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A lot has been said on whether the civil war could have been prevented or not. This research paper seeks to look into the events that led up to the war and analyze whether it could have avoided or postponed since President Lincoln assumed office as the President of the United States. This paper shall first take a look into the causes of the civil war. What were the main issues that the two divides fought about? Were they inevitable? The research will then look at the actions of several leaders including President Lincoln to see whether his actions could have delayed the war or accelerate it. This study is very important because it takes an in-depth analysis of the main causes of the civil war. There have been various research carried out by individual researchers as well as other institutions on this topic. The scholars have more or less agreed about my topic, and my paper argues for a better interpretation.
This study has utilized a comparative case study as the methodology. There are a number of benefits that come with the use of this type of methodology because information dealing with the research topic is in abundance. By looking at previous researches and studies, this research ascertains various opinions and literature written about the Civil War and whether it could have been avoided. One important thing to note about the war is that, none of the leaders had anticipated on such magnitude that characterized the war. It is evident that during 1860 to 1861, many people wanted to avert a possible war. However, many events that were going on at the time seemed to dictate the otherwise.
This research first takes a look at what was contained in President Lincoln's first inaugural address. It started with him stating that he would not temper with matters of administration which had no excitement to the whole of the United States (Sandburg 50-7). Most of the speech addressed the fears harbored by southerners, notably; the southerners had been worried that a Republican administration would endanger their personal security and property as well. The address went on to touch on a number of other issues like slavery, to which Lincoln said he had no intentions of interfering with, wherever it had already existed. He also stated that he would not use force against the south for as long as they never took up arms against the government.
The inaugural speech also stated that mails would continue operate in the south unless they were repelled. Lincoln emphasized that he would protect and preserve the Constitution of the United States, including in the states that had seceded. The speech ended with a call for calm and peace amidst the rising tension that was eminent throughout the United States. In a summary, the speech was focused on creating peace with the South (Sandburg 65-8). It is evident that Lincoln wanted the whole of the United States to remain United. He is even quoted as saying that he wants the whole North and South divide to be friends and not enemies, and that they must not be enemies (Jaffa 73-7). However, the war started a few weeks later. This is what leads to the main question; could the war have been avoided?
While Lincoln promised not to invade the South, he had warned against a civil war. He had even called for a peaceful solution and order to be restored between the two warring factions. Notably, the president was against secession, terming it as illegal and that force against the Federal government equated treason. He never recognized the Confederate States as being legal and avoided any talks with their representatives. He was for the idea that the South rejoins with the Union if they ever wanted talks. His speech was widely applauded by the Northerners, but met a different reaction in the South. There are those who maintained silence, while others saw it as brutal. This was especially so with states that wanted to break away from the Union and join the Confederacy.
From this hardliner position, it is evident that a war was eminent unless the President relinquished his position. However, he was very cautious not to begin the war, but insisted that he would protect government property in the South. Lincoln kept control over Federal Forts in South Carolina by refusing to withdraw Federal Forces from there. On the other hand, Jefferson Davis authorized the attack by his forces that started the fighting. This research establishes that the two sides and leaders were hardliners. Despite the fact that the South had ill motives of withdrawing from the Union, Lincoln never wanted the Southerners to secede from the Union (Goodwin 132). This two positions taken by the North and South add up to the fact that the war could not been avoided because they all thought they were on the right sides and would have never backed down.
There are many authors who have suggested that, despite the conflict and misunderstandings that were present between the North and South, the civil war could have been avoided. On the other hand, there are others who claim that the war was unavoidable. They claim this after taking an in-depth study of the situation, as well as events that happened just before the war. This research paper takes a look at the main causes of the war to ascertain as to whether the war was inevitable. One important thing to note is that the two sides had opposing political and socioeconomic interests (James 145-0). Notably, while the North was mostly industrial and had individual families operating most of its farms, the South had huge plantations that put into use slavery. They were not yet industrialized and saw slavery as the only solution to their huge workload.
These are two major reasons as to why the civil war seemed inevitable; politics and slavery. Firstly, slavery was very much encouraged in the south while the North wanted to abolish it. Secondly, the two were also divided over the powers between federal and state governments. Most states in the South wanted states to have rights to overrule federal laws. Their states were self-sufficient and felt they never needed a strong Federal Government (James 450). With this different opinions, were there chances that the Civil War could have been averted? In my view, all events that lead to the war suggested that it was eminent. Furthermore, the two factions had a wide drift in their national interests. War seemed to be the only way that one of the sides would win over the other. This is especially so because both had pride and never wanted to relinquish their ambitions.
With the eminent expansion of slavery and slavery by the South, the only way that the war might have been prevented is for the Republicans to have given up their intentions of curbing the spread of slavery and ending it as well. Notably, this was the course of Lincoln and his republican allies throughout the North, in which they sought to, defend the ideology of free labor. On the other hand, the Southerners secessionists had to leave behind the idea that their racial order and slave society was under threat from the Republicans. They could have just waited for another round of elections so as to topple the existing government. On the other hand, the North would have left the South to come to realize that slavery cost them economically. However, none of the two sides wanted to relinquish their quests and wanted to go to war with the other to prove their superiority and rights.
The research has also established that the divide between the North and South was too wide for a war to be averted (James 125-8). Despite Lincoln stating that he would not invade the South, the South always felt that the Federal Government always ignored their policies. Moreover, it seems that the Federal Government was pro-North since it wanted to abolish Slave trade. After Lincoln became President, the southerners saw it as a blow to them, as they feared that he would subdue them. The first reports of war started on the twelfth of April 1861, which marked the start of a dark history in the United States.
How would have life been in the United States if the war had not been fought? This is a question that comes out after the war. By looking at the leadership style of President Lincoln, could he have prevented the war from occurring? From the beginning, it was evident that Lincoln did not encourage the idea of slavery; however, he put it clear that he had not intentions of changing the status quo. It is during this time that some of the southern states had started seceding from the United States to from their own group. On the other hand, the North believed that the Federal Government was the best option for them. They needed infrastructure for their industries, and hence they saw a powerful Federal Government as the only way they could achieve this. With these two distinct ideas, the war seemed to have been inevitable and could not have been postponed.