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Essay Samples > Book Review > Half Slave Half Free
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Half Slave Half Free

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In the book half slave and half free, Bruce Levine presents basic issues that incorporate social transformation concerning how the American civil war contributed to free, and slave labor system in the country. These systems further led to the organization, and virtually order of each aspect that revolved around economic, cultural, social and politics of the country. This is evident in the South and North areas where individuals generated mentalities, and believes that provided a link in serving groups in each section

For instance, the manner in which individuals from the South and the North organized their labor systems had an impact on their regional life. These labor systems affected the gender, families, and leisure patterns in both the secular and religious ideologies. The American Civil war led to cultural changes that deeply affected the political life.   The root of this civil war culminated as a result of divergence growth that aroused between the South and the North. This further resulted to social economic changes in America in the first half century contributing to this civil war in the country.  Racism in the North and South parts of the state contributed to free and slave states. This is evident in the South when racism led to the change of the African Americans to slaves. On the other hand, racism in the North led to the war whose intention was to evacuate the blacks from the white population.

Levine adds that, the fugitive slave law also contributed to war and did more harm to slaves than good. According to this author, slavery connects geographically and made the Free State residents despise the situation without involving personally on how it functioned. This subjected slavery as peculiar institution of the South, and not the responsibility of individuals who lived in the North. The new law made it impossible for the antislavery citizens, and Free states to assist slave hunters. As a result, it pushed compliance to control slavery and induced Americans from the Northern side to handle slavery as a national, but not a sectional issue. This controversial law, which the congress passed in 1850, was against the recovery of slave hunters’ recovery when it discouraged anyone from assisting them. It further threatened the safety of the black people both Free and slaves forcing a large number of Northerners to become rebellious in supporting the fugitives.

The political, cultural, social, religious and economic difference is what contributed to the start of the civil war in the country. In addition, slavery, attempts by the Northern antislavery, and their political forces to hinder the expansion of slavery in the Western territories developed anger among the Southern Americans leading to the war. This led to a division between the South and the North when the Slave owners in the South claim that, slavery restriction could violate the principle rights of the state. The succession of the seven slave states in the South led to lack of recognition by the nationalists in the North.  This further affected the political life in USA when the government in Washington refused to leave its forts in the territory that the Confederacy claimed. This resulted to the start of the American civil war in April 1861, when the Confederates attacked the Fort Sumter in South Carolina.  This explains why slavery was the primary aspect that led to the disunion between the North, and the South Americans causing the war.

In addition to the slavery issues, there were other issues such as the state rights, abolitionism, economics, party politics that contributed to the war. This situation made US become a state of two distinct regions, which divided it to the southern and northern parts. Levine explains that the Free States in North East, Midwest and New England experienced a rapid growth in the economy. This was evident in commerce and transportation, family farms, mining, industry and growth in population. The contribution to this growth was due to high birth rates, and the increase in number of European immigrants in the country.  On the other hand, there was domination of slaves who settled on the plantation system in South.

Americans in the South West experienced rapid growth caused by migration of individuals from the South East with few numbers of immigrants from Europe. The south consisted of larger cities with less manufacturing industries that lacked border areas. The idea of slave owners controlling economics and politics further contributed to the war and the division of the Americans in the North and South.

This lead to a different pattern of labor system in the South as 70 percent of the Southern whites owned no slaves but participated in subsistence farming. Generally, the population in the north increased more than in the southern side. This affected the politics of the south as they found it difficult to influence the state government. This was evident in the 1860 elections when there were fewer votes from the south when contrasted to their Northern counterparts.  This made the southerners experience domination of the federal government, and increased worries concerning the political demands from their region, and the industrial competition they faced from the North.

Politicians in the country opposed slavery to enhance the unity while slavery issues in new territories contributed to the political crisis, and civil war in the country.  This caused the power of slaveholders to reduce hence; found it difficult in convincing the government in matters that concern slaves. The factors that contributed to civil war in the country is the 1850 concession involved the fugitive slave war. This required the Northerners to support the Southerners in maintaining slaves, which they perceived it as offensive.

The civil war aroused due to the change in the state politics that incorporated sectional ideologies, and hostility in the country. The negotiation in 1854 outraged northerners leading to Republican Party formation, which lacked appeal in the south. The Northern individuals committed themselves to economic ethos that involved free labor, and industrial capitalism. The leaders of the new Republican Party in the Northern side opposed slavery, as they perceived it as a social evil that was wrong morally. The extension of mass democracy in the south, and north by politicians in 1850 created instability in the country leading to civil war. This made the Southern states uphold the constitutional conventions to consider the issue of nullification, and succession.

The author Levine emphasizes that, the conflicts in economics contributed to war, but was not the main cause. The southerners valued economy in relation to slavery because; it was a basis of understanding wealth, property rights, and slavery in the south. It also contributed in understanding political behavior that led to disunion in the south.  There were region differences in economics because the south and the northern side had different structures and trade activities.  Levine adds that, the roots of the American civil war had a connection with economic differences between the northern and the southern side.

According to Levine, if the divergent economies could unite, this could prevent the disunion and the occurrence of the civil war in the country.  Concerning the issue of free labor and slavery, it made people from the North to perceive it as an economic opportunity. On the other hand, Southerners perceived free labor as an operation that involved small level farmers and greasy mechanics. This difference in perspective by the two groups towards labor contributed to war in the country.

Argument concerning the roots of civil war in respect to religion reveals that the government sponsored churches, which made the religion become dominant in the country. This situation enhanced a sense of community, self-esteem and solidarity to slaves. The wide in gaps between the slaves and the Free State symbolized changes that took place in the region. The south devoted to an economy that practiced agrarian revolution while the North embraced growth in infrastructure and industries. The southern citizens lost their trust in the government as they avoided joining the Free State, and electing a leader who will be against slaves.

The slave family served as a significant institution between the Africans Americans. This is evident when the family offers a foundation that avoided demoralization in slaves. Families perceived slaves to be part of the community rather than victimized and oppressed individuals. The territorial crises made the slavery existence in the southern states to involve less politics concerning the territorial expansion in the west. This served as a strategy of attacking slaves was to restrict them from expanding into new territories.

Generally, the root of the American civil war was due to free, and slave labor system in the country. The change in the political life resulted to conflicts between the Northern, and the Southern side. This was because the federal government protected their political interests by using states rights and slavery as a cover. As a result, this lead to civil war in the country, this affected the family, gender and leisure patterns.  It divided the country into the north and the south side differentiating the slaves from a free society.

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