The decades leading up to the American Civil War showed a great divide in the economic, political, and regional attitudes between the North and South. These divisions still plague the country today. However, there is a divide on whether economic anxieties or political differences were the major factor in the run up to the Civil War. According to Michael F. Holt, economics did not play much of a role leading up to the American Civil War. Although, one can argue that political and economic issues go hand in hand. Mr. Holt does not see economic differences as the main cause for the American Civil War. He points to the fact that these economic an industry differences had been around for many years prior to the war with
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They feared that without slaves their profits would fall and their plantations would be unable to compete with the farmers of the Midwest. Michael F. Holt focused primarily on the political divide as the main reason for the American Civil War. He points to the collapse of the two- party system of the Whigs and Democrats and a realignment of voters soon thereafter. A new party would emerge as the Northern Republican party.
With this new party came strong ideological views that the government should protect the equality and liberty of all individuals. This included slaves. The South saw this new view as a threat to their way of life. Without the free labor of the slaves, the South could not compete with the fast growing North, Midwest, and West. The final push for Southern secession was when Abraham Lincoln, of the Northern Republican Party, was elected president. Bruce Levine, considers that political changes, although significant, were not the driving factor towards the Southern fight for secession. While the final straw for the
South was a political event, namely the election of Abraham Lincoln, this really just strengthens the economic anxieties of the Southern plantation