Confederate and Federal Government: Factors of Antagonism Essay (Critical Writing)

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

Hello Scot,

I am very glad that you have been following the occurrences in our country. Things here are pretty hot, especially because Florida was one of the very first seven states to secede. Federal troops are all over the place, and many important services are not accessible. However, what many people did not know, and I believe you also do not know, is that this fallout was long overdue. The antagonism between the confederacy and the federal government has existed since the 1700s. What you see today is only an eruption of the antagonism. I also understand that people only blame one reason for this fallout, the fight against slavery. However, there are other factors that include state rights, economic differences between the North and the South, the expansion of the abolition movement and the election of Lincoln.1 I will try to explain each of these factors as precisely as possible.

Firstly, the problem began as early as 1793, just after the discovery cotton processing machines.2 The popularity of the machines has been growing over time in the South, leading to the need to invest in cotton plantations due to the ease of separating cotton and its seeds. These plantations necessitated the use of slaves as laborers. On the other hand, the Northerners preferred industrialization: they put all their efforts in developing industries.3 Their industries have employed both blacks and whites, leading to an inclusive culture, which is not the case in the South. Similarly, the industries have led to serious economic and social differences between the North and the South: the economy in the North has been improving while that of the South has been deteriorating. The overall implication of this difference is the agitation for the abolition of slavery by the Northerners and a stout defense of slavery in the South.

The second factor that contributed to the division between the North and the South is the tussle for state and federal rights. Immediately after the success of the American Revolution, our founding fathers formed a federal government and a confederation of state governments to support it.4 A few years later, people such as Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and John C. Calhoun began agitating for the autonomy of the states.5 On the other hand, the Northerners agitated for the supremacy of the federal government. Over time, the North has maintained its support for the supremacy of the federal government while the South still agitates for state rights. Some problems after the revolution exposed the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. Therefore, the leaders had to congregate and develop the US Constitution, which ignored the need for state rights. The Southerners felt neglected and demanded the power to nullify some federal acts, which also did not work. Consequently, they began agitating for secession.

Thirdly, the growth of the abolition movement also contributed to the division. Many people argue that this factor was the biggest cause of the division. Trouble began in 1804 when the North outlawed slave trade.6 Crises arose during the acquisition of new states: the Northerners wanted them to be non-slave, but the Southerners opposed them.7 Several compromises were necessary for suppressing the problem. For example, during the acquisition of Missouri, the House of Representatives passed James Tallmadge’s proposal to amend the admission bill in order to allow the admission but the Senate rejected it.8 The crisis ended through the Missouri-Compromise of 1820: Maine joined the union as a non-slave state in exchange with Missouri. This decision helped solve a representation crisis because there were 11 slave states and 11 non-slave states in the country, and admitting one more to any side would weaken the other.9 Many Northerners continued to raise their concerns about the cannibalism of the Southerners. They used different forms of literature to popularize the abolitionist movement. For example, they spread pictures of the “Whipped Peter” with marks resulting from beatings all over his body. They also reacted very positively to Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852. Some of them even engaged the southerners in violence. A good example was John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859. The Southerners interpreted such actions as revolting against their way of life.

Finally, the election of Abraham Lincoln has also greatly contributed to this conflict. The Southern states believe that Lincoln is a staunch supporter of anti-slavery.10 Immediately he won the elections, they submitted their Declarations of the Causes of Secession. South Carolina, through a special convention, declared an end to its association with the United States of America, and last month, other six southern states including my state, Florida, joined them.11 The other states include Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana.12 President Lincoln has ordered federal troops to force our states into the union, but I believe this decision will only aggravate the problem. There is a rumor claiming that four more states: North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee are also planning to join the confederacy.13 I also hear that the upper southern states do not know whether to join the confederacy or remain faithful to the union. Their main reason for wanting to remain in the union is the belief that the federal government might allow them the right to continue holding their slaves. On the contrary, I believe this wish will never happen because the federal government seems committed to the total emancipation of slaves. These states also fear that joining the confederates might turn them into battlefields between the North and the Lower South.

In summary, the division is not spontaneous. It began as soon as we attained our independence. Our founding fathers had some fundamental differences, which have been growing over the years. They only found an appropriate time to explode. Nonetheless, I support the course of the Confederates because I hate freeing the slaves. For example, here in Florida, we have a total of 61,000 slaves. This number is 85% of the labor force in our cotton plantations. Therefore, we cannot submit to the demands of the North.

There are many shootings out there, and I would like to end here. I am looking forward to meeting you in August in case the conflict ends soon.



Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

Merrell, James Hart. The Lancaster Treaty of 1744. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.

Rakove, Jack N. Declaring Rights. Boston, MA: Bedford Books, 1998.

Vorenberg, Michael. The Emancipation Proclamation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.


1. Jacobs Harriet, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. (Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009), 20.

2. Merrell James Hart, The Lancaster Treaty of 1744.( Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s) 2008, 6.

3. Rakove Jack N, Declaring Rights.( Boston, MA: Bedford Books, 1998), 12

4. Rakove Jack N, Declaring Rights.( Boston, MA: Bedford Books, 1998), 14.

5. Rakove Jack N, Declaring Rights.( Boston, MA: Bedford Books, 1998), 11.

6. Jacobs Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. (Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009), 26.

7. Merrell James Hart. The Lancaster Treaty of 1744. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008), 8.

8. Rakove, Jack N. Declaring Rights. (Boston, MA: Bedford Books, 1998), 9.

9. Rakove, Jack N. Declaring Rights. (Boston, MA: Bedford Books, 1998), 6.

10. Vorenberg Michael. The Emancipation Proclamation. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 5.

11. Rakove Jack N. Declaring Rights. (Boston, MA: Bedford Books, 1998), 7.

12. Rakove Jack N. Declaring Rights. Boston. ( MA: Bedford Books, 1998), 9.

13. Rakove, Jack N. Declaring Rights. Boston, MA: Bedford Books, 1998.

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