1987 DBQ – First try at DBQ’s
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The United States Constitution was ratified in 1787 to make a stronger and better central government. Although it was hard to get it ratified, especially in the southern states, it was meant to keep the country together and to be the extreme law of the land. This document, although nearly perfect, did not mention slavery at all, as William Lloyd Garrison states in document B. This, to some extent, caused the nation to rip apart, but it was not the only thing that did. Although some people believe that the constitution caused disunity among the union it was not the constitution itself, but many different factors like the compact theory and slavery which angered either the north or the south.
The compact theory started in the revolutionary ages of the United States. Thomas Jefferson in Document C explains that if a government is being unfair, it is the right of the people to overthrow it. The south believes that the Union is being unfair to them and is being tyrannical by applying laws, mostly tariffs, which cause the north to become stronger while the south is drained. One of the laws which angered the south a little bit was the compromise of 1850 as shown in Document A. This compromise was not liked too much in the south because even though it admitted a strict fugitive slave law, it accepted California as a free state. This disturbed the balance of free to slave state ratio and angered the south. Tariffs also played a role in the separation because they hurt the south and helped the north commercially and economically. But probably the biggest reason for separation was states’ rights. The south did not want to get pushed around by a government. They believed that the states should have more power than the central government. This eventually caused South Carolina to secede and got other states to follow starting the Civil war.
The north is very different to the south. Their economy is based on manufacturing and enterprising. This means that they wanted more people to buy their products rather than the British ones so they started tariffs. Many people in the north were also abolitionists trying to end slaver which made the southern states mad. Many people were not enforcing the fugitive slave law too well and that also angered the south. One of the most things that angered the north the most though was the Dred Scott decision. In document G, it states the ruling that chief justice Tandy had on the case. This case seems to anger the north and make many people become abolitionists.
Another one of the great factors which caused disunion in the US was the construction of the constitution. The constitution itself did not cause the civil war because it was a pact made to keep the union together. The construction of it, though, was a cause of the civil war. Some people thought that slavery was not used in the constitution but it was implied like it states in Document B. Other people thought, though, that the constitution meant for slavery to be abolished at some later time. One of these people was Abraham Lincoln. Like it shows in document F, he was an opponent to slavery but politicians were making him abide by it. As soon as he got to the presidency in December 20, 1860 South Carolina seceded causing the civil war.
Many factors were involved in causing the civil war but the constitution was not one of these. The clear fact is that the construction of the constitution and many other factors like the election of Abraham Lincoln and states’ rights caused the civil war. Not one of the causes caused the civil war by itself; it was all of them put together which caused this giant monster.