Do You Know the Real Cause of the Civil War?

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The American Civil War has origins further back than most people realize. Politicians in the North and South were divided on the issue of slavery as early as 1820 — the year of the Missouri Compromise. The compromise allowed slavery in the newest state in the Union, Missouri, but banned it within the remainder of the Louisiana territory.

However, thirty-four years later, the Missouri Compromise was overturned by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 — which allowed the two new, independent territories (Kansas and Nebraska) to decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery. The North, foreseeing a possible future of nationwide legal slavery, indignantly fought the measure, but it was ultimately signed into law by President Franklin Pierce.

The result was a bitter divide between politicians of the North and South, and a significant shift in the political weather of the United States.

Learn more about the origins of the Civil War and the birth of the Republican party in the video below.

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.