Secession in America refers to a situation where the southern states pulled out of the national union during 1860 to 1861 (Klein 1997). Before President Lincoln was elected, seven American State had declared secession, to form Confederate State of America. The number of seceded states increased to eleven later during Lincoln’s leadership. The southern and the northern had been in a quagmire and conflicts of interest especially on the issues inclined to slavery. The south is known to have value slavery while the north promoted slavery abolition, and campaigned for slaves’ rights. This issues, among others reasons, created a significant lift between the two regions in USA. It is hypothesized that secession way a contributing factor to Civil War in America. The causes that led to the southern state secession can be broadly categorized into three; political, economic and social reasons as discussed in the subsequent paragraphs.
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Political causes of secession
Politics stability and ideations affect a number of factors in an institution or a country. The political direction and the differences in policies between the north and the south contributed substantially to secession of the southern states in America. Election of Abraham Lincoln as the president of United State of America triggered the southern state to secede, led by the South Carolina (Klein 1997). The move to secede was promoted by the overwhelming victory of the Republican representative in the government. Southerners believed that Republicans assuming in power would sour the relationship of the minority (southerners) groups in the government. Over the past years before Lincoln came to power, the southerners enjoyed possession of powers in most of the top nation’s institutions, such as the house and Supreme Court. Therefore, Lincoln victory was taken by the south as a threat where the republican would push for policies deemed to favor the majority group of the north. The main aim of Republican Party was to fight expansion of slavery in United State. Slavery being a pivotal political issue between the north and the south motivated the south to secede due to fear of defeat in maintaining their formidable stand on slavery.
Political difference between the north and the south contributed to an attack of Fort Sumter military installation by the Confederate forces. In retaliation, Lincoln authorized Union military operation to recapture the fort (Klein 1997). This ruined the political relationship between the north and the south culminating to four more states seceding to secure their political future in the Confederate. Seceding states suggested that the federal government was interfering with the state power with dispatching military forces in their states. Retaliation was also an indication of competition on military power between the two regions.
The north had a larger population compared to the south. This meant that their political muscle was stronger than the south, and feelings suppression in policy formulation ensued. Therefore, seceding was seen as the best move to secure their interest.
Some of the seceding states such as South Carolina, Virginia and Alabama quoted constitutional infringement as a core reason for pull out from the union. There was a conflict of powers sharing and boundaries between the national and states government. The federal government seems to interfere with the undertakings of the state matter. South Carolina championed for more power at the state level to control issues such as slavery, which were not universal in all the states. Politically, the north had strategized policies that would control south state moves to secede from the Unites State. For instance, in 1850 representatives from the south states held Nashvile Convention that was aimed at discussing what they term as “north aggression” (Klein 1997). Their subsequent meetings were limited by a clause in the constitution, thus the slowing secession force.
Economic reasons for secession
Alteration of income allocation, in 1828, where the tariffs were modulated marked a key economic factor that motivated secession. Modification of the tariffs - the main source income for the states was perceived by the south as a move to promote the development of the north while suppressing the south. Tariff Abominations, as it was referred by the legislatures in South Carolina (Turley 2010), became a vital bench for secession in 1832. The northern had well developed industries, thus was minimally affected by the raised importation tax. However, the south being dominated by plantation depended mostly with importation or goods. Therefore, raising importation tax led to rivalry between the two regions; thus prompting secession.
Slaves formed a crucial factor economically in the south. Large plantation in the south depended on the slaves for the provision of labor, thus maintain high production. Other than providing labor to their plantations, slave trade was also a strategy of the south to generate income. The move by the northerners (Repuplicant) lead by Lincoln, to abolish slavery was perceived by the south as a step to weaken the southern states economically (Turley 2010). Therefore, seceding and forming Confederate was a way of protecting their common interest.
The south was poorly modernized with the north holding a strong position in the field of modernization. There was increased use of machinery in the north with the south still instituting the traditional forms of farming. This widened the economical gape between the two regions which later culminated to feeling of policy discrimination between the north and the south states. The south state had to come up with a way to concentrate their interest on reviving their economy with the aim of maintaining a stiff competition with the north.
Some of the products produced in the southern plantations had well established market among the European countries. For instance, Cotton was referred to as the king, due to its extensive market for the product in the European countries (Turley 2010). Seceding states regarded the market as an opportunity to develop to a great, rich and strong union without the north. British had collaborated with the south in the push for separation since it had realized the opportunity to benefit from the monopoly of raw cotton. Economically, the south valued the separation based on the vast market for the raw products from their plantations.
Social reasons for seceding in United State
A large part of the south had cut close cultural and religious ties with the north. The social relation between the two regions differed due to the differences in ethnic and modernization. The south had a large population of blacks, slaves, compared to the north which was dominated by the whites. Polarizing the slavery drew effects of splitting the dominant religious group in America, The Methodist and the Presbyterian churches.
Slavery was a core social issue that contributed to secession of the southern states. The northern had maintained a firm-stand on freeing the slaves and grating them freedom as a fundamental right. Though the calls for slaves’ rights were not vibrant and prominent, the move to restrain slaves’ rights by the south seemed to worsen the relationship between the two regions. President Lincoln regarded discussion on slavery as the most critical issue in 1860 since it had formed a complex determinant for union of United State (Turley 2010).
In conclusion, political factors and economic factors seem to have much weight in determining secession among the southern State of America. Differences on policies and opinions concerning slavery comprised most of the reasons that motivated state to secede. However, fear of oppression and feeling of inequality perceived by the southern state, especially when the Republican took over the leadership in US is contributed to most of the states seceding from the union.
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