Early Reform Movements and American Civil War

Subject: History
Pages: 3
Words: 581
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College


American history is rich and fascinating. The American civil war is one of the most significant historical events. The reform movement and the industrial revolution are also very important aspects of American history. This paper will look at the early reform movements and the causes of the American civil war.


The early reform movements were efforts by the marginalized groups in the society, who were left out in the political process, to ensure that they were able to influence social and political policy (Brinkley 2012). Women and African Americans were often neglected by politicians. The industrial revolution, on the other hand, was the period during which rural societies in Europe stopped using handmade tools to manufacture goods and services and moved to use sophisticated machinery. This improved the production process (Brinkley 2012).

Industrialization was a gradual process that took years for the dream to be finally realized. The reform movement helped give African Americans and women a political lifeline. The industrial revolution helped improve the livelihood of people and the production process. On the other hand, the reform movement helped abolish slavery and championed women’s rights (Brinkley 2012).

The American civil war lasted for about 4 years and led to around 600,000 casualties (Brinkley 2012). In my opinion, the main causes of the American civil war were slavery, a struggle between the federal government and individual states, and the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency.

The future of slavery had been a thorny issue. The northern and southern states greatly differed on this issue. The southern states mainly relied on agriculture. They, therefore, needed slaves to provide cheap labor in their large cotton plantations. The northern states, on the other hand, had gradually abolished slavery (Brinkley 2012). This led to the migration of slaves from the south to the northern states where they would be employed and given a decent income.

Besides, there was a struggle between the individual states and the federal government, which centered on whether the latter had the right to regulate and abolish slavery. This struggle for political power widened the rift between the northern and the southern states (Brinkley 2012). The northern states argued that the individual states had no right to abolish and regulate slavery. The southern states, on the other hand, argued that the right to abolish slavery laid only in the hands of the individual states.

Abraham Lincoln was elected in the year 1860. The Republican Party was mainly composed of people who opposed slavery. Therefore, the southern states feared that Abraham Lincoln would abolish slavery. However, Abraham Lincoln had vowed not to interfere with the issue of slavery.

Under the union act, the state precedes the union. This means that, before any state adopts federal law, it should first consider the plight of its citizens. If the law is likely to affect the state negatively, then the federal law should be nullified. The American constitution acknowledges that no government is sovereign. It is the people of the states that are sovereign. The American people, therefore, have the right to reject federal laws. They have the power to reject any federal law that they believe is unconstitutional.


The early reform movements helped women and African Americans to be recognized by political leaders. The industrial revolution helped improve the production process and the livelihood of the American people. The American civil war was mainly caused by the rifts between the southern and the northern states on the issue of slavery.


Brinkley, A. (2012). American history: connecting with the past. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.