreover, in 1836, abolitionists asked the Congress to vote a
ban of the slavery in the District of Columbia but nothing was noticed about this claim till 1844 the date of
the repeal of the so called "gag rule" which
consisted on adjourning the debate on the claim every time it was
bring to table.
1845 Texas became the 28th state after its independence from
Mexico in 1836. At that time the United States wanted at any
price to expand westward to the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, the
American government attempted to buy the New Mexico and California
from the Mexican Government, but the latter refused. After a clash
between the American and the Mexican troops in El Rio Grande, the
United States declared war in 1846, so the U S A occupied the territory
of New Mexico, invaded Mexico in 1847. After the resignation of
Santa Anna, the United States negotiated the Treaty of
Guadalupe Hildago in which Mexico
ceded the southwest region and California for $15 million.
After the conclusion of the Mexican war the Federal Government
of the United States gained a vast territory of 1.36 million squares
Kilometers which include the present day states of Arizona, Nevada,
California, Utah, parts of New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. This
acquisition revived the question of whether these new States
would be slave or free.
The Mexican War American troops proved to be a training ground in
which many new war techniques and military strategies have
been experienced. Those troops which will fight on both sides in the
In the first
time that quarrels between the North and the South commenced they
resulted in the Missouri Compromise in 1820. However, The newly acquired
territories reopened once again the debate upon slavery.
Northerners believed that slavery should decline & die and
there were no way for the admission of new slave states, to legitimize
their point of view they pointed to the statement of George
Washington and Thomas Jefferson and to the Ordinance of 1787
which forbade the extension of slavery to the Northwest. From the
other corner of the ring, extremist southerners wanted that all the
newly sized territories should be opened to slavery at least they
wanted to extend the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific
Ocean with free states northward and slave states southward.
Others proposed that the question should be left to popular
sovereignty, that means that government should permit to settlers to
enter the new territories with or without slaves as they want. And
when it would be the time to establish an organized government the
people themselves would decide whether the state would be slave or
free one. Many states din
not approve the
Popular Sovereignty Issue. Meanwhile, by the
year 1848 about 300.000 Northerners voted the
creation of a Free-soil Party.
The rush for the the Californian gold, discovered in 1848 urged the
Federal Government to take a crucial decision about the
disposition of the new lands. Once again it was an other issue that
was advantaging the sectional quarrels.
Tensions raised between Northern and southern politicians and
threatening conflict was about to blast until Senator Henry
Clay, who twice before in time of
crises had come forward
arrangements. Senator Henry Clay set up a compromise
known as the Compromise of
contained the following provisions:
-California would enter the Union as a free-soil State (Slavery is
-The other territories would be divides into the the territories of
New Mexico and Utah that would be organized without mention of
-The claims of Texas to a portion of New Mexico can be appeased by
the payment of $10 million;
-More effective machinery would be set to catch runaway slaves
and returning to their masters;
-The slaves' trade would be abolished (but not slavery) in the
District of Columbia.
This compromise saved -for a few time - the country from being
As new territories have been settled ( which comprises the
actual states of Nebraska & Kansas) arranging them into
free or slave states set the quarrels more bitter and division
seemed to be more obvious into the nation.
During that epoch marking men entered the political scene
among them we can mention Stephan A Douglas, the democratic
senior senator from Illinois who proposed a bill that permitted
carrying slaves into the territories of Nebraska
& Utah which enraged the free-soil supporters. But the
Republicans opposed this suggestion. In 1856 the Republicans
nominated John Freemont the Far West expeditionary force leader. The
free-soil leaders such as Salmon P. Chase and William Seward
had active role in the Northern awakening. Anyway, the most
remarkable figure was an Illinois Attorney Abraham Lincoln.
For a long time Abraham Lincoln regarded Slavery as an evil that
would sooner or later shacked the integrity of the United States. In
his opening speech opposing Stephan A. Douglas for the US Senate
from Illinois in 1858, he said:"
A house divided
against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure
permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the union to
be dissolved- I do not expect the house to fall -but I will expect
it will cease to be divided"
In 1860 the Republican candidate for the
presidential election was,
Abraham Lincoln versus the
democratic Douglas. By February 1861, 7 slave
states including South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida,
Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas declared secession
from the union, fearing the absolute fact that Abraham
Lincoln, the anti-slavery, would be elected president of the U S
A. In March 4, 1861 Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as a
president of the United States of America. In his inaugural address,
president Lincoln, refused to recognize secession and invited the
nation to save its integrity, but the south didn't consider the
president's directives. And on April 12 the first clash occurred
between the South and the North at Fort Sumter. in response to clash
the other slave states that remained loyal such as Virginia,
Arkansas Tennessee and North Carolina seceded as well. with
Virginia went Colonel Robert E. Lee who declined the commandment of
the Union Army out of loyalty to his state. thereafter, a
Confederate government was established and a president a the
Confederation of the United States of America was appointed, the Mississippian
North and South was engaged in a 4 year war in which the United
States lost the biggest number of people ever lost in
all the wars in which the U S A have engaged. Through
a series of battles in which the Northern forces under the commandment
of the greatest generals of all the time fought to restore the
The most remarkable men in the civil war were general Ulysses S.
Grant the Commander of the Northern Armies and General Robert
E. Lee the commander of the Southern troops. Both men combated for
the honor of their beliefs, they set up strategies and fighting
frameworks that are still taught in war universities.
The Unionists gained the war after the defeat and the capitulation
of General Robert E. Lee to Grant on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox .
the most known battle that was the decisive one is Gettysburg, it
was a tree- days battle in which the Northern forces intercepted
Robert E. Lee and his army on his way to Harrisburg. Unionists
Lost 3.000 soldiers and Southerners lost 4.000 one.
Ulysses S. Grant
Robert E. Lee
that shacked the American normal life produced a great hero in
the person of Abraham Lincoln who saved the nation from the collapse
of the split not by force and oppression but by wisdom and
generosity. In 1864 he was reelected as president, defeating
his democratic opponent, George McClellan, the general whom Lincoln
had dismissed after the battle of Antietam September 17, 1862.
Lincoln's second inaugural address closed with these memorable
malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the
right, as god give us to see the right, let us strive on to finish
the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him
who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his
orphans...to do all which may archive and cherish a just and lasting
peace among ourselves and with all nations."
On an attendance of a performance at Ford's theater on April 14,
1865 he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth who
was embittered by the South's defeat. Lincoln died on the morning of
After the end of the war the Federal government began a
reconstruction program for the south. Members of the Congress
believed that Blacks should be given full citizenship, so the
Congress passed the 14th Amendment to the constitution , which
states that "
All persons born
or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof, are citizens of the united states and the states in which
First southern state legislators with the exception of the Tennessee
refused to ratify the amendment. But after presser set by the
Federal government they ratified it the said amendment in
1868. Soon after, the 15th Amendment was passed
and ratified in 1870 which states that "The
rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied
or abridged by the United States or any state on account of race,
color or previous condition of servitude."