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To what extent was the expansion of slavery into the territories the primary

cause of the US Civil War?

The constitution of the United States written shortly after the conclusion of the
War for Independence called for representatives from each state to form the new national
congress. This constitutional decree would form the basis of future further conflict. With
the introduction of new territories, the two distinct cultures of the United States found
themselves at odds over the balance of each side’s representation. As these territories
became states their seats in the Federal government could shift the balance of opinion of
national affairs. One of these affairs was the future and course of slavery. Northern states
which were reliant upon industrial methods of economic production with the use of
foreign immigrants as cheap labor, and viewed slavery as an expendable evil which
should be disposed of. On the other hand, Southern states relied upon agricultural
production and the use of slaves; thus slavery was consistently viewed as necessary. The
outbreak of civil war can be much attributed to a Southern perspective of Northern
domination in the Federal government as a result of inconsistencies in the establishment
of new pro slavery state governments.
Inconsistency did not begin with the first introduction of new territories into
States, however, the introduction did create the premise on which inconsistency would
stem. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 outlined specific parameters in which a new
State would be determined as supportive or opposed to slavery. All states south of 36
degrees latitude and east of 30 degrees longitude would become slave states, while those
not included in this area would become Free states. Under this new decree, Missouri
became a slave state, and Maine free, maintaining a balance between North and South in
congress. Despite the success of Missouri Compromise, new territories west of 30
degrees longitude soon began to apply for statehood and a new method of maintaining
political balance, popular sovereignty, was enacted in the Compromise of 1850, which
also marked the beginning of inconsistency.
The inconsistencies of the Compromise of 1850 began with its contradiction of
the Missouri Compromise by establishing Southern California as free despite its location
south of 36 degrees latitude. The Federal government compensated the resulting political
imbalance and Southern offense with a stronger Fugitive law and the possibility of new
slave states in the Southwest through popular sovereignty. However this compensation
did not entirely appease the Southern population as the scrubland and desert climates of
new westward states were ill suited for agriculture and its accompanying support for the
usage of slaves, making the possibility of these new states becoming pro slavery slim.
Popular sovereignty continued to remain a problem of inconsistent addition of pro
slavery states into the United States Congress until the introduction of Kansas during
which popular vote to determine a state government’s stance on slavery also became a
social crisis between supporters and those opposing slavery. As Kansas moved towards
statehood, its stance on slavery was reliant upon the population’s vote. Its proximity to
both pro and anti slavery areas resulted in mass immigration from these territories in
order to influence the vote of Kansas’s stance on slavery. Tensions between the two
opposing groups eventually spiraled into violence later to be known as the dress rehearsal
for the Civil War erupted as groups of armed men from both sides sought to eliminate the
opposition through force. The resulting anarchy led to Kansas being admitted as a Free
State, further diminishing pro slavery representation by increasing Free State
representation without extending further possibilities of new slave states.
The inconsistency at which slave states were introduced into the Federal
Government was shown by the actions of the Compromise of 1850 and Bloody Kansas
following the promising Missouri Compromise. This resulted in the creation and
exasperation of a Southern perspective of Northern domination in Congress through
preventing the spread of pro slavery governments into new states. This deeply rooted
viewpoint which began decades prior to the Civil War was the cause for Southern
secession as anti slavery Republicans gained control of the Federal Government under
Lincoln in 1861.