Assess the validity of the following statement:

Many factors plunged the nation into chaos in 1861. Key political causes include
the slow collapse of the Whig Party, the founding of the Republican Party, and,
most important, the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as president.

Kevin Napier
12/27/2012 12:41:07 am

Many factors led to America's 1861 plunge into chaos. The deterioration of American politics had been occurring for years prior to the Civil War. The election of Abraham Lincoln was the the Jenga piece that started the collapse. Slavery was certainly a hot topic in American politics with the idea of Manifest Destiny leading to the question of the expansion of slavery. Democrats had split over the issue and the Republican Party emerged as a political threat. As a result of the Democratic split, Lincoln was elected without a single electoral vote from the south. The southern states were outraged by this outcome of the election and the process of secession had begun. Starting with the secession of South Carolina, fire eaters from other southern states were inspired to reject the union and push for secession themselves. The southern states felt that Lincoln was not their president, and elected Jefferson Davis. Lincoln felt that he had to preserve the Union at all costs, and the south resisted a reunion with the north. As a result, the Union and the Confederacy went to war, plunging the nation into chaos until 1865,

James Gurney
12/28/2012 11:58:58 pm

I agree with Kevin. Politics became less partisan and more sectional. The compromises and other policies were band aids on a larger problem. The southerners did not elect Lincoln thus, they began to secceed from the union. This secession and the growing sectional politics would lead our country into chaos for 4 years.

Tessa Goodine
12/29/2012 05:03:36 am

Many factors caused the Nation to plunge into turmoil indeed, but I disagree that Lincoln's election was the most important. It was the spark, sure, but that does not automatically elevate its importance. The degradation of the Whig party and the creation of Republicanism were important in regards to their contributions towards the developing of sectionalism. Much more than just that is necessary to cause the chaos that ensued in 1861. Americans were thoroughly past the generations that had dealt with the turmoil of the Revolution, and had forgotten much of what they had fought for, in regards to a free nation. The nation as a whole was in flux with all the recent reform movements. Supporters and Dissenters had boiling blood from those coals, and were pushed past the point of compromise. Slavery having come to the forefront of much controversy put the entire infrastructure of the South on shaky ground. The affluent aristocracy was looking at a complete paradigm shift and thus when Lincoln was elected without ever having even been placed on their ballots, the South snapped.They were sick of the constant battering and they felt and injustice was occurring. With that the Civil War was born and the chaos ran rampant.

Alex Piper
12/30/2012 12:22:51 am

I believe that the election of Lincoln was the last straw that broke the camel's back. The camel being the South's patience. I believe that the South had been, from their perspective, putting up with injustice for the past few years. The South decided that after the ballots were taken, from the North not the South, how could Lincoln represent those that did not get to voice their opinions. It was one thing to lose an election fairly, it was a totally different one to lose one based on the exclusion of their vote. From this it finally snapped something inside the fire eaters and they cried for secession. Lincoln saw this as a direct threat to the American way of life and government. This was one more test that had to be passed in order to prove America's worth as an international power.

Paige Hawkins
1/1/2013 12:05:12 pm

I Agree with Alex, as stated in chapter 14 the Republican Victory of 1860 presented an immediate danger o the slave-owning republic that had existed since 1766. Alex stated that the election of Lincoln was the Last straw that broke the camels back being that Lincoln won the election without a single electoral vote from the South and this would for sure prevent the extension and expansion of Slavery into Northern territories.

Chelsea Landor
1/1/2013 02:48:34 am

I agree that the choas of 1861 started mainly becasue of the election of Lincoln and that his election was the most important. That the nation began in a downfall and deteriorated even more. When the nation became divided the whig party was lost and the republican party formed.Many southern slave states threatened secession from the union if the republican party won.When Lincoln won South Carolina seceded from the union and other southern slave states did the same. Becasue of these actions the civil war broke out and the frist shot was fired at Fort Sumter. So yes Lincoln's election played a major role in the choas of 1861 because the southern slave states did not approve.

Blake Basmajian
1/1/2013 02:51:47 am

This statement is 100% valid, for the Whig parties collapse lead to surging republican party, and as Kevin had a said the the split in Democrats arose through the conflicts regarding the spread of slavery during Manifest Destiny. Tensions grew and grew between the North and South and the election of a President that they hadn't even put on the ballot lead to their secession. The south had felt the Lincoln was not their President, for how could they have a President they never even voted for. This is the reason we "plunged into chaos" in 1861

Ian Nolan
1/1/2013 04:06:43 am

Sectionalism led to the civil war and once the south began to grow in political power slavery had become the main topic of congress. The north wanted the south to stop having increased power from expanding slavery and southern culture to the territories. When Lincoln was elected the southerners felt like their power was diminishing and eventually they would lose their slaves and these slaves would have the same rights as white men. That was the worst case scenario northerners can now overpower the southerners in this representative government.

Taylor Dunn
1/1/2013 05:27:37 am

The switch in loyalties from the nation as a whole to south and north was a big reason for the major changes in party loyalties and values as well, resulting in the Whigs downfall, the split of the Democrats and formation of the Republicans. Lincolns election was only a part in the domino effect that had occurred in the counrty, the fight for abolition set in the North for the slaves of the South. Not necessarily the MOST key component, but Lincoln being put into office did make the ability for the USA to stay together through the South's anger that an "abolitionist" had been made president though he had not won in the South's polls (sometimes not even put onto the polls). All of this simply submerged the country more and more into a pool of sectionalism and resentment for the other side

Tanner Flint
1/1/2013 05:50:51 am

This statement is valid in addressing a few political factors of the war. Expansion westward was a large part of the change in politics. As territories requested statehood the issue of slavery came up in terms of congressional representation and thus sectionalism was born. Sectioned politics formed very strong, very different stances on many political topics. The southern slave states didn't want a republican consecrated government because they new they would loose all power in congress. The southern states showed their disapproval of Lincoln by not giving him one electoral vote. The south did not vote him in and therefor felt he should not be their president so finally in 1861 the nation plunged into chaos. The election of Lincoln was the last straw for South Carolina and many soon followed them in secession.

Nate Woodcock
1/1/2013 08:59:35 am

This is a valid statement which addressed why we plunged into chaos in 1861. The slow collapse of the Whig party lead to the surge of the Republican party and as Kevin and Blake have said the the split in Democrats appeared because of the argument regarding the spread of slavery during Manifest Destiny. I do believe that the election of Abraham Lincoln, as Piper stated, was the straw that broke the camels back. Lincoln was not even on voting ballots in the South, There was no possible way that the South would have a president that didn't receive one single electoral vote from them. The South did not and would not consider him their president. This is why we plunged into chaos in 1861.

Gaanploo Somboon
1/1/2013 09:21:03 am

This statement is valid because 1861 was a year of great uncertainty. The nation had found itself a midst turmoil because no one could be certain what would come next. The factions that led to the collapse of the Whig Party and formation of the Republican Party were indeed significant factors in the demise of the nation's peace of mind at the time. The reelection of Abraham Lincoln the previous year had had the most profound effect on the state of the nation's growing chaos, as the South felt forced into an era of a man they had not voted for and under and administration that they knew would take away the rights and liberties they felt they deserved. The election served as a sort of catalyst for the events of the coming years.

Coleman Reardon
1/1/2013 09:26:40 am

Saying that the factors listed above plunged the nation into chaos in 1861 is a valid statement. The collapse of the Whig Party and the split of the Democrats made way for the Republicans to take control of the political scene. With the election of Abraham Lincoln, southerners felt that their way of life was going to be intruded upon. The people of the south felt that the only way to protect their practices was to secede from the Union and begin their own independent nation.

Ivana Cooke
1/1/2013 12:03:20 pm

The statement is very much valid. I believe that the demolition of the whig party and birth of the republican party was the starting point of the chaos in the U.S. I also agree that Lincln's election was the last straw. The South felt as though Lincoln was not there president and that he was a threat to their continuing slavery. His election caused them to secede from the union and form their own nation.

Paige Hawkins
1/1/2013 12:11:09 pm

Being that the North and South could not compromise due to the Election of Abraham Lincoln, The south had seceded from the union. Since 1766 the republic of the south had been slave-owned but with lincolns election it posed a threat to these states because it would prevent the extension of slavery. Lincoln and the north would not let the south go I peace and racial slavery played a great role in the chaos of 1860, proving the validity of the above statement.

Hannah Murphy
1/1/2013 01:04:32 pm

The fall of the whig party created an outburst and sudden rise in the Republican party. That alone divided people and changed thoughts and views. With the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, controversy in the south rose and chaos ensued. The south felt as though they would have no true representation. Thus showing that this statement is accurate.


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