Civil War – Conflict and Compromise

Conflicts and compromise are but part of many essential events in history.  According to the article, Conflicted Compromise in History (n.d.), “in some cases, the conflicts existed without compromise.  In others, compromise was reached before major conflicts ensued”.  This recognizes the fact that in order to avoid conflicts, compromise may be avoided.  In the same way, compromise may be resorted to in order to end a pending and devastating conflict.

It cannot however be avoided that “events in history reflect both conflict and compromise”  (Conflicted Compromise in History, n.d.).   Many of these events include the wars that nations and people had fought in the past like the World wars, revolutionary wars and the Civil War.  As it is provided, “battles fought in wartime seem like the ultimate conflicts” (Conflicted Compromise in History, n.d.).

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“The American Civil War was the greatest war in American History”  (Civil, 2004).  In this battle, around 3 million people fought while around 600,000 of them died in battle.  Many has been fascinated with the history and the story of the civil war because it is the only war fought by Americans in the American land (, 2004).  This is very important because in many times in history, Americans have fought as one in many battles where they won and defeated.  It is interesting to study the American Civil War to understand the events, causes and persons involved related to the Civil war.

The United States Civil War was between the Confederacy, or the southern states, and the Union, or northern states.  It is also sometimes called as the war between states because it was between states of the United States that had fought over issues of social concerns.  It is unfortunate that the loss of more than half a million lives sprouted from a conflicted, which otherwise could have been settled in a compromise (Civil War, n.d.).

The background of the American Civil War could extend as far back as the end of the war of Independence wherein the United States has, since then been governed by the Articles of Confederation (American Civil War, n.d.).  Under this governance, there is but a weak central government while the state governments are relatively strong enabling member states to enact their own laws and executer the same.  For this reason, it has not been avoided that some states may have differing policies as with the others.

This set up, creates and started all the conflicts especially on policies of slavery wherein some states agree on its practice while other condemns slavery as a human rights violation.  However, after it was prevent hat this system seem unworkable, a new constitution was adopted for a stronger federal government with more powers including its regulation of interstate commerce (American Civil War, n.d.).  Many states have not been happy with the developments questioning the extent of the control power of the federal government.

The American Civil War, also known as the “war of rebellion”, started on April 12, 1861, when P.G.T. Beauregard, a confederate General opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.  The war lasted four about four years that ended in May 26, 1865 after the last of the confederate army surrendered.  In addition tot eh more than half a million lives that has been lost; the war also destroyed some five million dollars worth of properties.  Among the favourable outcomes of the war was the abolition of slavery that brought freedom for around four million slaves, mostly Blacks (Encarta Encyclopedia, n.d.).

One of the more important conflict and compromise involved in the Civil war was the issue of slavery.  In fact, Encarta Encyclopedia (n.d.) provided that the “chief and immediate cause of the war was slavery”.  According to the article, American Civil War (n.d.), “the different states had varying policies concerning slavery”.  For example, in some country where religious groups played an important role in political life, there can be observed strong opposition to slavery.

Rhode Island abandoned slavery as early as 1774 followed by Vermont in 1777 (American Civil War, n.d.).  With more and more states abandoning slavery, those in favour of its practices has been alarmed and hence the conflict ensued.  As can be remembered, the conflict that slavery has brought between the slaves and the masters; as well as from the anti-slavery advocates to those that push slavery has ignited various debates and battles as well.  In the Civil war, it had at least ended in compromise that brought forth relevant provisions about the welfare of the slaves and the culture of slavery.

According to Encarta Encyclopedia (n.d.), until the year 1860, a number of extremists in the South pushed for secession so that they can create a government of their own and carry out policies of their own.  Moderators of the two opposing regions were, however, still hoping that a compromise can be resorted to over the issues of slavery, tariff and territories.  One of the popular compromises was known as the “Missouri Compromise” (Encarta Encyclopedia, n.d.).

  This compromise, among others, admitted Missouri tot eh Union as a slave state and admitted Maine as a free state to keep the balance in the Senate.  It was followed by the Compromise of 1850, which admitted California as a free state and set up a territorial government in Mexico (Encarta Encyclopedia, n.d.).  With this compromise, a  body was also create as an authority to determine whether or not to allow slavery (Encarta Encyclopedia, n.d.).

In January 1861, Abraham Lincoln was elected president wherein the South Carolina legislature perceived a threat because Lincoln was a known anti-slavery advocate.  From the very start, there already existed a conflict on the issue of slavery.  With Lincoln elected as president, and with the existing conflicts of advocacies, the states has been divided.  States, headed by South Carolina, formed the Confederate States of America (Freeman, n.d.).

In the article, Civil War (1860-1865) (n.d.), it was mentioned that the issue of the extent of control that the federal government should have on states on various issues like slavery, industrialization and trade fostered the increasing conflict between the Northern and the Southern States.  The election of Abraham Lincoln likewise prompted the ignition of Civil War as more and more states left the federal government to form their own independent government to push their own views and perspective about these issues.  Woodworth (2000) said that the American Civil War was in fact a “conflict of cultures, and slavery was the largest single cultural factor separating the North and the South”.

The nineteenth century came and the northern states and the southern states have been involved in heightening conflict on the slavery practice.  The northern states bare pushing for it as it needs more and more people to work on its factories as it undergoes industrial revolution.  They believed that if the slaves in the south can be freed, they can address the deficiency in labor in many of its factories (American Civil War, n.d.).  This prompted the formation of anti-slavery movements with Arthur Tappan and Lewis Tappan forming the very first anti-slavery society in the state of New York (American Civil War, n.d.).

The coming of these anti-slavery movements threatened the slave-owners in the southern states because they believe that this will create difficulties in their plantation system (American Civil War, n.d.).  It should be remembered that in the southern states, agriculture, during those time, remained their main industry and agriculture rely heavily on labor, slaved and abused.  This is the same reason, why they have also been alarmed with the election of Abraham Lincoln, also a known advocate of the abolition of slavery.

With a federal government and a president that is an anti-slavery advocate, the southern states believed that they may have no other stronger fight to push and retain the culture of slavery than to fight it over a battle or war.  They never and failed to consider the issue of compromise and talk about better options on how they can pursue and sustain their plantation systems without slavery.  What could have been done is to create a system of labor and employment that cannot be considered as slavery and at the same time promoting the welfare of the land owners and plantation farms.

According to the article, United States Civil War (n.d.), “War is the hellish way to settle a disagreement”.  Conflicts cannot be resolved by entering into another conflict.  The violence of war will only bring more chaotic situation instead of bridging differing views and perspectives. This is the reason why, compromise can be best before a war should ignite.  Wars like the Civil war, only showed that there is no real victor in cases of battles like this.

Although a war may come to an end, a victory may be declared by one of the parties, the real winner cannot actually be declared because of the devastation that the war may have brought to the parties.  In addition, the people are the most affected.  With more than 600,000 lives lost, the article, United States Civil War (n.d.) considered this as the war wherein there is “more lives lost in one year than in all wars and conflicts combined following this period of time”. They are the real victims of war although at some point, it can be remembered that some wars have been start5ed in order to push for better conditions and better opportunities for some people.  For example, the issue of slavery and the desire to give better environments for those previously enslaved, has in fact can be considered as one of the lying causes of the Civil War.

The American Civil war, according to the article, Civil War (1860-1865) (n.d.), the Civil War was a “brutal, bloody, four-year conflict that left the South defeated and ended slavery at the cost of more than half a million lives”.  This same event should be avoided by considering the issue of compromise in order to settle conflicts.

Violent wars and battles are not necessary in order to end conflicts.  In a book edited by Woodworth (1996), he started his discussion as to whether or not “war was a factor of economic forces; or the result of a generation of politicians who had forgotten how to compromise”?  In the case of the Civil War, it can be said that the war is both a factor of economic forces and the result of the inability of the leaders to compromise and to settle conflicts in more subtle and peaceful means.


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  6. Freeman, J (n.d.). Time Line of the Civil War, 1861.  Retrieved January 8, 2008, from
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  8. Woodworth, S.  (2000).  Cultures in Conflict:  The American Civil War. Westport, CT:  Greenwood Press.
  9. Woodworth, S.  (1996).  The American Civil War:  A Handbook of Literature and Research.  Westport, CT:  Greenwood Press.

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Civil War – Conflict and Compromise. (2016, Sep 30). Retrieved from