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History of the United States (1849-1865)

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This article is part of
the U.S. History
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Colonial America
1776 – 1789
1789 – 1849
1849 – 1865
1865 – 1918
1918 – 1945
1945 – 1964
1964 – 1980
1980 – 1988
1988 – present
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Origins of the American Civil War

Main article: Origins of the American Civil War

Slave "patrollers," mostly poor whites, were given the authority to stop, search, whip, maim, and even kill any slave who violated the .  cited the slave codes as example of the barbarism of Southern society.
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Slave "patrollers," mostly poor whites, were given the authority to stop, search, whip, maim, and even kill any slave who violated the slave codes. Abolitionists cited the slave codes as example of the barbarism of Southern society.

With two fundamentally different labor systems at their base (the slave plantation system in the South and wage-labor industrial capitalism in the North), the two regions had developed two starkly different societies. Divergent economic, political, and cultural outlooks gradually fed sectional tensions.

Immigration from Northern and Western Europe was encouraged, satisfying the demand for a steady flow of cheap labor for Northern industry. Working class immigrants - often Irish Catholics subject to harsh discrimination - built up the country's railroads and factory system. However, few immigrants settled in the agrarian South, where manufactured goods were mostly imported.

The Republican Party was established in 1854. The new party opposed the expansion of slavery in the Western territories. Although only a small share of Northerners favored measures to abolish slavery in the South, the Republicans were able to mobilize popular support among Northerners and Westerns who did not want to compete against slave labor if the system expanded beyond the South. The Republicans won the support of many ex-Whigs and ex-Democrats in the North and Northwest concerned about the South's disproportionate influence in the Senate, Buchanan administration, and Supreme Court.

The profitability of cotton, or "King Cotton," as it was touted, solidified the South's dependence on the plantation system and its foundation: slave labor. A small class of slave barons, especially cotton planters, dominated the politics and society of the South. While the South's economy was based on slave labor, the Northeast was an emerging industrial society.

After the election of Abraham Lincoln, eleven Southern states seceded from the union between late 1860 and 1861, establishing a rebel government, the Confederate States of America on February 9, 1861. The Civil War began when Confederate General Pierre Beauregard opened fire upon Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Civil War

Main article: American Civil War

The war ended with union victory on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House in Virginia after leaving roughly 650,000 dead. In the aftermath of the war, the United States was left to determine the status of roughly four million former African American slaves and to reintegrate the eleven Confederate states into the Union.


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