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Martin Kelly

Top Five Causes of the Civil War

By April 12, 2011

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What actually caused the American Civil War? Some people simply answer that it was a fight against slavery. While slavery did have an important part to play in the lead up to the Civil War, there were other causes that fed the fight between North and South that finally erupted into secession and Civil War with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Here are the top five causes of the Civil War.


January 24, 2008 at 9:51 am
(1) Darrell Wood says:

Perhaps those who attribute “fight against slavery” as the cause of the Civil War are not as “simplistic” as indicated. A relationship is indicated in all 5 causes, so obviously they are not separate from slavery. It does seem central. Free labor in the North slave labor in the South. Major reason for nullification: maintain slavery. Conflict over western lands: slavery. Major reason South seceeded: slavery. Reason Lincoln could not maintain union of states: slavery. Production of cotton demanded: slavery. It is more simplistic that so many in the South maintain that it was a fight over state’s rights as indeed it was: a fight by the South to maintain slavery.

February 13, 2008 at 1:48 pm
(2) KT Hutch says:

I wish people could understand the civil war would have happened with or without the institution of slavery. There were so many reasons. People need to open their eyes to view the world not just skim the surface. When you skim the surface you get the answer of slavery but if you research more you find there was so much more to this war.

March 9, 2008 at 7:24 am
(3) Alex says:

I have to agree with Mr. Darrell on this. Many of the things Kelly stated came back to slavery. Slavery would not be “skinning the surface”. Slavery is much more bigger than that. Lets think, North had factories, and the South had plantations. They didn’t want to do the work so they had Slaves do it. So there is much more to the word slavery, in the Civil War.

March 24, 2008 at 9:23 pm
(4) Bob says:

Alex, you’re skimming the surface right there.
Further research would reveal that a political party had indeed based their campaign on the issue of slavery and wasn’t even able to get 200,000 votes in the election of 1852.

If slavery was THAT big an issue, why was this the case?

March 28, 2008 at 4:36 pm
(5) jason says:

I agree with the other comments. The Fugitive Slave Law required the FEDERAL government to enforce it and that mandate flies in the face of the STATES rights claim. Furthermore, Roger Taney threw out all STATE restrictions on slavery with the Dredd Scott decision ending a states right to restrict it.

May 4, 2008 at 1:58 pm
(6) Tom Hennigan says:

Laurence Bird – a bit pompous aren’t we? And perhaps I’d be more impressed with Mr. Bockhorn’s thoughts if his grammar wasn’t so atrocious. I think you’re too simplistic in your assertions. You might as well say the causes of the Civil War were money and power, which is the basis for slavey in the first place.

May 15, 2008 at 12:54 pm
(7) Dow says:

Slavery was not the big issue, when Lincoln himself owned slaves along with Grant, The issue was money and politics. The south sold cotton cheaper to Europe the south sided with England during the Revolutionary War So there was hostility that had been festering for a long time. Also slavery was not in Ill. because blacks were not allowed in the state before the war

August 13, 2008 at 12:58 pm
(8) maggie says:

I agree with Dow if any of you actually took a real history class you would know that the real cause was over the cotton yes money is a bases of slavery but that money was not delt with slavery it was over cheap cotton being sold to Europe. The real facts are Lincoln, grant, the south, and the NORTH all had slaves to so obviously it wasn’t over that!!! And the north continued to use slaves well after the civil war. You have to dig deeper than just in the surface of history. Being from the south and having relatives that fought in the civil war I find it very ignorant that people believe that it was all over slavery. That was not the reason. I’ll fly my confederate flag high.

August 31, 2008 at 11:53 am
(9) Angel says:

The Civil War was about what the states felt was their right, primarily the right to secede from the Union. They felt that their rights were being taken away, as the colonies did resulting in the Revolutionary War. They were being cornered into choosing Northern products, which were more expensive at the time to other products, and they were losing out in political power as the anti-slavery politicians were fighting the introduction of new “slave” states. (Mass. even went as far as to deny that the new states were states, that the government didn’t have the right to introduce states period.)

Southern politicians viewed the Constitution differently than the Northern politicians did, that the Constitution should be honored as it is read. The Northern Politicians viewed it as an evolving and growing entity.

They also feared that their property, due to the zealousness of the abolitionists and their demands for lack of slavery, would be taken away from them. Had the Civil War occurred without slavery? Probably, but did slavery help it along quicker? Yes.

(This is also from a Southerner with ancestors who fought, though they fought on both sides.)

September 13, 2008 at 1:12 am
(10) Danielle says:

This is from Wikipedia under state’s rights concerning the idea of nullification and where it originated:
One major and continuous strain on the union, from roughly 1820 through the Civil War, was the issue of trade and tariffs. Heavily dependent upon trade, the almost entirely agricultural and export-oriented South imported most of its manufactured needs from Europe or obtained them from the North. The North, by contrast, had a growing domestic industrial economy that viewed foreign trade as competition. Trade barriers, especially protective tariffs, were viewed as harmful to the Southern economy, which depended on exports.
In 1828, the Congress passed protective tariffs to benefit trade in the northern states, but that were detrimental to the South. Southerners vocally expressed their tariff opposition in documents such as the South Carolina Exposition and Protest in 1828, written in response to the “Tariff of Abominations”. Exposition and Protest was the work of South Carolina senator John C. Calhoun, formerly an advocate of protective tariffs and internal improvements at federal expense.
South Carolina’s Nullification Ordinance declared the tariff of 1828 and 1832 null and void within the state borders of South Carolina. It began the Nullification Crisis. Passed by a state convention on November 24, 1832, it led, on December 10, to President Andrew Jackson’s proclamation against South Carolina, which sent a naval flotilla and a threat of sending government ground troops to enforce the tariffs.

It might surprise a lot of people, that 80% of the people fighting on the side of the Confederacy did not even own slaves. Owning slaves required a LOT of money, that the majority of southerners did not possess. Slavery was an issue, and it did contribute to the war. And many Northerners believed they were fighting to simply stop slavery. Maybe like many Americans believe that invading Iraq was simply to stop terrorism. Southerners fought for the right to decide who they could trade to internationally, and to stop Northern-run elitist government from imposing tariffs on trade that hurt the Southern economy.

Much like the EU today, the US was designed to be an allegience of states. State= country. Like the EU has it’s own currency now that replaces Frances’ francs, and English pounds, and so forth, the federal government was designed to unite and help support the states economically and against threats. I wonder, do the European countries fully understand the dangers of entering into a union such as the EU, when the right to leave the EU might be taken away from a country like France or Italy. The parallel is very similar.

I’m glad slavery was ended. I’m glad that we have made progress socially to be more equal. Our founding fathers wanted an end to slavery from the start of the Revolution against Britain. They, however, also felt that states should be able to leave the union if the people wanted to do so. The Civil War changed that.

I wonder, if we stayed with the idea of state rights’ closer to what we were designed to be, then maybe more gays could marry without fearing a national ban that Bush attempted.

States’ Rights does not equal racism, I’m tired of that notion. Many states and people began to fight for abolition as early as the Declaration of Independence. Had they not been able to do so, the abolitionist movement might have not grown as it did. States’ Rights means that the federal government should not be able to force a diverse group of people into laws or ways that might not be suitable. If a state thinks that gays should marry, gays should be allowed to in that state. If a state believes in abortion, abortion should be allowed as the law of that state.

October 19, 2008 at 8:17 pm
(11) Billy says:

WOW people get to the basics here the Civil War was started because the south wanted to seceed from the north and the north would not allow that. Get to the basics

October 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm
(12) Andrew says:

The Civil War wasnt just about slavery, money, and power. Its main purpose was to decide if states rights should be over federal rights. The north wanted it to be the federal rights over states right, and the south wanted it to be states rights over federal rights. Slavery was a BIG part of it, but it wasnt the main reason for the civil war, come on people get smart.

October 28, 2008 at 2:39 pm
(13) Ryan says:

Andrew is right, the fight was states vs federal rights.

October 30, 2008 at 9:25 am
(14) Luke says:

I personnaly think that we are over slavery and should not instigate it wherever we go, and constantly remind others of the actions that were taken to form the U.S.. Its not fair to the remaining Americans in the twentieth century, the people alive today in America are forming new and improved ways of getting our older and younger Americans to say no to racism and to get past the still strong barrier. What is also an issue is the election going on, not many people can even think of having a president of a different color but same mind, same heart, same functions, and emotions as everyone else. No offense to McCain supporters, I support McCain Strongly..and thats all i have to say about that…

November 19, 2008 at 5:30 pm
(15) John says:

Andrew, you’re dead on, it was a fight against “Big Government” that the North was imposing. Yes, slavery was in the mix, but it was more of a political war than perhaps any other war we’ve had. The circumstances aren’t too far removed from what we’ll be facing in the near future with the Czar of Obamanomics.

November 20, 2008 at 6:31 pm
(16) toni says:

The north and the south had different economys. the south focused on agriculture and the north was mainly industrial. this created a rift. because they focused on different industries each the north and south had different needs when it came to taxes, laws. ext. they each fought for equal representation in congress. up until western terrirories applied to become states congress was balanced between non slave states and slave states. there was issues and confrentation when they were deciding on weather or not to make these new states free states or slave states. yes these economic issues were based the industries, but what really defined the differences in industries was the use of labor. the north used immigrants, and the south slaves. for the decision for the south to ceceed wasn’t just based on the south wanting to keep there slaves, that was just one of the final straws. one of the last things that helped make the decision was when lincoln was elected president.

November 21, 2008 at 1:09 pm
(17) cat says:

I appreciate all the great comments. I’m a freshmen in college and am reqiired to do an essay on the civil war. I must state i believe was the main cause and why. I believe i have made my decision after reading your comments. No offense, however, where did you people go to school? Most of you have the worst grammar and spelling i’ve observed in a while.

November 21, 2008 at 9:55 pm
(18) Brett says:

Many things led to the Civil war. Events such as The Compromise of 1850, The Wilmot Proviso, The publishing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and John Brown’s Raid all poured fuel on the fire. But perhaps a critical event was when Stephen Douglas lifted the Missouri Compromise in hope of settling the Great Plains and spliting the Whig Party. But he was misjudged, and by doing this he sent the Union on a highway to war.

November 25, 2008 at 8:32 pm
(19) darrell says:

How ironic (not unusual) that some charge others should learn history while demonstrating much ignorance of it.

Not just the South’s economy based mostly on “king cotton” with indigo, tobacco and a few other limited products but also the political structure differed greatly from the more democratic North. The South was ruled by a slave owner aristocracy contrary to the promise of the Constitution: a government of the people”. It is “We the People of the United States” not We the States. The South was a plutocracy inside a democratic republic. Some still seem to want that? Yomen farmers were half the population, but they supported and were ruled by the quarter of the population that owned slaves. The non slave holder farmers were perhaps motivated by desires to be among the rich slave holders, what today might be called “wannebes”. There were some exceptions, such as the Jackson movement toward greater equality and fewer property qualifications and extended suffrage. But “king cotton” and those who produced 80% of it ruled. And, of course, it is significant it was produced by slaves. Also religious and appeals of white superiority were made by the ruling slave owner aristocracy to non slave owners and non land owners. Perhaps similar to appeals made by today’s affluent who use “moral majority” and other concocted but non-evidential slogans?
More attention was given to property than to equality as a determination, also similar to today’s appeals of supply side economics?

“States rights” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution; it has become popular only by much use. Some seem to think the Articles of Confederation and/or The Declaration of Independence the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution was accepted as the “law of the land”, of the Union; state laws have an application to things not addressed by the law of the land, including laws passed by Congress in keeping with the Constitution. President Jackson prepared to use troops against actions in the South contrary to the Constitution many years prior to our most terrible war. Neither nullification nor secession is a part of the law of the land. By the 1850′s, slavery was the most decisive issue in the U.S. and the Missouri Compromise, Wilmot Proviso and other things such as the conflict in Kansas, John Brown’s action were in direct association to slavery.

4. The political party formed in 1852 elected an anti slavery party in 1861.
7. Lincoln and Grant did not own slaves, and blacks were allowed in Illinois before the Civil War (officially “The War of Rebellion”, the South coined “Civil War”). Many escaped to Illinois. The Dred Scott Deciion conflicted with the Missouri Compromise; you should read up on it? If you have evidence to the contrary, please supply it. There were free blacks in Illinois and other states including some in the South. Also, the South did not side with England during the Revolutionay War. Note the major battles in the South and who fought them.
8. Apparently, the “real history class” you took lacked reality. Thje cheap cotton exported to Europe was produced mostly by slave labor (80%). Dig deeper.
9.Yes, southern states thought they had a right to secede, and not only slavery in the South but a desire to extend it to new areas in the West is apparent. Poor farming practices that depleted the soil made slavery in new areas desirable. The federal government does not “introduce states”. People in territories petition to create additional states and Congress admits them when populations and other qualifications are met, including operation of democratic republican governments. See Article IV of the Constitution.
10. Yes,it might surprise many that 80% who fought for the Confederacy did not own slaves for evidence seems to indicate 25% did own slaves, and owning slaves was not a qualification for supporting slavery. Far more than 20% fought to maintain it? It might surprise many that 179,000 black men (10% of the Union army) and 19,000 blacks of the Union Navy were a part of Union forces; 40,00 died. Other blacks also contributed to defeating slavery.
20. Yes, many things led to the Civil War as alluded to. Which ones were not related to slavery?

Slavery was not the only cause of the war, but it certainly was the major cause?

To whomever said The War of Rebellion would have happened if slavery had not existed, evidence and logic please. Some might want more than mere declaration.

December 3, 2008 at 3:28 pm
(20) Donald Clarke says:

What’s really interesting is the definiton of the phrase “Causes of the Civil War”.

If you look at the incidents leading up the the MILITARISTIC confrontation between the Union and Confederacy, you will see that the cause of the Civil War was that the Confederacy was trying to force the Union off of Union owned (federal) land. The most notorious being Ft. Sumter in Charleston. Even though all of his top political advisors argued to release the forts to the Confederacy in place of risking open and armed conflict, Lincoln decided to uphold his platform promise (of not allowing the Confederacy to hold any federal owned land when the States seceded) by not turning over Ft. Sumter.

After repeated demands for surrender were not met, the leaders of the Confederacy granted permission to “reduce” Ft. Sumter by any means necessary. And you know what happened from there.

So if you define the Civil War’s start by the firing on Ft. Sumter and the subsequent series of battles, then there you go, Lincoln’s refusal to give up federal land in the seceded Conferacy is the singular cause of the Civil War.

Now if you are talking about why the Southern States seceded from the Union in the first place, then I see all the points about Slavery, States Rights, Politics, etc…

But if you are going to make a counterpoint, keep this in mind….

If the federal land in the Confederate states was given to those states, there would never have been a capture of Ft. Sumter for Lincoln to muster his Army against.

I am not saying that the Civil War wouldn’t have happened, that would be assinine. but it sure may have started differently.

December 6, 2008 at 3:21 am
(21) Darrell Wood says:

Perhaps we should note that the first shots of the conflict were fired by Citadel Cadets under the command of Major Stevens, head of the South Carolina Military Academy and that President Buchanan’s strengthening of federal forts enabled them to remain in federal hands.Ft Sumter and Ft Pickens were not the only federal properties involved.On January 10,1861 (some accounts indicate 9th), the unarmed Union ship “Star of the West” was heavily fired upon by South Carolinians from Morris Island and retreated unable to supply Ft. Sumter.

Anderson in command of Ft Sumter said for some time he required no reinforcements (after the Star of the West was fired upon)but
changed his mind and said a successful reinforcement required 20,000 men and much supplies. At that time the entire Union army was around 16,000, much of it in the West fighting Indians.

Buchanan’s final act as President was a letter to President Elect Lincoln explaining naval forces had been created in New York to supply Ft. Sumter. Lincoln’s inheritance?

Gen. Winfield Scott and some other army officers advised Lincoln that Sumter could not be held, but various navy officers presented a plan to reinforce Sumter developed by Capt.Gustavus V. Fox. And most of Lincoln’s advisors did not advise against reinforcing Sumter as some contend. Lincoln’s cabinet gave written opinions: Seward favored evacuating Sumter but favored holding Pickens “at every cost”. Chase and Welles favored reinforcing Sumter, and Blair said he’d resign if Lincoln took Gen. Scott’s advice to give up Sumter. A caucus of Republican congressmen warned that Lincoln’s failure to reinforce Sumter would destroy their party.

Lincoln informed Gov. Pickens of South Carolina that a peaceful reinforcement of Ft. Sumter would be done. Confederate President Jefferson Davis demanded Anderson’s evacuation and when he refused Gen. Bearegard fired on the fort. Perhaps that was the second shot that began the war? The Star of the West had been fired upon and hit earlier as previously indicated. “If” is conjecture, so why not conjecture that instead of allowing the South “to go peacefully” that the South should have peacefully allowed reinforcement of federal property? Consider the confiscation of much federal installations earlier by the South—-not too peaceful?

Also an argument that slavery was major: Before and during the Civil War (called different things by North and South), most Southern political leaders said the southern states seceded to protect slavery. The Confederate Vice President declared slavery the cause of the war and that the U.S. was founded on the false belief all men are created equal and that the Confederacy was “founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural moral condition.”


December 8, 2008 at 5:27 pm
(22) Donald says:

Forgot all about the “Star” incident!

And definately Lincoln came in to a situation not quite all his making. But it seems funny that he was concilliatory to those Slave States that did not secede (in fact the Emancipation Proclomation did not apply to those states – and full emancipation didnt immediately come to the Slaves of the “Union” states until wars end), yet he would not give up federal property to help prevent war.

But absolutely I believe slavery was THE issue that led up to the war (just wanted to make a conjecture based on the militaristic causes). It’s funny that people who disagree with Slavery as being the main issue before, and during the war, have probably never read a single address by Lincoln (President of the United States) or by Jefferson Davis (President of the Confedrate States of America). They both agreed on one thing and clearly stated that on many occasions. They both agreed that slavery was the cause of the conflict, nothing else.

It’s fact, those who dont believe should pick up a book. Or better yet, just read the Constitution of the Confederate States. You will be enlightened.

December 17, 2008 at 9:18 pm
(23) Dani says:

Some say simplistically that the Civil War was fought over slavery. Unfortunately, there is no “simple” reason. The causes of the war were a complex series of events, including slavery that began long before the first shot was fired. Competing nationalisms, political turmoil, the definition of freedom, the preservation of the Union, the fate of slavery and the structure of our society and economy could all be listed as significant contributing factors in America’s bloodiest conflict.

December 18, 2008 at 6:44 pm
(24) Darrell says:

Donald: Is it likely Lincoln was conciliatory to those states so as not to reduce Union support? There were those in the border states that supported those states remaining in the Union but also supported slavery, particularly if they owned slaves and perhaps hoped their manumission would be by them being paid for them by the Union government, a plan supported by some. As you recognize all things are not not like a football game which, with doing away with ties, is an either/or affair. My contention that slavery was the major issue that caused the war is not a statement that it was the only issue. The other issues do seem associated with slavery to large degrees, and despite the contention of some that a civil war would have existed without slavery seems based on little evidence and logic. West Virginia and Maryland passed state laws after Emancipation Proclamtion legally abolished slavery, but despite that there were pockets in West Virginia that maintained slavery. Anyway the 13th Amendment legally manumitted slaves, but of course Jim Crow laws continued many aspects of slavery for a very long time. Perhaps it has taken two centuries from Lincoln’s birth to the election of Obama to do away with most of the concept that Blacks are inferior. Lincoln seems to have long believed they should be free, but perhaps it is not certain he believed they were equal in all respects. He favored their education to help them be so. I certainly agree with Dani that things were complex; however, I repeat my belief that slavery was central to the conflict. Jefferson opposed slavery; he also thought he could not afford giving up his property. Should we contend that was because his wine bill was so high or that Sally needed new clothes? Either or thinking is the common fallachy of false dilemma, an illogical approach that can result in a real dilemma?

Re: Today’s Jefferson subject: Jefferson did not sign the Constitution for at least two reasons: he was not a delegate and was in France, and he like others demanded a bill of rights to garner his support. Federalists and Anti-Federalists did not disagree on all things, thank whatever powers that be! Let us hope there is enough bipartisan agreement to help us out of our present dilemma.

February 16, 2009 at 12:19 am
(25) mike says:

“African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”

quote from Alexander Stephens Cornerstone Speech.

It was over slavery, cotton prices were directly related to slavery cause slaves worked the plantation. they didn’t want to have to pay the employees.

February 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm
(26) Brad says:

I take more issue with how slavery ended than with whether it caused the war. I am disturbed when I hear that in Government schools today our children are being taught that President Lincoln freed the slaves when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. That is a blatant falsehood since in the document it clearly states “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”. That means any state in the CSA, where Lincoln had no authority because he was not the president there. It did not free slaves in he northern slave states of Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, Missouri or in the southern areas already under Union control like most of West Virginia, New Orleans, and Large portions of Tennessee. If the President was so anti-slavery and willing to send hundreds of thousands of men to there deaths why wouldn’t he end slavery in the north BEFORE going to war to end slavery in the south? Politics is the answer to that question. Slavery was a key issue of secession and Lincoln’s main motivation was to preserve the union and Lincoln used Great Britain’s disdain of slavery to his own end as well. If Britain had recognized the CSA as an independent nation then it would have made Lincoln’s job much harder so he used slavery as a needling point with England. The only thing that ended slavery in this country was the surrender at Appomattox and the passage of the thirteenth admendment to the US Constitution. Lincoln preserved the union but at what cost over 600,000 Americans dead and state sovereignty all but destroyed. I must also take issue with something said by Darrel in an earlier post, yes the Constitution is the law of the land and the legal document of this nation but the Declaration is the FOUNDING document of this REPUBLIC and in tht document it clearly states right there in the opening sentence “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”. When it becomes “necessary” not politically expediant or socially acceptable 200 plus years later but “necessary” as determined by the sovereign entities which make up a VOLUNTARY UNION OF STATES. My apologies for the lenght of this post but I had much to say. Thanks for your time.

March 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm
(27) mickey says:

My My how times have changed. I am 36 years old and I was taught that there were many causes of the Civil War. Yes one of them was slavery, but as my teacher pointed out, slavery was going to die out on its own without the war. Technological advances that were on the horizon at the time made much more sense than slavery-my history teacher taught us that given another 15-20 years, slavery would have been obsolete in the South. This may have not been true for the North, but it was for the South. My 8 year old son is now being taught that slavery is the ONLY cause of the Civil War and he had points taken off of his test for answering that states’ rights and economics were causes of the Civil War in addition to slavery. This madness must stop-history has not changed since I was in school 20 years ago-only the people who choose to be politically correct. I can not believe that people can be so blind to think that just because they say it it is so. Wake up and think for your selves. I have not seen any news articles showing that some new evidence has come to light in the past 20 years about the cause of the Civil War, so why are today’s children being taught only part of what really happened?

March 31, 2009 at 2:27 am
(28) David says:

I spend a great deal of my time deprogramming my students:
• that Slavery is the reason for the Civil War
• All Northerners were good and wanted to end slavery
• All Southerners were bad
• Plantations were everywhere in the South
• Southerners were lazy and did not want to work

Slavery is tied to a number of events that will bring about the Civil War – it is not the only one. It might be argued that it is not the main reason for Northern and Southern tensions and only becomes a major reason in 1863.

Northerners were just as capable of being racist as Southerners, you could legally own slaves in Delaware in 1861.

Not all Southerners were bad – logical fallacy

Plantations were not located everywhere throughout the South – about 2/3 of Southerners in 1860 could not afford to own slaves

Southerners were not lazy – do we call businessmen lazy because they manage a number of people? Also, a number of slave owners could afford only one or two slaves and spent their days working alongside their slaves.

There are a number of reasons for why the Civil War was fought.

“States’ Rights”: is a Political direction and desire of a state to put forth its own ideals over the forced supremacy of a federal government. This traces its roots to the Federalist / Anti-Federalist foundations of our nation. Nationalized banking, interstate business, taxation policy, military obligations, right to broker international trade agreements, legal precedents and supremacy of federal court system just to name some examples. “States’ Rights” is not about slavery, it is a bigger issue than just slavery.

Modern vs. Traditional – Will the main political forces in the United State dictate that the nation becomes an Industrialized (Modern) Nation or will it remain an Agrarian (Traditional) society? This is not only an issue of economic foundations but also of societal structure. A reference comparing the Plantation system of the South with Feudal Europe is an easy analogy. Swap names such as Master, slave and plantation with words like Lord, serf, manor and your see the old world European flavor of Southern Culture.

Political Authority: The North was divided between different groups (social, political, ethnic) who held authority within cities and or countryside, while the Southern political system was controlled completely by the minority Aristocratic Planter society.

The Election of 1860: Lincoln was not on the ballot in a number of Southern states – Southerners feel they have no voice in the election process therefore no voice in Washington D.C.

Following the secession of the Southern states, Lincoln asks them to return to the Union during his inaugural address. Lincoln clearly articulates his determination to preserve the Union. Slavery is not the way to preserve the Union in 1861.

Lincoln writes the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 with the hopes of enticing Southern states back into the Union and allowing them to keep their slaves if they rejoin the Union. The Proclamation goes into effect January 1, 1863 – with no real teeth as slaves are still property and Southern Slave owners need not listen to Lincoln until Union troops pass by their plantations

Yes, slavery is a reason attached to a number of events that help bring about the Civil War (Compromise of 1820, Compromise of 1850, Dred Scott, Bleeding Kansas…) but slavery is not a main force in Lincoln’s decision to enter the Civil war. He wanted to preserve the Union. It is during the war that the freeing of the slaves becomes a major factor.

Oh, and one more addition, Lincoln did not own slaves. I cannot say it simpler than this.

April 4, 2009 at 12:14 am
(29) Sirico says:

During the Civil War, Lincoln clarified his position on the war and slavery. “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not to either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also so that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”

April 8, 2009 at 7:04 pm
(30) denise lynne says:

reasons of the civil war

-slavery (was not as big of an issue that people think)
-states rights

April 15, 2009 at 1:21 am
(31) Susiejoe al says:

Those who think slavery was an issue in the civil war simply need to read the Emancipation Proclamation. First note, the war started in 1861. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in late 1862. It only freed the slaves in those states that were members of the confederacy, NOT slave states that had joined the union, and it exempted parts of Virginia that were siding with the Union. Tennesse was joining back with the union so it was exempt. New Orleans was exempt. Hardly anyone owned slaves there but it was a major market place for trading slaves. Doesn’t sound that Lincoln was that serious about stopping slavery. Any of the states that left the confederacy and joined the union, were to be allowed to keep their slaves.

There were a couple of reasons for Lincoln issuing it. The war was not that popular up north. Making slavery an issue gave him a “cause” and improved his support. The main reason though was that the south was winning at that point. England was financing them. England had outlawed slavery. Issuing the proclamation put England in a bad political position making them look as though they were supporting slavery, so they cut funding to the confederacy. That was the turn in the war. We would have won otherwise.

April 17, 2009 at 11:51 pm
(32) CJ says:

you state that thomas jefferson was not present during the signing of the US constitution…where did you get your source?

April 24, 2009 at 2:39 am
(33) Luis B. says:

I am an eight grader, moving on to ninth next year, and even I am completely aware of the causes of the civil war. Slavery was a portion of it, but you can’t avoid to think about the fact that the Southerners felt they were being controlled(they supported states’ rights), and that even though the first shots were by a confederate you have to understand that the fort was in Southern land. Think about it for a second…what were Union soldiers doing on Southern land? The South had taken a defensive position in the war. If shots were fired it was only because Union soldiers were to attack. I’d appreciate it if people would stop making comments knowing they are clearly either misinformed, or just not stating the contrary arguments to persuade people into believing what you’ve written.

April 30, 2009 at 10:37 am
(34) Carrie says:

David (#32) thank you for that :)

To back up his info:
*The 1860 census records show that only 25% of southerners owned any slaves at all? 7/10 of 1% owned over 50 slaves, and 1/10 of 1% owned over 200. Beyond that, only 2.5% of the 4 million slaves of the south actually worked on plantations.

in August, 1861 (after the war had started mind you), General John C Fremont officially ordered that slaves in his military district be freed. Lincoln demanded that he rescind this “emancipation proclamation” (if you will). When Fremont refused, Lincoln removed him from office and revoked the proclamation.

On April 25, 1862, Union General David Hunter, commander of the district based at Port Royal, South Carolina (covering S.C. Georgia and Florida), declared slaves in those states “forever free.” Lincoln revoked the orders and wrote that he would only free the slaves if it became “a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the Government.”

March 4, 1861 – Lincoln’s inaugural address: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so…the power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government, and to collect the duties and imports; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.”

Slavery played a part in the war between the states, but not the type of role most hear about.

May 12, 2009 at 11:15 am
(35) Brianna Erickson says:

Im 14 and in 8th grade.
Heres what we learned
North South
Big cities Population Small towns
Industry Economy Agriculture
Liberal Attutude Traditional
Catholic Religion Protestant
Diversity Ethnic Same Ethnic Groups
Slaves Bad Slavery Slaves Good
Strong Gov’t Polities State Capitols

1. North changes
2. Land out west
3. Rise of slavery

The south began to need slaves for farming labor, social system, and cotton gin

May 13, 2009 at 10:44 pm
(36) Gerry Seaquist says:

Keep the Union thats was Abe’s purpose for the war. Slavery can as a by product to put more pressure on the South for internal fears. Slavery could exist if Abe had to have it, he wanted to keep the Union at all cost. He felt that a inventions grew it would be only a matter of time till machine replaced the slaves in the south. Slavery would drain the economy of the south and they would be ended by the south on it’s own.

May 14, 2009 at 1:51 pm
(37) Joe says:

Abe’s purpose for the war was to stisfy the wants of the american pulic and to save the US from economic downfall of a split nation, and to save his own butt.

May 19, 2009 at 8:57 am
(38) Ivy says:

I am 14 and in 9th grade and i can see how, even after the war this issue still contenues to rip us apart! There were so many issues that caused the civil war that we looked for one common, evil thing to blame the war on. that minor issue was slavery. “slavery” was not even the acctual issue! It was the mistreatment of humans. In middle school i was taught that slavery was the ONLY cause of the war. As I read more and more books i saw that this was not the case. Slavery was the focus but not the main cause. Please if you are going to post somthing check your facts first? please?

May 22, 2009 at 11:03 am
(39) Brianna Erickson says:

Nice Ivy
yep..this argument is pretty much over..
the 5 main causes are posted..we dont need to argue about it any longer..it is tha past.
Its not that people are wrong about the causes..its that they see it through their own eyes. We dont all agree with what everyone says, but we need to just suck it up and read between the lines..and find our own meaning.
There were causes of the civil war. We all pretty much know them. So why dont we just get over this..Honestly. It’s stupid, we are all right. just different perspectives

May 29, 2009 at 10:20 am
(40) best says:

after reading much i would say that the civil war was caused by state rights ….. all the other issues REVOLVED around that main reason (slavery for instance) the confederate states wanted the right to allow slavery and union wanted federal government…….

May 29, 2009 at 3:09 pm
(41) Mike says:

If Darrell and alex are correct then why Did the South Abolish the Slave Trade before the Union? Mar 11th 1861, although they kept slaves they Abolished the import of slaves 4 years before the North 12-18-1865. The Emancipation Proclomation was strategy of War.

June 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm
(42) Grant Langdon says:

I wrote Rebels of the North, How Land Policy Caused the Civil War.
The cause of the Civil war was not slavery, but what to do with the western land. The western land was there for the taking. The population was rapidly expanding. The South was dominated by aristocratic interest that owned slaves, The North had industry, but it also had farms. The South grew cotton. The north grew, corn, hay, oats, and wheat.
In the north the idea of giving land to the people that cleared and worked the land was not new. It started in Colonial New England. In New York the aristocrats owned most of the land and used feudal leases and lived a life of ease. Giving land free to new settlers was not in their interest. This clash of the two northern cultures started because of a border dispute. Colonial New York claimed all the land east to the Connecticut River, while Colonial Massachusetts claimed their land extended to the Hudson River. When Massachusetts started expanding west it was giving 100 acres free to new settlers. By 1750 they were giving title to land that was already under leas on Livingston and Rensselaer Manor. This lead to what became know as the Anti-Rent War. This dispute changed land policy in New York and the small farmers emerged as a political power.
The Southern aristocrats interest was not served buy giving land free to new settlers. . When the Homestead Act was proposed that gave a quarter section of 160 acres to new settlers they opposed it. They looked at homesteaders as no better than squatters. They had no intention of living on the land and doing all the work themselves. They favored selling the western land by the 640 acre section and keeping it open to slavery. .
The matter came to a head under President Buchanan. A Homestead Act passed Congress, but Buchanan, a Democrat, vetoed it hoping to hold the South that had other demands as well. Up until that time the farmer of the North voted Democratic because of Andrew Jackson. In the election of 1860 the Democratic Party split with Steven Douglas ruining in the North against Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln proposed a homestead act and was against opining up the west to slavery. Douglas’s platform was more favorable to the South. Douglas won New Jersey and Lincoln took ever other northern state and won the election with about 40% of the vote. The difference was the farm vote. The farmers were not opposed to slavery as long as they did not have to compete with them on the new western land. Bell and Breckinridge divided the southern vote with a combined total of about 30%, about the same as Douglas. Lincoln easily won in the Electoral Collage 59% of the votes. Lincoln signed the Homestead act in 186

June 7, 2009 at 10:39 pm
(43) Rick says:

I still think slavery was a secondary reason at best. One thing I have not seen any comments on. Why has no one commented on the confederate emacipation plan for the slaves? It was proposed by Duncan Kenner [Kenner la. ascension parrish] He was rebuffed in 1861 by Jefferson Davis because there were too many other things going on, but was called into Jefferson Davis office in 1864 to discuss the enaction and planning of the emancipation in return of recognition from France and England for the CSA. [GOOGLE 'DUNCAN KENNER'S SECRET MISSION] i THINK IT MAY STILL BE POSTED SOMEWHERE.SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS I CAN’T SEEM TO GET THE DAMNED THING UNSTUCK!!!!! LOL

June 7, 2009 at 10:44 pm
(44) rICK says:

One more thing everyone here may find of interest. Check out ”the 2 just wars” a lecture By the nobel prize winning economist Murray Rothbard. If you agree with him or not, I’m sure some of the content will be very enlightening.

June 9, 2009 at 6:08 am
(45) haz jonesy says:

Keep the Union thats was Abe’s purpose for the war. Slavery can as a by product to put more pressure on the South for internal fears. Slavery could exist if Abe had to have it, he wanted to keep the Union at all cost. He felt that a inventions grew it would be only a matter of time till machine replaced the slaves in the south. Slavery would drain the economy of the south and they would be ended by the south on it’s own.

June 16, 2009 at 9:25 am
(46) Patricia says:

Slavery was the excuse to get the War started. How bad would Lincoln look to start a war to inslave the southerners? The real reason for what he did. There had to be a good excuse to achieve what he wanted to do and slavery gave him the excuse. Because most slaves in the south were white anyway. Always in history we have learned to win you first must make the opposing side look like the enemy of mankind.

June 17, 2009 at 7:45 pm
(47) Rich says:

GET REAL!!!!!! Clinton bombed the heck out of Serbia for their refusal to give up states and Lincoln bombarded the South for their refusal to accept Northern tariffs. Slavery is and was evil but has very little to do with the secession movement. Lincoln was no great progressive as the African Americans have been led to believe but a man hell bent on forcing his will on southern states no matter that the cost was over half million dead and the progressives go crazy over 4000 in Iraq. Lincoln was a pig, pure and simple.

July 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm
(48) Tom says:

All you have to do is read the words of Lincoln and Davis. That’s all. As the leaders of the opposing factions, they did not mince words. They saw only one reason for the conflict: slavery. If there had been another reason, I am sure such educated men would have been able to state it at least once. The fact is, they did not. Because there was only one reason.

There are some who would like to imagine a caste of gentleman scholars who were fighting a war for their constitutional freedom (states’ rights). It may soothe some peoples’ images of their ancestors. Those people now claim that their ancestors foresaw the federal government as it it today and fought to prevent it. Just like people in the 50s claimed that their ancestors foresaw integration and fought to prevent it.

The fact is that contemporaneous sources (political speeches, newspapers, legislation, personal letters, political cartoons) all agree on the cause of the war. Slavery. If there were other causes, why was there so much silence on those causes as the country marched towards war? Was there mass amnesia?

But every few years, the Lost Cause movement rears its head. Its proponents claim that true history has not been told. That people need to dig deeper and “educate themselves,” usually holding themselves up as shining examples of educated men. Ask them for their sources. What books have they read? Have they read Jefferson Davis’ speeches? Do they have anything resembling an education in history? Are they remotely literate aside from reading the label on a beer can? Do they have chips on their shoulders–a NEED to believe? Yes, that NEED to believe…that’s rare in historians. The Lost Cause…

People go to war when their way of life, their place in the world is threatened. When their economy is about to be turned upside down. When their “property” is about to walk away. When the downtrodden black soul down the road gets the right to vote for his own interests. When they fear what slaves will do with their freedom. Fear of poverty. Fear of revenge. That’s what starts wars.

It’s odd the war started only after the leader of the abolitionist party became President. Not a coincidence. Was the South afraid of Lincoln’s sectionalism? His taxes? His tariffs? His…what? Lincoln campaigned on one issue and one issue only: preventing the spread of slavery. His Southern opponent campaigned on only one issue: the preservation of slavery. Please…why is this so hard?

But there are those who now claim they know more about that time than both Lincoln and Jefferson… That the South was in the right… That the Northerners were the true racists… That the South was fighting for freedom… Some things never change…

July 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm
(49) Tom says:

Oops…that last paragraph should read “Lincoln and Davis” as in Jefferson Davis B-).

On a side note, does anyone even remotely believe that the South seceded because the North had a manufacturing economy? Out of all of those reasons listed, that has to be the dumbest. It’s like someone needed 5 causes and just threw anything in there, like an essay question for schoolchildren to make them memorize things.

The others “causes” are euphemisms for slavery. The states’ rights argument (not in the Constitution by the way) was the Southern states desire to decide if slavery was legal in their own state. They also wanted new states entering the union to enjoy the same privilege by voting for or against slavery. When it became clear that new states (and the voting power of the new states) would all be non-slave, the secessionist movement became unstoppable.

I had better stop now…except for one thing. Secession is NOT in the Constitution either. Nor was there a legal mechanism or process for secession.

History is a set of facts. Don’t believe what I say. Go to the source: THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED AND BREATHED IN THAT TIME. Their words and actions clearly state the cause (the sole cause) of the war. They wrote and they spoke. Look for their words.

July 15, 2009 at 4:14 pm
(50) junkbox says:

Wow Tom… hook, line and sinker much?

This thread shouldv’e stopped at 10 (Danielle) with a clarification by 32 (David).

To think that the cause of the greatest war in American history was fought over people who weren’t even considered people is just silly. Wars are fought for two reasons and two reasons only Religion and Money. Period. Show me one that wasn’t.

It’s my OPINION that slavery was abolished to cripple the South, they weren’t playing ball with the North…they didn’t have to. They had open trade with Europe and didn’t need the North…The North knew this. Succession was the next logical step (constitutional or otherwise) I believe that by that point the North was doing everything possible to push the South to their logical conclusion.


disclaimer: I’m from the south, I don’t hate african americans, inhumane treatment of slaves was immoral, Winners write the history books.

July 21, 2009 at 12:00 pm
(51) Tom says:

Here you go junkbox:


Could it be any more clear? There was no conspiracy against the south.

There was one and only one cause of the war.

It seems like someone else was fooled (not me).

Read that document and you’ll understand how woefully deficient your education is.

July 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm
(52) Tom says:

In the interest of fairness to those unwilling to read too much, I will summarize what I linked to above:

-the southern states have a right to secede granted by England (a concept that the drafter of the Constitution, Madison, said was contrary to his intent)
-escaped slaves were not being returned to the south (true enough)
-southern states would not have entered the Union if slavery were not legal
-Lincoln was elected by Northerners/abolitionists with the intention of freeing slaves (their property/economy…MONEY)
-blacks received citizenship and voting rights in the North
-as a result of those “causes,” they were leaving the Union

So there it is. A very honest, and very evil, document that summarizes why the south thought war justified. Slavery was mentioned in that document 18 times. Those other reasons for secession, and ultimately war, not once. Southerners knew very well at the time that secession meant war. Each of the southern states drew up a list of “causes” as listed above. There is no mystery here. Such documents were drafted with great care.

This is not the difficult thing some would make it into. All you have to do is read the contemporaneous accounts of the reasons for secession. The vice president of the confederacy himself even stated that the reason for the existence of the confederacy was the institution of slavery. Stephens said about the confederacy, the “new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the IMMEDIATE CAUSE of the late rupture and present revolution.” Why would he lie? Or did he misunderstand the war?

The south did NOT secede to trade with Europe. The first thing the south did after starting the war was embargo exports to Europe to attempt to get England and France on its side!

I’m not getting how the south was “pushed.” The North was not jealous of the South. Northern incomes were, on average, about 50% higher. If anything, the south was pushing the North by attempting to violate the Missouri Compromise by trying to establish new slave states in Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico and the rest of the Caribbean by employing private armies. When you add to that the number of “diplomatic” delegations sent to foreign powers PRIOR TO SECESSION to recruit their participation in war against the North, there can be no doubt who was pushing whom.

And junkbox, if you are going to give your opinion on the Civil War, you may want to learn how to spell “secession.” It is not “succession,” as you so cutely wrote it. Anyone who has read even the briefest pamphlet on the Civil War would have mastered that word.

So, basically, one of us has fallen hook, line and sinker. Are you implying a conspiracy with that, as if there was someone baiting people like me? Who would those people be…hmmm….. I know you probably mean well but someone has hooked you.

By the way, secession (or “succession”) is not mentioned, or even contemplated in the Constitution. It’s a myth that Madison tried to stop but persists to this day. It was, in fact, specifically considered and specifically rejected by the framers.

I wish you future “secess” though B-). Sorry I had to tear down each of your cherished beliefs (the Lost Cause).

July 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm
(53) Levi says:

The Cornerstone Speech was delivered by Confederate Vice President, Alexander Stephens extemporaneously in Savannah, Georgia on March 21, 1861. The speech explained what the differences were between the constitution of the Confederate Republic and that of the United States, laid out the Confederate causes for the American Civil War, and defended slavery.

“Peculiar Institution”
This was the Cornerstone that this speech was named for.

The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted.

Stephens went on to say

(Jefferson’s) ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. … Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner–stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition.

July 22, 2009 at 1:53 am
(54) Michael says:

Thank You Tom for your insightful remarks (56, 57, 59, 60) and for using historical facts to present the truth in a sea of ignorant comments and borderline hate

July 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm
(55) GaryNOVA says:

All five reasons you just listed were ~directly~ related to slavery. You basically just said that the civil war was caused by slavery in 5 different ways. The cause of the civil war can be stated in one word. Slavery. It doesn’t matter how many different ways you can say it.

July 24, 2009 at 11:09 am
(56) Alfred Dadley says:

Slavery was the excuse that gave moral justification to Lincoln’s North to wage war on the South. The real reason was economic. The South wanted freedom to trade and the North wanted a piece of the action. Of course slavery is inhuman and should never be condoned but it certainly was not the reason for the war. As for stating that the USA of 1861 was the same as the EU of today, this is complete nonsense. If anything, the EU is more like the Confederacy in its political and economic structure.

August 8, 2009 at 8:58 am
(57) Diane says:

All five of the reasons given for the Civil War involve slavery.

August 8, 2009 at 11:45 am
(58) Stephen Guidetti says:

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation did not free any slaves in the North. The inention of new machinery would have lead the the southern states to eventually drop slavery. The Southern States opposed a strong central government, exactly the kind they had fought in the Revolutionary War. That is what the issue was. To stop the formation of the represive dictorial government we have today.
What the Souther States didn’t realize was that when they walked out of Congress they left Congress without a Quorum. That forced Lincoln to illegally convene congress under the Corporation known as The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA under which the Constitution is is a privilege and not a right as we can see today. Which made the South a pawn in creating exactly what they were trying to prevent.

September 16, 2009 at 7:50 pm
(59) mORBID says:

I beleive that everyone is missing the point. Slavery was an underlying issue yes but it was not the cause of the civil war. it actually depends on where you were raised. In the Northern states they teach that slavery was the cause. IN the south it is a totally different issue. while slavery was a problem in the deades before the civil war you have to look deeper. The Federal government versus the Confederate government. With more and more immergrants moving into the industrialized North which for many years had been free or anti-slavery they had more numbers than in the rural south. That means more votes and workers. In the south and most everywhere in the states slaves were considered property thats why we had the 2/3rds comprimise for VOTES. Also with the expansion of America west many farmers wanted move their farms. but the federal government said no. This goes back to a maojor spark of the revolutionary war which was less than a century old. England wanted America to pay for some of the costs of a large military force sent to America to protect them form the french and indians after England won the french nad indian war. America who could afford it at the time said “NO” they didn’t want to. Then you have the Quebec Act which gave part of newly acquired land west of the Appalchians to the french which pissed of the Americans which were told no. So back to the government Styles. The federal government believed that each state had the ablility to govern under a large central government. A confederacy which still believes in a central government, also believes that each state is able to make its own laws and come together under a smaller centralized government. Under this form governmnet Americans would have been able to expand west. Remember that indentured servants were pretty much gone having been replaced by slavery. Also remember that people from north and the south crossed lines to fight for their own beliefs. Slavery was a hot topic of the day just as Health care and the war In Iraq were in 2008. The emmancipation proclomation wasn’t read until after the war started. It was used as propoganda for in the North to rally the union together against the slave owners in the south. But remeber merchantilism which was common up intil Adam Smith wrote his “Wealth of Nations”. Merchantilism was in a nut shell is government control of the economy. Nothing to do with trade with England as Tom stated above about the embargo. I must stop to apologize for my grammaitcal and spelling errors i just really just to lazy to correct them. Slavery was also used in the South as propganda. Some slave owners in the south had freed their slaves and gave them the option to stay on as workers. Slave owners in the South wanted to keep there slaves mainly because NOBODY wanted to work on the farms. If given the chance most people would have moved to the industrialized North were pay was better. If southern plantation owners lost their slaves the wouldn’t have many people working under conditions that were condusive to their income. Remember Virgina was started as a buisness venture. I’m not saying that I agree the aforemetioned. I’m just stating what I’ve come arcoss. I’m also not a racist. Now I know I’ve jumoed all over the place but I’ve tried to cover alot of ground.

September 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm
(60) R.E.L says:

“(21) darrell says: The South was ruled by a slave owner aristocracy contrary to the promise of the Constitution: a government of the people”. It is “We the People of the United States” not We the States. The South was a plutocracy inside a democratic republic. Some still seem to want that? Yomen farmers were half the population, but they supported and were ruled by the quarter of the population that owned slaves. The non slave holder farmers were perhaps motivated by desires to be among the rich slave holders, what today might be called “wannebes”.”

“evidence and logic please. Some might want more than mere declaration.”

You wasted a whole lot of space with your strawman. Your own words expose your ignorance of the history on which, at length, expounded.

September 21, 2009 at 11:10 pm
(61) dec says:

ok, so i’m just going to throw this out there. Regardless of what you beleive the Civil War was fought over, I think we can all agree that too strong of a central government is not a good thing. So where does that put us as far as Obama buying GM and the healthcare overhaul and even all these new czars?… not to mention the whole bailout thing.

September 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm
(62) Keenen Altic says:

slaves were treated as property. slaveowners got pissed off when the government passed the 2/3 compromise. the premise of this compromise was if you’re going to buy and sell them like property they will be taxed like property. i think those claiming that’s not digging deep enough are just trying to dig a pit of rhetoric to whitewashing the past.

October 19, 2009 at 11:36 am
(63) FranzK says:

i think i would agree with KT hutch the thrid guy i believe.
i think that there is far more it than just slavery. think about it. for hundreds of years the south has grown up dependent of the north growing up completely different. they had bdifferent values, morals,beliefs and traditions. i think that slaver may have been the straw that broke the camels back but i think that the north and south were already seperate countries. just not in name.

personally i think that the civil war was similiar top the revolution. you had a bunch of farmers who wanted to defend their land and who were going to be hurt financially by the british. in the south you had farmers defending their land because it was going to be hurt financially by the north. \

what is the difference? nothing really i dont support slavery but i think that if a state has the right to do what it wants. after all everything in the united states is about the states. it is in our name, the way we ellect and how we are governed. if a state decides they do not want to vote for a person they say okay because that is their right. BUT if a state should decide to leave the union than that is not their right. our country is built upon the beliefe that it is a government for the people. what if the people want to have a communist government, or they want to have a dictator ship? its what the people want.

the people in the states wanted to leave the union… that was their right.

October 29, 2009 at 3:09 pm
(64) Mr. Walker says:

ok, everybody needs to stop arguing and see that yes, slavery was a big part of the war, but it was not the only reason. getting to the basics is the reason why everybody is arguing. If you look into it, no matter where you are from, you will see that you are almost all right. The south and the north both helped cause the war and just because people had slaves and it’s mostly what you think about when you hear “Civil War”, it does not mean that it was a war over just slavery.

November 6, 2009 at 11:30 am
(65) Chris b says:

Slavery wasnt THE main cause of the war. it was ONE of them bu no THE cause if you actualy study the war and the peaople in it you would realize slavery was actualy the minor thing init. while now it is the most important thing that came out of it, at the time it wasnt

November 15, 2009 at 12:29 am
(66) Ryan says:

I’ve heard that the South was selling it’s cotton directly to England which we all know is a fact but also that the Northern States were trying to pass legislation banning the South from doing so. The result would be that the Northern States would become middle men and profit enormously off of the production of cotton and of coarse the Southern States would make less money. For people that don’t think that Lincoln was a tyrant it is important to understand that he was deporting dissenters of his policies to Canada. People that were abolitionists. For things that had nothing to do with slavery. That is a fact. A man that would send an army to invade his own country rather than doing what other countries were doing at the time by buying slaves and setting them free. Kind of ridiculous. The other argument I’m sure that was used at the time is that in a “slave” state if a particular individual didn’t want to have slaves he didn’t have to but had the option. The Federal government wanted to prohibit this option. I don’t think slavery is right personally but the arguments at the time were much different than they are today. People that work for a living today are slaves. The only difference is that you work for money to have shelter and food rather than food and shelter being provided to you. Thomas Jefferson in fact sent a lot of his workers that built his house to school with his own money. Today we call them slaves.

November 15, 2009 at 12:48 am
(67) Ryan says:

Another interesting fact is that most “slaves” that came to the new world came here as indentured servants the same way the majority of whites got here.

November 26, 2009 at 12:57 am
(68) kafba63 says:

I came into this discussion months late and only hope someone is still reading and writing. I wanted to comment on (75) Ryan’s assertion that most slaves came to the new world as endentured servents.

I am no historian but I am fairly certain that is not correct. Two reasons. First, there were literally millions of African slaves in the United States. By the time of the Civil War most had been born here. For those born here all of their ancestors were imported from elsewhere as slaves.

Endentured servents, although common in the 18th and early 19 century, never reached this number.

Second: An endentured servant and a slave (as we understand slave in terms of African slavery) are not the same thing. An endentured servant was essentially a person contracted to work for someone else for a period of time in order to pay a debt of some kind – in the case of the Americas it was usually (not always) to pay for passage to the New World. Still, endenture is a voluntarily entered it to, period of servitude with a previously agreed to set of conditions and a defined end date.

Slavery on the other hand was entered into at the point of a bayonet (or spear as the case may be). Hardly voluntary. To compare endentured servitude to African slavery is to belittle the great evil that was being committed against Africans and their progeny (and unfortunately in some cases continues today – but that is another story). It also belittles the sacrifice of those in Europe who were so desparate to leave and come to the New World that they voluntarily committed themselves to years of labor without payment.

Of course one can argue that endenture was not really voluntary. After all, the choice between starving to death in Europe and toiling away in N. America isn’t much of a choice. But we could say the same of modern times and people who are sometimes called “wage slaves” – those who live paycheck to paycheck their entire lives and never manage to get ahead. Still – not the same as being enslaved.

One last comment.

I have read in this forum the comments that slavery was a doomed institution. Sure to disappera in 30 – 40 years. Certain to be replaced with cheap machinery and modern production methods. Maybe that is true. But if you were the slave, would you want to wait 30 years (or 30 minutes) to be released from your condition?

In the conflict over slavery there is blame all around. Most of it due to greed and blatant racism. Lincoln himself, in the writings he left behind, often commented that blacks had no real place in America and we inferior to whites in all aspects. Many who resisted abolition did so, not because they thought slavery a good thing but because they feared, if the slaves were freed, an influx of blacks to their states. They feared this for at least two reasons – one, simple fear of having the blacks in their midst and two, fear of having to compete with an influx of cheap laborers. Hard for a worker to compete for a job against someone who was accustomed to working for nothing…..

I am sorry – I don’t have my sources listed but the literature is out there.

December 1, 2009 at 9:15 pm
(69) James says:

I must agree that slavery is the main cause of the civil war. True, most southerners did NOT own slaves (they were small farmers), and most northerners had never seen a slave. But remember, it was the wealthy few who owned slaves, the wealthy few who controlled Southern politics and the wealthy few who were afraid of losing control if slavery was abolished.
Yes, there was a Pro Slavery party (Bob #4) but like many so called 3rd parties with narrow focus, they were insignificant. The wealthy knew that it was not wise to make slavery the main issue as more and more people were questioning the morality of slavery…it would negatively affect their agenda, that is why they focused on States Rights, but make no mistake, this was about Slavery.
Don’t forget the power of human nature. Those poor farmers were happy to know that there were others in the “caste system” that were below them. Speaking in general terms, people want to think they are better than others. The poor southerners were “better” than slaves and many were willing to fight under the banner of States Rights in order to preserve the current social order (with supporting propaganda and prodding by those who were in power in the south at the time). I could go on, as there is sooo much to say on this topic, but it is one of those issues that is polarizing and many have opinions made up and cannot be swayed even if common sense hit them in the face.

December 2, 2009 at 10:52 pm
(70) Savannah says:

The Civil War was the product of nearly 40 years of contention amongst the North and the South. Each region went into the war with high hopes and anticipation. A victory for either side would result in considerable social, economic, and political changes in their favor. Northern industrialists wished to expand their control of American industry, and Southern slaveholders and farmers desired freedom to carry out their “way of life.” It would be an oversimplification, however, to claim that the Civil War was caused simply because of slavery. The disparity in opinion of both the North and the South on the issue of slavery certainly did significantly increase tensions; however, many other factors were in play as far as regional conflict.
In The Second American Revolution, Charles and Mary Beard argue that the Civil War took place particularly to promote the dominance and monopoly of the national economy by Northern industry. They maintained their argument by furthermore claiming that the Civil War was one of primarily social aspects, which resulted in the institution of a new government power, which made vast changes in the areas of hierarchy, wealth distribution, and industry. They called the so-called war the “Second American Revolution” (as the title entails), backed by the claim that the war changed the societal standards of the United States so significantly that it can be considered nothing more then a “social war”. In The Counterrevolution of 1861, James M. McPherson communicates a dissimilar perspective. McPherson focused on the Southern perspective, outlining southerners’ reservations, the act of succession, and the reaction to Lincoln’s election. Whereas Charles and Mary Beard claimed that the Civil War was, in fact, a battle of strictly social affairs, McPherson focused on the political aspects, implying that there was more to the war than social discrepancy. The idea that the Civil War was prompted by more deeply rooted conflicts between the North and the South is one that historians have contemplated for years.
The North and the South had several economic, demographic, and social differences preceding and during the Civil War. The most conspicuous of these is their stance on the issue of slavery. The South relied on the slave trade heavily, and, therefore, wanted it to be preserved, while the North looked castigated it as unconstitutional and ultimately detrimental to the Union. However, it wasn’t just slavery that estranged the regions. The South had a predominantly agrarian and agriculture-based economy, whereas the North focused on industry and manufacturing. Demographically speaking, each region also had very unique populations. By 1870, 1/7 of the United States population was composed of foreign immigrants, a vast majority of whom moved to the North in search of factory jobs. With the economy of the North being generally standardized and consistent (heavily industrial), the social classes were less defined. The South, on the other hand, had a very distinct and unequivocal social hierarchy; there were plantation owners, planters, merchants, and slaves. The demographic divergences between the regions led, naturally, to social discrepancies as well. Northerners desired a central, government-based society, and Southerners campaigned for state rights, and the ability to practice their “way of life” explicitly.
In 1830, Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, signed the Indian Removal Act, which exiled the Cherokee and other eastern Indian tribes westward. This act set a precedent for years of political unrest and tension in the mid-19th century. Nat Turner’s Revolt, the Tariff of 1831, the Texan War for Independence, the Battle of the Alamo, the Trail of Tears, and the Panic of 1837 all took place in the 1830’s alone.
The 1840’s proved to be no less turbulent. From that one decade came the Texas Annexation, the U.S-Mexican War, and the Oregon conflict. Soon after came the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Ostend Manifesto, the Dredd Scott vs. Stanford case, the Panic of 1857, and the Lincoln-Douglass debates, all of which took place during the 1850s. It is clear that over time, the North and the South grew further apart due to political tensions as well.
To say that slavery was the prime and central cause of the Civil War would be fallacious and oversimplified. The North and the South were tremendously different in their economic, demographic, social, cultural, and political backgrounds. Their attitudes and positions in these areas often contrasted and conflicted with one another. Therefore, it was not simply slavery, but further sources of tension in a more deeply rooted conflict between two distinct regions that caused the Civil War.

December 3, 2009 at 11:10 pm
(71) Devon says:

when you look back at the issue of the Civil War even Lincoln said himself that if he could keep the Union together without freeing a single slave he would the top issue of the Civil War was keeping the Union together.

December 4, 2009 at 9:26 am
(72) CSA says:

The Civil War started because Lincoln violated the 10th Amendment. All the other reasons stated by others are valid as well, but those arguments stem from Lincoln’s steadfast desire to violate the 10th Amendment and invade, conquer, and assimilate the Confederate States of America (CSA). Thomas Jefferson would have sided with the CSA.

A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT (from <a href="http://jimostrowski.com/articles/secession.html)

Those still harboring doubts about the constitutionality of secession in 1861 should attempt a sincere answer to the question: would the Constitution, as construed by President Lincoln and his allies in all eras, have been ratified in 1788? To answer this question, we must first make explicit those provisions Lincoln and his successors thought were implicit in the Constitution. For the sake of realism, these provisions will be organized in the form of an imaginary Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution.72 Such an amendment would read as follows:

(Imaginary) Amendment XI
Section 1. Notwithstanding the Guarantee Clause and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, no state may ever secede from the Union for any reason, except by an amendment pursuant to Article V.73
Section 2. If any State attempts to secede without authorization, the Federal Government shall invade such State with sufficient military force to suppress the attempted secession.

Section 3. The Federal Government may require the militias of all states to join in the use of force against the seceding State.

Section 4. After suppressing said secession, the Federal Government shall rule said State by martial law until such time as said State shall accept permanent federal supremacy and alter its constitution to forbid future secessions.

Section 5. After suppressing said secession, the Federal Government shall force said State to ratify a constitutional amendment which gives the Federal Government the right to police the states whenever it believes those states are violating the rights of their citizens.

Section 6. The President may, of his own authority, suspend the operation of the Bill of Rights and the writ of habeas corpus, in a seceding or loyal state, if in his sole judgment, such is necessary to preserve the Union.74

This imaginary amendment contains a fair summary of what Lincoln thought the Constitution ratified in 1788 had to say implicitly about state secession. Would the Constitution have been ratified if it contained such an amendment? Would that amendment have been ratified at any time between 1788 and 1861? The answer to both questions, according to any intellectually honest historian or constitutional lawyer, must be a resounding “No!” If that is the case, however, then the dense fog made up of equal parts of Websterian metaphysics and Lincolnesque legalese disintegrates to reveal the truth of Albert Jay Nock’s thesis: the Constitution of 1788 did indeed expire in 1861.

Summary. In 1861, the Constitution did not authorize the federal government to use military force to prevent a state from seceding from the Union. The Constitution established a federal government of limited powers delegated to it by the people, acting through their respective states. There is no express grant to the federal government of a power to use armed force to prevent a secession and there is no clause which does so by implication. To the contrary, the notion of the use of armed force against the states and the subsequent military occupation and rule of the states by the federal government does violence to the overall structure and purpose of the Constitution by turning the servant of the states into their master. Any doubts about whether the federal government had such a power must be resolved in favor of the states since the Ninth and Tenth Amendments explicitly reserve the vast residue of powers and rights to the states and to the people of those states.

December 6, 2009 at 9:48 pm
(73) Ryan says:

In response to 77. You can look up the history. The fact is most blacks came to America the same way most whites did, as indentured servants. I’m not sure if most of them just never left the plantations they worked for or what but that is the fact. We all know that the history textbooks are written by the victors. Why is it that every American feels as though every war we have won was righteous and justified? What better way to make the Federal Government look justified for invading the States that created it for no other reason than to abolish the evil institution of slavery. Now in response to 76. You are a slave. As long as the Federal Reserve exists you are a slave. The money you hold in your hand is nothing more than debt that you must at some point pay back to the Federal Reserve with interest. If you do not they have the right to take your home, to imprison you, to take away your entire life. Whether you think you really own your possessions or not doesn’t change the fact that since the Civil war the Federal government has enslaved all of us by making us it’s property through the issuance of a birth certificate (Title of ownership), social security number etc. And if you don’t follow their rules they can do whatever they want to you. The “New Deal” put you up as collateral on the debt that the Federal Government owes. However, that was besides the original point. Soon when America turns totally Communist we will all be slaves because we will work for the government and will have everything provided to us by the government. It’s a sad sight. At least if the Confederacy would have won there may have been enough competition between the two countries to keep us from moving towards Communism. In response to again to 77. If the Confederacy would have won we could be almost certain that slavery in North America would have ended shortly thereafter. But remember one of the biggest reasons for the Ku Klux Klan and other bitter feelings towards blacks that raged for the following century wasn’t because blacks had been freed but because the Southern States was forced to free them. If they hadn’t been forced to do it and had latter done it on their own we may have seen a much better 20th century without the fierce rivalry?

December 17, 2009 at 12:44 am
(74) JJ says:

All other issues were a derivative of slavery. As Darrell states, when you look at the face of each of the many points outlined throughout this string, you see the most of the points contain slavery in some way. That being said, from there it depends on view. All may agree slavery was part of each issue, but some would call it minor (likely Caucasian or southern) whereas others would call it major (likely northern, westerners or minorities). As history has shown – wars are almost always for religion or money, but the defining wars which transfer power are more often than not for imperialistic or religious reasons. Slaves have been taken since BC, and in each case, slaves or other nations have freed those slaves at the downfall of the enslaving nation. In our case, the enslaving nation (the seceding south) fell to ruin and has, some would argue, never recovered to the extent of the north and western regions of the US. Slavery was the major issue, other issues were derivative issues. It’s uncomfortable for many to admit this.

December 26, 2009 at 2:01 am
(75) Ryan says:

The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the the South not at all. In the first years of the Republic the navigating, commercial, and manufacturing interests of the North began to seek profit and aggrandizement at the expense of the agricultural interests. Even the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury. The navigating interests begged for protection against foreign shipbuilders and against competition in the coasting trade. Congress granted both requests, and by prohibitory acts gave an absolute monopoly of this business to each of their interests, which they enjoy without diminution to this day. Not content with these great and unjust advantages, they have sought to throw the legitimate burden of their business as much as possible upon the public; they have succeeded in throwing the cost of light-houses, buoys, and the maintenance of their seamen upon the Treasury, and the Government now pays above $2,000,000 annually for the support of these objects. Theses interests, in connection with the commercial and manufacturing classes, have also succeeded, by means of subventions to mail steamers and the reduction in postage, in relieving their business from the payment of about $7,000,000 annually, throwing it upon the public Treasury under the name of postal deficiency. The manufacturing interests entered into the same struggle early, and has clamored steadily for Government bounties and special favors. This interest was confined mainly to the Eastern and Middle non-slave-holding States. Wielding these great States it held great power and influence, and its demands were in full proportion to its power. The manufacturers and miners wisely based their demands upon special facts and reasons rather than upon general principles, and thereby mollified much of the opposition of the opposing interest. They pleaded in their favor the infancy of their business in this country, the scarcity of labor and capital, the hostile legislation of other countries toward them, the great necessity of their fabrics in the time of war, and the necessity of high duties to pay the debt incurred in our war for independence. These reasons prevailed, and they received for many years enormous bounties by the general acquiescence of the whole country.

Taken from the Georgia Declaration of Independence… Not one of these facts has to do with slavery.

January 3, 2010 at 7:56 pm
(76) Sandi says:

It is good to see someone who realizes that the Civil War was not just about slavery. It had multiple causes.

January 5, 2010 at 7:50 am
(77) Buck says:

A lot of different perspectives here. Slavery? I must ask this question then. On what date was the Emancipation Proclamation delivered to the public by Abraham Lincoln?
(sometime in 1863 I think)? That would be taking into consideration that the actual first shots were fired in 1861, and also that the war ended in 1864. I have to agree with Danielle’s assessment, although I do not see Wikipedia as a good source of reliable information. As with all wars since, Money seems to fuel gargantuan industrial growth/profits, of the ones that make war supplies. I’ll have to believe that money was the primary cause. And Yes, this is a declaration of my own opinions.

January 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm
(78) Sandi says:

Buck, the war ended in April of 1865.

January 7, 2010 at 11:46 pm
(79) Ryan says:

Good observation. The fact is that the North was getting its ass kicked in the beginning of the war. Lincoln thought that if the slaves saw that he wanted to free them than it would cause an uprising in the south and the blacks would kill a lot of Lincoln’s enemy to help him win the war. This never happened by the way.

January 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm
(80) ax says:

Slavery was barely an issue. it was mostly states rights tariffs and taxes economic differences. i am young but among my family and freinds and some people i only meet once i am considered an expert on the civil war

January 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm
(81) chuck says:

All top five causes mentioned in this article as causes for the U.S. civil war are really just related subtopics of the main and real cause of the war. The one and only reason for the civil war was the issue of Negro slavery.

Slave production of cotton was the driving labor force that fueled the economies of both the North and South. Southern slave holders grew cotton and sold it raw at great profits to Northern textile manufacters who bought it, turned into clothing and other textile products and sold for great profits.

Western and Southern expansion in the U.S. was pushed by Slave Power businessmen and politicians to extend the production of cotton and other slave grown agricultural products into Texas, the conquered Mexican territories and American Indian ancestrial lands in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas.

“Manifest Destiny” was nothing more than a slogan to justify and perpetuate the underlying white European settlors’ attitude of superiority, military power and dominance over the other races of people who also inhabited the land from sea to shining sea.

The issue of States rights was fundamentally about the rights of States to legalize slavery without federal intervention in the exercise of the right. The state’s right issue was also about property rights in human beings. Slaves were by virtue of the federal supreme law of the land mere chattel property. Slave holders in states where slavery existed insisted that their state right to negro property was constitutional, absolute and free from the federal goverment’s interference.

The hundreds of thousands of military and cvilian deaths that occurred durng the civil war were caused becuase the nation had come to point on the issue of slavery that the only way the issue was going to be resolved was by bloodshed. No other national issue has had such an impact of the nation.

January 20, 2010 at 9:37 am
(82) Jill says:

In order for the war to have been about slavery, the North as well as Lincoln would have had to be against slavery and they weren’t. Therefore slavery being the cause of the war isn’t even logical.

People in the North owned slaves. In fact, they also owned ships that went to Africa and brought the slaves here. They greatly profited off of the slave trade.

Lincoln was all for deporting all freed slaves.
He said that they southern states could keep their slaves if they would just come back to the union.
In the Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln has been credited as freeing the slaves. First of all, under the Constitution no President has the authority to make a unilateral decision. Secondly, if you actually read it, you will find that he only freed the slaves in the states in which he had no authority to do so since they had lawfully seceded from the union.

Neither Stonewall Jackson nor Robert E. Lee owned slaves. Ulysses S. Grant did not free his slaves until forced to do so by the thirteenth amendment.

January 26, 2010 at 9:57 am
(83) Mike says:

Has anyone thought to check the price of cotton being sold to Europe and the price that the north was trying to force the south to except?
Also the tariffs being imposed on the shipping of all goods the south was sending to Europe.
The south was selling to the highest bidder, which at that time was Europe. The northern industrialized states refused to pay that amount. This was another aspect that is very seldom discussed when the “CIVIL WAR” comes up.
The race card needs to be put back in the deck. I do not favor slavery in the least and feel that it was one of the most horrifying things that this nation has ever sponsored in any form or fashion, but i feel that if history is to be taught to our children and grandchildren it should be the truth and without bias.

January 27, 2010 at 8:37 am
(84) Olivia says:

Abraham Lincoln was not anti-slavery in any way shape or form I even have a quote to prove it “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery.If i could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would do it” – Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln was not ANti-slavery he really did not care about slavery his only really motive was to save the union.

January 29, 2010 at 11:04 am
(85) Maria says:

Slavery was only one cause of the Civil War. The Republican party formed before the Civil War supported economic changes and higher tariffs. They thought it would benefit American industry, which was in the north.

Democrats feared that the north would overthrow the south’s economy, so then here comes the Civil War.

That’s all of it in a nutshell.

February 2, 2010 at 9:33 am
(86) Doug H says:

All wars need a righteous reason to start. No governemt wants to start a war for the expressed reason to tax or control or dominate others. The Crusades we for the noble cause of freeing the Holy Land but was actually a land grabbing looting crusade to gain land and wealth. When Hitler went after southern Europe it was because of “saving native Germans from oppression”. We went to war with Iraq the 1st time because of babies being taken out of their warm cribs and put on cold concrete floors (never found to be true), the 2nd time because of weapons of mass destruction (never found), in Vietnam one of our frigates was “attacked” (found out we did everything we could to bait the North Vietnameese into a fight), and on and on. All these and others are examples of righteous causes to cover the real reasons to start a war or invoke ones superiority over another. One more thought on this topic, at the time of the War of Northern Agression, most of the Union troops were fighting the American Indians to take away their lands and those battles all were draped with righteous causes to sell to the American people.

It is also interesting to note, once the North (who was trying to control the trade of Soutern cotton to Europe) effectively blockaded and cut off the flow of cotton to Europe, Egyptian cotton (and other cotton from the Middle East) was now the main source of cotton to the European textile mills and the cost of that cotton went up by a conservative factor of 10! The first Middle East cartel.

I agree with the earlier post slavery was on it’s way out. The plantations were not using their land wisely by using crop rotation. Plant disease, the stripping of soil nutrients, and pests were startiing to reduce the harvest anyway, not to mention mechanization was coming to reduce and finally do away with slaves. As posted many times earlier, not all the cotton was grown with the use of slaves. The slavery issue was meerly a popular ruse to gain support to fight the south to take the cotton trade money from the hands of the wealthy southern plantation owners and put it ithe hand of the wealthy money men of the north.

February 18, 2010 at 11:17 am
(87) Rasheema says:

Most people believe slaves had a lot to do with the civil war and they did. Without the slaves the north and the south would have never fought and we would not have justice now. Also, a lady name Chandra Manning also believe slaves had a huge impact on the war.

February 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm
(88) JDM says:

Lincoln said if he could bring the South back into the union without freeing a single slave, he wouldn’t hesitate to do it. BTW, someone earlier mentioned that Lincoln owned slaves. That is false, he never owned slaves. His wife’s family owned slaves, but never Lincoln. As far as slavery being the main reason for the war, ask yourself this question: If the South had not seceded and fired on Fort Sumter, would Lincoln (or Congress) have sent U.S. soldiers to free the slaves? No.
Of course slavery was an issue, and it had been a political one since the Declaration. The first anti-slavery societies were formed (in Philadelphia) in 1775, and sentiment against it was very strong (even in parts of the South) but, as a cause for the war, it was secondary. The cause of the war was secession and the initiation of hostilities by the South.

February 20, 2010 at 3:57 pm
(89) servanio lundquist says:

i have to disagree laurence bird. Kaurence states the top 5 causes of slavery seem to mostly consist of slavery when in actuality he is partially right but not so much. througgout the many papers i have analyzed there are few yet some conclusions one could come to. the top 5 causes of the civil war are 1) slavery- but this includes the fugitive slave law, the trancontinental railroad and the comprramise of 1850 2)

February 28, 2010 at 12:13 am
(90) Bob E says:

i do not find the #1 (of the 5 listed) reason to be compelling reason based on the information listed. Darrell seems to know his facts. Lincoln did not owned slaves. He campaigned against slavery. The South started the war and fought most effectively for the first several years. It seems to me that slavery was the primary reason for the war.

March 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm
(91) Randy says:

I’m not a racist. There is inter-racial marriage in my own family and they are wonderful. But, I’m a student of American history and it irritates me no end that giant assumptions are made irroneously about the causes of the civil war. First, it was not the plantation owners who imported slaves in the beginning. It was northern industrialists. The slaves were then bought by the plantations from the northerners. But, slavery never had anything to do with the civil war at all until the war was half over. The primary reason the war started was the northern states levying tarriffs on the southern plantation owners for their sale of textile resources (mostly cotton and flax) to the northern industries. The southern states complained but to no avail. So, the plantation owners began to sell their products to Europe instead of the northern states and dried up the supply of resources to the textile industry. The north was very angry and convinced the federal government to put a stop to it through federal law. This sparked the secession of South Carolina, and then other sourthern states followed. Not until 1863 when the south was winning the way did the north decide to use the morale issue of owning humans as a way to fire up the masses. The beginning of the end for the south was in 1864 with Sherman’s march to the sea where they burned every building, killed every farm animal, every old man, every woman, and every child for a 100 mile swath right through the middle of Georgia. This left nothing for many of the southen soldiers to return home to, and they started to lay down their guns and give up. This was a very immorale method of ending the war. When someone tells about the causes of the war, they should get their facts straight.

March 17, 2010 at 1:44 am
(92) A young educated black dude says:

Stop fooling yourselves, people. Slavery, hidden by the rhetoric of states rights, was the reason the south seceded.

Southerners argued that the right to own slaves was the right of the state goverment to decide, not the federal government. The southern state goverments were sympathetic to slave holders and wanted their slave societies to survive.

And who could blame them? Not only were slaves making southern whites rich through their labor, but the actual ownership was a source of personal net worth like a rental property or a car. The thought of loosing so much wealth instantly with emancipation (4 million X $1200 each) was potentially devastating to rich white folks and the entire slave based economy (shackle makers, cotton gin makers, etc.)

I agree with an original post that all five of the authors causes tie in with the slavery argument. And I think the author must be either naive or unable to synthesize his own information if he is unable to see that slavery and economics were were the core reasons for secession and the beginning of the civil war.

March 17, 2010 at 1:49 am
(93) An educated young black man (Argument 2) says:

One more reason for the south’s secssion… DEMOCRACY STOPPED WORKING FOR THEM.

In democracies, majorities rule and since the north had the majority, they ruled. So when laws and eventually a president was voted in when no southern state wanted them in, the south decided they should leave.

March 31, 2010 at 11:15 am
(94) observant citizen says:

You are all aware that the civil war is over and has been for quite some time, correct? What reason is there to argue over the cause of something that can not be changed? It is in the past; why prolong the divisions that caused and were caused by this atrocity? Move on and accept that the modern world is more important. Break down the barriers of hate and live with one another as God intended.

April 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm
(95) BlazingSaddles says:

As a historian and avid student of the Civil War I want to leave a few facts to help clarify some of the misinformation being spread in these comments. Lets start with the simple: 1. To the best of my knowledge, Neither Lincoln nor Grant ever owned slaves. Lincoln’s family was much too poor when he lived in KY, and when he turned 7 they moved to IN and later IL, neither of which were slave states. Grant was living in Ohio at the time the war broke out and had nothing to do with politics, He was failing as a businessman. 2. The Emancipation Proclamation was a move of political expedience on Lincoln’s part. Had it included the states of MD, MO, KY, slave states he had miraculously kept in the Union, those states would have probably revolted at that point, throwing their lot in with the Confederacy. If you want to know what Lincoln really thought of slavery, you cannot look at his Presidency. By that point he had learned how to be politic. In his earlier campaigns he was very clear that he felt slavery was an evil that needed to come to an end. Not strictly an abolitionist, he was anti-slavery, and the South knew this. 3. The issue of slavery is tantamount to all other causes of the Civil War. In actuality, most of the other differences could have been compromised away, and in many cases had. Slavery, and to a greater extension its expansion and the political power it brought, was the one issue upon which the two sides had reached an impasse. It was THE state’s right in question. It was the basis of deep South economy, and although it may have eventually dissolved over time, there was no guarantee to that, and the issue had boiled over in 1860. The South was no longer willing to wait. If you want proof of the South’s adherence to slavery, read the Confederate Constitution, which makes the protection of slavery one of its major tenets, or read the following excerpt from a speech from A. Stephens, the southern V.P. “The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted.

Stephens went on to say

(Jefferson’s) ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. … Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner–stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition.” If you still do not think it was about slavery, think again. It was only after the fact that the Southern cause of states’ rights and independence come to the forefront, after they realized that most people had come to view slavery as a moral evil. It was a way of deflecting criticism and reclaiming “southern glory.” Problem is, it just ain’t so. 4. Finally, this divide goes back a whole hell of a lot longer than most people realize. The ideological split occurred when the first two English colonies were founded. In 1607, a group of wealthy Englishmen, members of The Church of England, loyaly to King James, founded the settlement of Jamestown in the colony of Virginia. They had come as part of a business venture. They were here to make money. They had ties to the old Cavaliers of England (hence, the U. of Virginia Cavaliers). 13 years later, their opposite, the Puritans/Pilgrims, brought their largely shunned style of religion (it was a little odd) to New England to found Plymouth Plantation. They were industrious, highly moralistic, and owned slaves; but it was a religion based largely on guilt, and that guilt eventually led to the view that slavery was evil, and it was abolished in the North, where by 1776 some 75% of the population had some Puritan ancestry. They had left England largely because they wanted to be free to practice their religion (although they prohibited others) without the persecution of the gov’t, King James, and the Church of England. A few hundred miles away, living totally different lives, for totally different reasons, were the same people they were running from in England. All else stems from this. By the time 1776 rolls around, these two groups are no closer together in mind. The South wants a loose coalition of states with strong state gov’ts. The North wants strong Federal controls. The South wants a bucolic agrarian society. The North is on the path to industrialization. But it is slavery that becomes the hot button issue. Jefferson, a slave owner, but not a believer in slavery (he would share that opinion with R.E. Lee) wrote a clause into the Declaration of Independence condemning tha practice of slavery. The deep South threatened to walk out of the Continental Congress and kill the Declaration if it was not removed. Jefferson relented, and slavery continued another 89 years. By that point, those original “Cavaliers” had spread out to become the aristocracy of the southern planter class, and they held all the power. Most poor whites in the South despised and were envious of the planter class, but were still subservient to them. Still, when war came, there were many in the South who disagreed with the direction the wealthy planters were taking them. Indeed, there were some who disagreed so vehemently, they not only protested, but fought AGAINST their southern neighbors, declaring their own independence (i.e. Jones Cty. MS) In an interesting twist of hypocrisy, many of these people were persecuted and executed for treason by a South founded on the “right to secede.” There you have it. Yes there are many causes to the Civil War, but by far, the overriding one is the issue of slavery; but over the century and a half since the end of the war, we have been asked to forget this, partially to allay blame for the war, partially for healing, partially to cleanse the soul of an entire region. But to the best of my knowledge, none of the southern slaveholders are still alive. The South should no longer feel the guilt of slavery, even though both blacks and whites will have to deal with its consequences for a long time to come. And yes, there is plenty of racism to spread around, north, south, east and west, and that is the real cleansing that needs to occur. Now for a few lesser know facts of the war. 1. A number of blacks fought alongside their masters for the southern “cause.” 2. There were actually a number of free blacks in the south who owned their own slaves. 3. Andrew Johnson, V.P. of the Union, was one of those poor whites from TN who despised yet sought the approval of the planter class, hence the failure of Reconstruction. 4. Contrary to popular belief, neither Billy Yank nor Johnny Reb were all that fired up about marching off to war. The desertion rate on both sides of the war was astronimical.

April 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm
(96) Girl from 8th grade Social Studies Class says:

I honestly believe that there are a few main reasons that caused the civil war. But, slavery was barely one of them. I think that slavery helped to have the war progess quickly and also gave the north another reason to be against them. The main reasons that really made it begin would be states rights and the federal government, also the massive difference in beliefs in the north and south.

April 8, 2010 at 9:41 pm
(97) Scholar says:

Incase people had not realized this, the north is taught correctly that the primary cause of the civil war is, indeed, slavery; While the south is taught that the primary cause of the civil war is states rights. No matter what point of view a scholar takes, there is unmistakable evidence that states rights is a cover up the south invented, simply meaning that they wanted slavery and did not want that taken away. Simply stating this placed them in bad light, however, and thus they used states rights as a cover. The ONLY states right the south was worried about was the freedom to own enslaved people at the states will.

Rather hilarious fact: I see more southern hate than northern hate in the comments here, and while those southerners claim to be just as intelligent as the northerners commenting here, their grammar is incorrect, they generally cannot spell, their sentence structure is poor, and they have little idea what they are talking about. Not to say the north isn’t full of idiots as well, the south is simply pathetically poorly ‘edumacated’ (pronounced edge-oo-mugh-cate-ed)

April 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm
(98) weary says:

Wow scholar, you argue that the south is just trying to justify their evil ways, while you take the “correct” teaching of the north as your own, and claim the southern posters are less intelligent and nastier, all the while looking down your oh so superiorly educated nose. Which side are more “hate” posts coming from? Definitely count yours as one. Way to show respect – since you seem to think it’s better to be on the “side against slavery” (which is a joke since the north didn’t free their slaves) – shouldn’t you be more respectful of others, even if they don’t share your opinion (or culture, or skin color, etc.)? I mean, you’ve declared yourself on the higher thinking do-right-by-humanity side of the argument so it only makes sense, right?

To 76- plenty of indentured servants got on the boat because the only other option was death – or jail if they were lucky. I know folks want to think they have more rights to claim worst ancestorial treatment, but I can’t say I’d rather live the life of either. While slaves had a knife at their backs -with another black on the other end of that knife, by the way, and it’s STILL going on over there – many indentured servants had the same choice – go or die, with a white person on the other end of the knife in their backs. But you don’t hear their descendents reminding everyone ad naseum about the horrible treatement their ancestors suffered.

Slavery is wrong – then and today. And so is trying to pretend your way of thinking is superior to every one elses’. Both sides have valid arguments – much of the south’s economics depended on slavery at that time, but then the north wasn’t oppossed to that cheap labor either, so let’s stop pretending that being on one side or the other is more humanitarian or ethically correct. Ending slavery in the south was a tool Lincoln used just like blockades and embargos are still used today. Let’s be thankful we’re beyond slavery in this country at least in so far as enslaving a certain color of skin. Human trafficking still exists…. So can we put all this energy towards ending that, along with our high levels of self-righteousness?

April 11, 2010 at 8:02 pm
(99) Elizabeth says:

Everybody thinks the reason the civil war was started is because of slavery, and yes thats part of the reason but there are many many more reasons.

April 13, 2010 at 1:53 pm
(100) Mary Irvin says:

After reviewing all the comments about the Civil War, one thing is prevalent. Southerners now want to change history and state that the Civil War was about states rights only. Many books have been written (by Southerners to detail the Civil War) and not once was state rights the main reason for the war. AMAZING!!!

I wish you could be HONEST. The Civil War and your so called reasons for the war are dishonest. The United States never gained anything by being fair and honest. Everything Southerners have were gained through deceit and treachery. I know, I am a Southerner. All this talk about the Civil War is about the Southerners way of stating the fact that they hate that we have a black president. BE HONEST!!!!. There was no succession talk when Bush was president and he screwed this country royally.

The phrase you Southerners use is ridiculous. “We want our country back” You had 8 years to do so. Bush never tackled the economic issues of this country and now we find ourselves in a quandry, and you want to blame Obama and take back the country.

What a crock of S@%t. But what do you expect from a group of Southerners who still relish in dishonesty and deceit and above all wish to celebrate a war they lost.

April 13, 2010 at 7:45 pm
(101) Todd says:

With all the talk recently of Confederates as great American heroes and how slavery really wasn’t that big of a factor in why the Civil War occurred, I would simply point to the Declaration of Independence for South Carolina. First off, in the very first paragraph, it doesn’t refer to the other states equally oppressed by the federal government as oppressed states but rather as “other slaveholding States”. Why that single distinction among an alleged plethora of other reasons? Because it was the most important. Look at their gripes, every single one of them involved slavery. Mostly that slaves would go to northern states and not be sent back to their masters in the south. How is that not about slavery? Come on folks, the Confederate Union should not be celebrated. They advocated for not only slavery but treason as well as to keep slavery.

Why that only one distinction?

April 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm
(102) Jared says:

How can you say seceding was treason? Not celbrating the south and the confederacy is the same exact thing as not celebrating the American Revoltuion and Indepedence from Britain, some people really dont get things. Im Pretty sure that 11 southern states would’nt secede for slavery or for some lame reason, it was a pretty great reason and I would have done the same. Oppressive taxes, denial of the states’ rights to govern their states, and an unrepresentative federal government pushed the Southern states to legally withdraw from the Union.

April 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm
(103) SK says:

(112) Scholar: You said “States’ Rights” is a cover up invented by the south to disguise the true reason for the Civil War. You claim that there is unmistakable evidence to prove this. I must be “poorly edumacated,” because I haven’t seen much historical evidence to prove your theory. (Other than one speech by the VP of the Confederacy and the declaration of independence of one state, both repeated over and over by posters here.)

By contrast I could just as easily say that Slavery is just a cover up used by the north to disguise their desire for more federal control. I could also point to the emancipation proclamation as evidence. With support for the war poor among the people of the North, Lincoln needed a rallying cry to prove his cause was just. It also helped stop the British from contributing to the South.

My point is that we both look to justify our own way of thinking, but here is what we can truly say from historical record. The North and South saw things very differently. The South had for decades (rightly or wrongly) felt as if the North was discriminating against them. The North (rightly or wrongly) felt that the south yielded too much economic power in relation to population. The Federal government levied tariffs on goods from the South. Both were concerned about expansion to the western territories for a myriad of reasons and had dissenting opinions on the matter. Slavery (especially in new territories to the west) may have been the eventual powder keg for the South, but was most likely (opinion) the last straw in a list of complaints. By contrast, the slavery issue had been virtually ignored officially in the north( because of dissenting opinions among northerners) until the emancipation proclamation which may have been (opinion) the turning point in the war for the North.

Moral of the story: North won. South lost.
Slavery ended
Federal government became more powerful.

It’s all history and subject to interpretation.

May 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm
(104) audrey says:

wanna know wt really happned!?
The battle of Fort Sumter is said to have initiated the bloodiest war in American history! On April 10, 1861, Brig. Gen. Beaureguard, in command of the provisional Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina, demanded the surrender os the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Garrison commander Anderson refused. On April 12, Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort, which was unable to reply effectively. At 2:30 p.m., April 13, Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter, evacuating the garrison on the following day. The bombardment of Fort Sumter was the opening engagement of the American Civil War. Although there were no casualties during the bombardment, one Union artillerist was killed and three wounded when a cannon exploded prematurely when firing a salute during the evacuation on April 14. And that was the start of the Civil War.
The Civil War was said to have started for the fight against slavery. There is actually 5 main reasons that lead up to the Civil War. The first one is Economic and social difference between the north and south. The second is states vs. federal rights. The fight between slave and non-slave state Proponents. Growth of the Abolition Movement. And the final reason was, The election of Abraham Lincoln.

and there u have it! the 1st 2 paragraphs to my history report! (whichi got an A+ on!

May 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm
(105) fanemine says:

i dissagree with missie and Mr. Smith, it does matter because all the south put us through and we even treated them fairly until the betrayed us.

Teehee :) im only 8

May 11, 2010 at 8:31 am
(106) Sandi says:

Nice summary Audrey.

One of the reasons that Fort Sumter could not defend itself properly was that its gun faced away from Charleston. The sides facing the city contained the barracks.

Fanemine, it does matter and war takes two sides. It was the North that invaded the South. The North burned southern cities, homes, businesses, and farms. They devastated the southern economy. The North occupied the South as if in a foriegn nation. After the war, Union soldiers could receive pensions for their injuries. Southern soldiers got nothing. It does matter who started it. And the us, is all Americans.

And I am only 6.

May 11, 2010 at 9:26 am
(107) josh says:

I think the civil war started from the north and the south against slavery and when aberham lincoln was lected in 1860 he was against slavery i bet the south were feurious because lincoln was against slavery i think slavery and the cotton gen was the main reson…. THE NORTH VS THE NORTH


May 12, 2010 at 7:24 pm
(108) sAvANnAh says:

Wow you guys r mature.

Anyways, I thought that the three main reasons were
b)states rights
c) economy
That’s what I put on my U.S. History Homework anyway, but what I mean by economy is that the North didn’t like having the South just leave and start their own confederancy and they wanted power, so that’s one reason.
Hopefully, I’m at least PRETTY close…

May 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm
(109) Steve says:

Come n everyone, you are missing the most basic point. The cause of the Civil War was the invasion of the South by the troops from the United States army. Had the South been allowed to legally leave the union, which was and is still every state’s right, there would have never been a civil war.

May 30, 2010 at 7:57 pm
(110) Dewaine says:

No war has ever been fought for the good of man. The war was correctly stated as being the War of Northern Aggression. The North coveted the South’s resources.

May 31, 2010 at 11:45 am
(111) Michael says:

Slavery had nothing to do with the civil war…
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”-Abraham Lincoln
Just take a look at the first line…
It just totally messed with my mind for a little while

May 31, 2010 at 8:40 pm
(112) Justin Walters says:

Actually, slavery was not one of the main causes of the Civil War. It was one of the SURFACE causes. Not a very influencial cause. The causes were actually state politics, not very much having to do with slavery. That quote by Abraham Lincoln should explain it pretty well.

June 8, 2010 at 8:02 pm
(113) just me says:

3)states rights

June 28, 2010 at 1:40 am
(114) Lenny Caudill says:

The common denominator then and now is consistent. It’s all about the money folks. Greed.

July 11, 2010 at 7:58 pm
(115) shooty mcbang says:

The situation leading up to the Civil War was known as “The Sectionalist Contraversy “, whereby many issues were brought forth to be resolved at the federal level. The sections were: the north,the south and the west. The south and west were not as heavily populated as the north and as such they had less representation from their regions at the federal level which gave the north the most weight as decisions were voted on in the house and the senate. Thus, a balance could not be achieved amongst the sections that each deemed favorable to its specific regions needs and desires. Mary Todd Lincoln was from a family of southern slave owners and was pretty much outed from her family for marrying a man that did not look favorably on owning slaves. I don’t believe Abe Lincoln owned slaves. That is historically incorrect.

July 14, 2010 at 12:11 am
(116) Heidi says:

Tom nailed it (56): “People go to war when their way of life, their place in the world is threatened. When their economy is about to be turned upside down…. Fear of poverty. Fear of revenge. That’s what starts wars.”

What gives me chills as I read these arguments back and forth (on both sides) is that I fear we are heading for another civil war right now because we are still missing this truth. People on the right and the left right now are so polarized and I’ve heard many people openly state that “revolution is coming.”

Why? We could cite all kinds of reasons like urban vs. rural, state’s rights (still!), racism, big vs. small government – but the real reason is still that people feel their way of life is being threatened, and politicians and pundits on both sides feed and exploit this fear for their own benefit. Until we learn to listen to each other and stop spouting our beliefs as ultimate truths, I fear we are doomed to repeat history.

July 25, 2010 at 4:38 am
(117) Justin says:

Slavery had quite less a factor than our educational system has alluded to. Some of the states in the Union were slave states; Abraham Lincoln also stated that if he could end the war without freeing one slave that he would. The real reason for the war was the South wanting Independence from the North that was trying to implement a new form of governance. This happened with the 3 Reconstruction Acts, the 14th Amendment and the true loss of our Constitutional Republic. For reference see letter by Governor Jonathan Worth July 1st, 1868, review the Unconstitutionality of the 14th Amendment, Jefferson Davis and his plea for a trial he never received; having been released after being unlawfully held for two years and simply released. Allow this to begin your studies into true history; then make your decision. Slavery may have been an object of the war, but it wasn’t the main reason. Ask yourself why now under Title 28 U.S. Code of the, the government is now by law considered a “Federal Corporation.”

September 4, 2010 at 1:05 am
(118) Dave says:

The issue of Federal vs State powers over economic rule were the main cause of the civil war.

In Canada you have a central government that up until very recently pretty much allowed Ontario, the largest province by population, to treat lesser provinces as colonies. Seperation, or succession, is a very real threat from Quebec and the western provinces.

Allthough slavery was never as exstensive in Canada as the US the desire of Ontario to profit from the resourses of the other provinces caused various trade and shipping regulations to be enacted over time that were injurious to other regions.

Many in Canada see the same economic problems the South had with the North occuring here.

September 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm
(119) Jasper says:

Seems southerners hate to include slavery at all in Civil War talks. States Rights! The right to have slavery, and make more money from slavery, and not buy northern crap which was more expensive. Lincoln didn’t own slaves personally but married a girl from a big slave owning family. He had a passive aggressive approach to abolition by not allowing anymore slave states he aimed to eventually dissolve slavery at first. Even though all these people love to say it wasn’t over slavery, nearly everything they mentioned involved slavery…… Interesting

September 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm
(120) Chaz says:

The Civil War was fought for the same reason all wars are fought…….$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

October 1, 2010 at 1:53 am
(121) Jason says:

It’s funny Jasper how northerners never want to admit that slavery may NOT have been the main cause. If Lincoln wanted to end slavery, why not make it illegal in Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland with the Emancipation Proclamation? If the South fought for Slavery alone, why did only 20 percent of the population own them? If there were no other reasons for the war, why was Lincoln elected without a single Southern state’s vote?

And to your statement about Southerner’s wanting to make more money by using slaves. The North invaded the South, not vice versa. Look at the South now. This is exactly what the federal government had in mind when they decided to invade us. Let’s make as much money as possible. All the South wanted was to be left alone.

October 1, 2010 at 2:21 am
(122) Josh says:

All I have to do is post this quote:
“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

Alexander H. Stephens
March 21, 1861
Savannah, Georgia
(Vice President of the Confederacy)

October 18, 2010 at 6:47 pm
(123) FACTS MATTER says:

**Cornerstone of Confederacy** speech given by the Vice President of the Confederacy –said the Confederacy secession was about Slavery

All the secession letters from the states that seceded stated the seceded because of slavery

The Confederate generals after they lost the war created the first KKK, see Nathan Bedford Forrest

States rights **B.S.** was started after the war by Edward Pollard and Jefferson Davis as part of the Lost Cause mindset that has poisoned the minds of people of the south…. To have them deflect slavery and pretend to have fought for another reason–which isn’t true

Slavery is what their economy was built around, see Reconstruction era

October 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm
(124) Chad says:

Look at the differences between the US Constitution and the Confederate Constitution. The Confederacy ensures the continuation of slavery and put limits on the length of presidency. Supply Side interests pushed toward session and those 80% of the population that didn’t own slaves got caught up in it. People in Alaska have recently brought up session. Obama, unlike Lincoln, would not approve of maintaining slavery in slave states and feel the only long term answer is to send blacks back to Africa. But he is similar in that he will defend The Union. Tea Party activists are caught up in the Supply Side wanting to maintain status quo. Lets see how this one plays out.

October 26, 2010 at 4:01 pm
(125) mrsd says:

all five reasons given are related to slavery.

October 29, 2010 at 10:04 am
(126) Tech says:

I’m not certain why people protest that slavery was a (if not THE) main reason for the Civil War. I think many people would like to think that Americans in the South are not so heartless that the evils of slavery were lost on them. I liken this to the way some Germans must feel about the atrocities of the World War II. None the less, both Notherners and Southerners manipulated slavery for their own benefit. The very existence of 36′ 30′ dictates that the US government was well aware of and had documented and maintained slavery lines in America. The very shape of Texas was modified due to slavery lines. While there are certainly other elements to consider, slavery is always the BIG elephant in the room.

November 10, 2010 at 11:03 am
(127) Joe says:

Personally i disagree with the statement that slaves were the cause. The cause was clearly money and the growing economy. The north tried to rid slaves from the U.S because and only because we are extremely power hungry and saw it as if we accomplish this it will force the South to start working in factories. This would lead to America becoming a world power and to be quite honest it did end that way. Does anyone here real think any politician cares about other people’s rights.

November 16, 2010 at 1:03 am
(128) Terri says:

Money was the cause of the Civil War and slavery, states’ rights, preservation of the Union were told just to make Americans support it. Both North and South had rich folks in politics who wanted to get richer. They cared nothing about the African until it benefited them. The North wanted to expand industry into the south and take advantage of cheaper labor, while at the same time forcing the south to buy their goods. When the south didn’t hand over its lunch money the bully got mad.

And the South’s 50K or so Planters wanted to continue enslaving over half of it 1.6 million white and 4 million African population in ignorance (please note I do not me lack of intelligence, but education) and poverty. In the end, they did not want to lose their “good thing” of free labor and with no competition. They worked hard to build this wealth and harder to preserve it through race base classism.

The Planters own greed was their downfall. In their haste to keep poor white and yeoman farmers beneath them they failed to create good roads that would aid them the war to “preserve their right not to be slaves.” They also failed to realize that their decision to keep their profits out of the hands of local farmers cut them off from their food supplies during the war and the poor farmers that always saved them were in war.

And who would have thought that once the war started the slaves they punished severely would run off and fight against them and those that did not slowed down production and sabotaged them so much that the rich Planter class felt they were too important for war, leaving the last half to be fought by weary yeomen farmers and malnutrition poor whites.

Money ran this War. Neither the North nor South cared that the African was free, they just cared that one was trying to get over on the other. Politics. The good that did come out of that war was that as a nation we finally honored our Constitution freed the slaves.

November 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm
(129) Ron says:

The south was negotiating their own foreign trade agreements and felt oppressed by the union. They chose succession rather than oppression from Washington. Slavery as a reason was an easy sell politically.

November 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm
(130) Prom says:

The MAIN reason was states’ rights. The south believed they could secede whenever they wanted, but the north believed that by signing and agreeing to follow the Constitution, they had subjugated themselves to a higher power. This was what the war is about.

November 27, 2010 at 8:39 am
(131) wow says:

TO Tom and all who site Lincoln and other’s speeches from the time.
Politicians LIE to motivate their base! It is that way now and it was that way then. If you base history on Politician’s words, then you are living in ignorance. History has been written by the victors. Christopher Columbus (for example) was a monster by his own diary that was kept out of history class by more educated men (Politicians of the day).

December 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm
(132) Christie says:

Bob – Because slaves couldn’t vote.

December 11, 2010 at 11:28 am
(133) Rob Campbell says:

Since unemployment is at 9.8% and we need stuff done, we should definitely bring back slavery. Lets start with the lazy people who haved sucked on the government’s teat for unemployment checks for 2 years, welfare and foodstamps. IF they don’t want to get out there and get real jobs, then they can keep that money, but they are getting shackled and sent out to cleans streets, dig ditches, pick crops and every other dirty job there is out there until they realize they need to get a real job.

December 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm
(134) Del Gado says:

I believe more than anything and the biggest issue that held the grounds for why some southern states succeded was above all the preservation of their way of life. Not only did the south feel threatened but so did the north, which causes a sort of hostility against each other that resulted in sometimes violent actions such as the case of Bleeding Kansas. Each felt threatened that if the other had the bigger control of government they would aim to destroy their very way of life, in the south, their right to own “property” or slaves was a huge part of them, so I do not agree when he says that slavery was not an important issue because it was.

December 14, 2010 at 11:52 am
(135) coopervery says:

The larger question, which was the driving force behind southern slavery was always economic, especially as an economy relates to labor. The issue is much the same even today. Slavery was just an easy solution for an economy which required cheap (the most perfect expression of which is free) labor in order to produce maximum profits. Today we see the same push for unheard of profit which has brought about off-shoring of entire industries, resulting in the stagnation of wages for all except the very elite (Attorneys, pundits, politicians and CEO’s). This is the driving force behind our current jobless recovery, which is quickly producing new forms of economic slavery.

December 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm
(136) jonathan tracy says:

Slavery caused the civil war. The northern states were going through an industrial revolution and desperately needed more people to work in its factories. Industrialists in the North believed that, if freed, the slaves would leave the South and provide the labor they needed. The North also wanted tariffs on imported foreign goods to protect their new industries. The South was still mainly agricultural and purchased a lot of goods from abroad and was therefore against import tariffs.

January 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm
(137) John D says:

While the rights of states may have been the “war” that drove the south; their tragedy was that they chose to make battle over slavery.

Slavery was the issue that caused a line to be drawn in the sand and could only be resolved by blood. There were hundreds of states rights issues but none created the fervor of the slavery issue.

The choice of both sides of the issue to draw the line and to insist on stepping across the line brought sorrow to millions of Americans and forever changed the nation and our government.

January 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm
(138) Tom says:

War’s are fought for Money. Money begats Power. Take any war ever fought and it comes down to economics. Money starts wars and money wins wars.

January 18, 2011 at 11:31 am
(139) Anon says:

“slavery was not a cause of the war”

-Common excuse for southerners to make little of their dark past

January 25, 2011 at 5:48 am
(140) Alan Foos says:

As a biologist, I think the reality is less about politics than it is about resources becoming scarce and the quality of life becoming cheap, which doesn’t have too much to do with material possessions, but when you get hungry enough…

Anyway, the US is morally and intellectually bankrupt now and there’s no way to avoid hitting the bottom. Cynical?

“Fear not he who can kill the body, but fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in Hell.” Jesus

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one cometh to the Father but by me.” Jesus

January 30, 2011 at 12:07 am
(141) Ben says:

The Civil War was inevitable. The Tariff Issues in the 1830s testify to this. The Southerners were at a disadvantage with the passage of tariffs to protect the market revolution going on in New England.

At the same time Pres. Andrew Jackson vowed to enforce federal law.

Yes, the Civil War was inevitable. Lincoln and his radical Republicans made slavery the issue, however, it all goes back to the Tariffs to protect Northern industry.

February 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm
(142) Souther Girl says:

I wish everyone would remember one thing while you are condemning the south. Not one slave ship ever sailed under a confederate flag. The whole time the north was looking down on the south, they were providing the slaves. Not all people who owned slaves were the evil masters all have been made out to be. I’m not saying slavery was right, but people need to dig deep and research instead of throwing around comments off the top of their heads! The north was more than happy to take that raw cotton and turn it into goods. The sad thing is, a lot of northerners still look down on southerners. I might be a redneck and a hillbilly, but I’m not a phony!!

February 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm
(143) Joan says:

Angel, you are right on the mark – entirely correct. Danielle, did you know that Wikipedia is not allowed in universities because of their incorrect information? Never, ever believe what Wikipedia says. The war started because of taxes, then the south suceded, then everything added on and added on. The U.S. was not the first country to have black slaves – black slaves were kept thousands of years ago, it was nothing new. And…who do you think had those slaves on the docks ready to be bid upon by the arriving boat captains? Africans sold their OWN PEOPLE to America, England, Spain, Sweden, Germany, etc., etc., etc.

February 14, 2011 at 11:08 pm
(144) TR says:

Of course the main cause of the Civil War revolved around the institution of slavery. One only has to read the declarations on the causes of secession to see that this is true.
Regarding the argument that the true cause of the civil war was the fear that the federal government was trying to take away the rights of the states, this is true to the extent that the “right” that the seceding states was worried about was the right to own slaves.
Probably the most compelling fact that slavery was the main issue that caused the civil war was the “cornerstone speech” given by Alexander H. Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy, which says, among other things relating to slavery as the cause of the civil war: “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea [to equality of the races]; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
You can ignore or deny history, but you cannot change it.

February 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm
(145) Sluv says:

One thing that never gets talked about enough in these discussions is a piece of legislation called the Corwin Amendment. Basically, it was a proposal to forbid the Federal Government from abolishing or interfering with domestic institutions of the states, including holding persons to labor.
It was passed in both the House and the Senate in late February of 1861. Lincoln expressed his support of the Corwin Amendment in his first inaugural address. The Amendment was in the process of ratification by the individual states when war broke out which apparently paralyzed the government and stopped the ratification process dead in its tracks.
Knowing that a proposal to restrict the Federal Government from any attempt at abolishing slavery in slave states was in the process of becoming a constitutional amendment, why would the Southern States proceed with secession? Could it be that slavery – although certainly a divisive issue between North and South – was not the deciding factor that led states to choose to secede?
It may be difficult for some people to accept this, but the American Civil War, like most wars, was caused in large part by economics and was probably fueled by cultural differences.
Also, the effect that John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry had on the country deserves to be mentioned as a catalyst to violence.

February 22, 2011 at 2:40 pm
(146) Keaton says:

So here is a question…why did the South choose to fight a conventional war rather than a guerrilla type of war??

February 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm
(147) judy says:

The Civil War was about what the states felt was their right, primarily the right to secede from the Union. They felt that their rights were being taken away, as the colonies did resulting in the Revolutionary War. They were being cornered into choosing Northern products, which were more expensive at the time to other products, and they were losing out in political power as the anti-slavery politicians were fighting the introduction of new “slave” states. (Mass. even went as far as to deny that the new states were states, that the government didn’t have the right to introduce states period.)

March 2, 2011 at 8:45 am
(148) Andrew says:

I’m sorry but for people to say that the main reason for the civil war was slavery or money do not think deeply into what could have been with the really issues. The main reason for the civil war was the States rights over Central rights, but it was much deeper than what people think. Yes is was partly about slavery, but that was a very small part of it. Think of it this way. The states didn’t want the federal government to become to powerful, like the king did in England, like wise the federal government didn’t want the states to become too powerful because they knew that would only destroy them as the states would never agree on anything. The states having too much power would also be corrupt and if they had succeeded there would be no separations of powers or checks and balances. You see the war was about the fear of one part of government becoming too powerful, which would not only decide slavery’s issue, but many more issues in the future. Luckily today we have a Federal government, which allows the state and central governments to communicate equally, and not a confederate government, which allows the state government to tell the central government what to do. This allowed for the fear of one part of government becoming too powerful to fade. So the next person that says the civil war was about slavery or money is an idiot and needs to open their mind to see beyond the surface.

March 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm
(149) d brooks says:

lincoln is and was responsible for the deaths of 600,000 + people..lincoln stated he was in his office and god spoke to him to go to war…did lincoln ever go to the confederate hdqts. and discuss the problems facing the nation…lincoln wanted to send all the slaves back to africa…let’s see slavery-roman empire-arabic nations-african chief’s…a lot of the enslaved people didn’t want to leave the plantations, why, because where would they go???? lincoln wasn’t a hero…there didn’t have to be a civil war….sort of like today’s administration…puppets…

March 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm
(150) Bobby says:

“…its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

The court decision for Loving V. Virginia took place over 100 years after the end of the Civil War! Anyone who does not understand the simple fact that the government of the confederacy was in part based on the inequality of the races and used this belief to power the economic machine (i.e. cotton production via slave labor) is blind, absolutely blind. It took over 100 years for the supreme court to rule on the issue of inter-racial marriage. State legislatures reduced voting by blacks by passing more restrictive electoral and voter registration rules, amending constitutions to the same ends from 1890–1910, and passing Jim Crow laws to establish racial segregation and restrict labor rights, movement and organizing by blacks. One can say it was “States Rights” the entire time but if you ignore and disregard the facts surrounding the oppression of non-white races in the south before, during and after the Civil War then truly the Civil War has not ended.

March 11, 2011 at 11:52 am
(151) chris says:

ok first off lincoln was the worst president ever … before he was president he was a laywer for the railroads .. during the cilvil war the government was trying to build railroads everywhere well when they didnt want to have to go through the states to ask if they could build railroads lincoln disided to make the … UNITED states .. so that instead of going through the states they only had to go through one man … lincoln the PRESIDENT .. lincoln took all of our states rights away .. and honestly if i could go back in time to when he got shot i would kick him in the balls right befor john shot him in the head

March 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm
(152) Mark says:

I’m a northerner transplanted at an early age to the south. It is amazing to see the amount of ignorance that resides here in the south. It starts in the classroom where children are indoctrinated that somehow slavery was only a “small” issue in regards to the starting and continuance of the treachery that was the civil war. In the eyes of a southerner, Robert E Lee was a great man to be revered despite the fact he was the worst form of yellow traiter to his country and personally responsible for the deaths of thousands of men. In order to make themselves feel better and accept the fact that the south was utterly defeated reoroganized and as a society improved a great deal, The southern teachers and southern society at large have glossed over the bloody conflict as an issue of “states rights”. The fact is I have observed southern people for about 25 years now and I can tell you that as a people they are a morally deficit lot. These southern rednecks will turn on each other at the drop of a hat and loyalty is something that is only present as long as it is to thier benifit. What is one of the most distressing things to be observed about these people is thier work habits. The primary means of advancement is not by good hard work or education but rather by social networking or by favoratism or nepotism. The sad fact is that the only way the southern states improve is by a continual influx of northern workers and society. I guess the best thing to do when confronted with the southern civil war revisionist is to remind them that the south lost and no revisionism can change that. Due to the south losing the war there is no more slavery and there is no confederacy. The best side won and we are all better for it. Thank god!

March 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm
(153) shaper says:

Lincoln NEVER owned slaves, by the way.

March 25, 2011 at 1:56 pm
(154) Madia says:

well your wrong chris bush was and 2 the reason i would say lincoln was a bad president is because he was for slavery not aginst it.he never owened a slave so why are you going for slavery.

March 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm
(155) Richard says:

The issue was 100% slavery. The Southern States were the Slave Power and the Slave Power wanted to extend slavery throughout all of North and South America.

March 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm
(156) Bob says:

Look I’ve seen many good reasons here as too why the civil war still would have happened without slavery. However, it seems that many of you have forgotten that it takes two sides to fight a war. Thus, must not only evaluate if the South would still have succeeded, but also whether the North would have fought to keep them as part of the union. Lets not forget that one of the only reasons Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation in the first place was to garnish support from the growing abolitionist movement. Remember there was no draft during the war so would northerners really have been willing to go out and shoot their southern brothers if they did not believe that they were fighting for a greater moral and noble purpose.

April 3, 2011 at 11:47 am
(157) Buddy says:

Interesting comments. It was about “State Rights” to determine slavery. It was about an economic advantage created by slavery. It was about the moral question of perpetual servitude or slavery. Depending on your perspective it was about many things but slavery was part of the equation.

April 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm
(158) Luna Smith says:

Everyone please! You are all fighting like children! And by the looks of some of these comments, I’d say most of you are! However, the majority of the comments are, in a sence, correct. Slavory WAS the main affliction in the war, as was the election of president Lincoln. Another, as several of you have said, was the southerers want to secede (secede means withdraw) from the union. The north attempted to stop them but failed. The south DID secede. (ooh that was a pun!) The north proclaimed war to foil them. You all SHOULD know who won, but unfortunetly to this day many southerners like to think the war is not over. Worse still they are correct while rascism still exists.

April 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm
(159) Dick Hunter says:

It was about slavery. You cannot boil it down to anything else. If you say it was about cotton/money – well, who was pickin’ all that cotton and turning it into money? SLAVES WORKING FOR NOTHING.

If you say it was about ‘States’ Rights” – what “rights” are we talking about? The “right” TO HOLD AN AMERICAN-BORN HUMAN BEING AGAINST HIS OR HER OWN WILL and condemn them to a life of complete servitude? Sounds like slavery…

Not to mention states like South Carolina lamented the fact that states in the North (Free States) had disallowed slavery – isn’t it UP TO THE STATE to decide? I mean, if it’s ABOUT STATES’ RIGHTS?

Don’t believe what you learned in school. It’s revisionist garbage…THE CIVIL WAR (yes it was a civil war) was mainly brought about because THE SOUTH refused to budge on the issue of SLAVERY.

April 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm
(160) Carly says:

If things don’t start getting better in Washington, I’m for Texas seceding. We can take care of the illegals ourselves, quit sending all the money to DC to send to people that hate us and support ourselves.

April 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm
(161) Linda Barber says:

This article is a bit misleading. He says that slavery was the main reason for the Civil War but says there are others. When you go to his top 5 reasons though, every reason is really about slavery. Slavery was the reason the South fought this war. I have lived in the South all my life, and there are still so many people here who don’t want to admit that slavery was THE issue. We still have high schools who are called Rebels and fly the confederate flag from their trucks on game day! Luckily, I had an intelligent mother and father (both southerners who taught me the truth. Also, if you go to college, all history teachers at that level teach that the reason for the civil war was slavery. All the other issues relate to that! Read Shelby Foote or any legitimate historian and you will learn the truth. Can you find some idiot that tries to say slavery wasn’t the issue? Sure you can. But, if you read books by the “accepted” experts in this field, you will discover that every so-called issue directly or indirectly relates to slavery! READ!

April 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm
(162) Mason says:

Since when did Lincoln own slaves? Well anyways…. The Civil War was (in my opinion) about alot of things that were all tied to slavery which leads me to the conclusion that slavery did play the biggest part in this conflict.

April 16, 2011 at 7:36 pm
(163) Lester says:

I think some “whites” (not all) want to downplay the importance that slavery had as a catalyst for the Civil War with the hopes of eventually barely referencing the evil institution in the history books if not mentioning it at all. I call this “revisionist history”…trying to rewrite it to make ones own people appear in a more positive light and this is nothing new. Such people say that the Civil War had nothing to do with Slavery and others go to the opposite extreme saying it had everything to do with slavery. I believe that slavery was a major major factor and that other things played into it aswell. We will never forget though the plague that was slavery. We will teach our children if the schools do not and they will teach their children. True education is not meant to instill hatred in members of any race but a healthy respect for the past and a desire to learn from the mistakes of others. Rewriting history benefits no one and only leaves room for the repetition of past injustices. I taken American history I & II and have noticed that certain white professors downplay its importance while black ones linger on it as the only cause. We must be careful as history can be taught in a way to be divisive instead of healing. Many whites called “abolitionists” were against this cruel institution and sacrificed life and limb in effort to rid this great country of so great an evil.

April 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm
(164) TheClambelly says:

The argument of supporters of the confederacy is purely semantic. Saying that the Civil War wasn’t principally about slavery is ludicrous. The argument is constantly made for the root cause of states’ rights. Well, of course it was about states’ rights, and the right that those southern states sought to protect was the right to own slaves. Defenders of the south love to assert that Lincoln himself owned slaves. It’s a fallacy. He never owned slaves, though other president before him certainly did, and so did some Union generals. That it was tolerated, and that blacks were considered 3/5 of a person does not negate slavery as the principal cause of the war. Did the Union use bully tactics against the wealthy planters in the south? Yes. Did they institute unfair tariffs on cotton? Yes. But secession had everything to do with slavery. The wealthy planters in the south could not be as wealthy if they had to pay labor. Insofar as even the 18th century forefathers such as Jefferson and Madison made noise against the appropriateness of slavery, though still kept theirs. They were allegedly against slavery, yet couldn’t “afford” to emancipate them. What contradiction. Northerners were not abolitionists, nor did most southerners own slaves. While the south still loves to paint Lincoln as murderous, and the north has canonized him, the truth is somewhere in between. But, if we are honest, from today’s vantage point, looking back, can anyone really argue that slavery was a reasonable institution? It is ethically, humanly and morally wrong in every way it CAN be wrong, so there’s no argument there. The truth is that the south had legitimate gripes against the north. That said, had they freed their slaves, as many southerners including General James Longstreet admitted, PRIOR to firing upon Fort Sumter in order to make their point salient, we would not be having this argument 150 years later.

April 29, 2011 at 11:15 am
(165) Jessica says:

mostly all the comments put forth are correct. Some people are saying that slavery was not an issue, but it was in some for or fashion part of the problem.
Just thought I’d through that out there..

April 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm
(166) Xavier says:

“Slavery” was the topic to pull our eyes off the real issue, as our country still proves to do this very day. Unfortunately, when we try to fix our attention on the real issues, as far as today, we are called whack job conspiracy theorists,(or anti-big government fools) and the world discounts us and keeps on moving, re-writing a very clouded history for all of our new young children.

April 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm
(167) Xavier says:

“Slavery” was the topic to pull our eyes off the real issue, as our country still proves to do this very day. Unfortunately, when we try to fix our attention on the real issues, as far as today, we are called whack job conspiracy theorists,(or anti-big government fools) and the world discounts us and keeps on moving, re-writing a very clouded history for all of our new young children. The North needed the South! The South did not need any of the North!

May 3, 2011 at 7:49 pm
(168) Sandi says:

The Clambelly, while I do not disagree with much of what you have to say, and I especially like the part about freeing their slaves before seceding, there are a couple points that need addressing.

First, blacks were never considered 3/5ths of a person. You are confusing blacks with slaves. Free blacks always counted as a full person. So why were slaves counted as less? Because of representation in the House. The Founding Fathers wanted to diminish the power of states with large slave populations. By counting a slave as 3/5ths of a person the number of representatives from those states would be reduced giving those states less power.

Now as for wealth, it was not just the Southerners who benefited from slavery. Before the trade was outlawed many a northern sea captain got rich off of the slave trade. Later on so did the factory owners. They would not have made so much money if Southern cotton had not been so cheap.

A major mistake when studying history is to judge the past by the present. We must judge people by the standards of their day not ours. In those days it was not so easy to emancipate slaves. In Virginia, for example, a freed slave had to leave the state within the year. That meant leaving home, community, friends, and family. Other states had their own laws which made it difficult to free slaves.

Then there were other dangers present. Because some slaves lacked marketable skills, they only occupations available to them were manual labor. In slave states, there was no need for that since plantation owners generally had more slaves than they needed. There was no need to hire outside labor. And a worse danger was re-enslavement. A free black could be captured and put back into slavery, and the new master may not be as kind as the last. That is one reason why many of the Founding Fathers worked to end slavery itself in their home states. It would have resolved these issues.

May 3, 2011 at 7:51 pm
(169) Sandi says:


Now as for Jefferson’s situation, he was deeply in debt, long story. His slaves were collateral. To free them would not have gone well with his creditors. Imagine you are in debt and decide to give away most of your property. What would your creditors think of that? It is likely they would be thinking criminal prosecution.

As for Northerners not being abolitionists, did you meant to say not all were? Because certainly many Northerners were abolitionists, even some Southerners were. The abolition movement began in the North before the Revolution was even fought. Benjamin Franklin was one prominent abolitionist.

As I said, I agree with many of your points, but needed to clear the record. It is important when we study history to get our facts straight.

May 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm
(170) Bill says:

The cival war was about slavery and states rights!

May 11, 2011 at 10:35 am
(171) brian says:

from what research has told me about the history of the civil war it was not all about slavery it was about money power and pride and it was also about industrialization of the C.S.A. by the union which pisses me off that they [the union] tried to force industrialization upon the confederate states which they did not want to become industrialized, I’m a native of minnesota but i still fly my confederate flag with pride, i am union by force confederate by choice and the south will rise again.

May 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm
(172) Joe says:

hey every one when explaining things make sure a junior high student can read it so that they can get more information about the subject than if they can’t understand it and write a bunch of bull crap down!!!!!

May 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm
(173) Becca Dooley says:

It might of been of slavery but it was the most bloodest,terrifiing thing ever fought,seen,or been in its love by a family not be owned by someone elses it love the world not the war thats in it!!

May 16, 2011 at 11:50 am
(174) Sandi says:

Brian, the Union ws trying to force industrialization on the CSA? You sure about that? By CSA do you mean the South? They are similar, but not quite the same thing. And I do not think the North cared whether the South industrialized. They may in fact have preferred things the way they were. An industrialized South would have been competition. Furthermore, the North relied on the South for some of the raw materials it needed.

Joe, if one were to apply a bit more effort to one’s vocabulary, then there would be no need to dumb things down.

May 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm
(175) ginger says:

I find this debate very interesting. My students (8th grade) were astonished to find out that 42% of Americans deny that slavery was the issue in the Civil War. It seems to me that the expansion of slavery into the new territories was what eventually brought about the conflict.

May 19, 2011 at 7:49 am
(176) Sandi says:

Ginger, it was an issue. It was not the sole issue.

Tyra, what are you not getting?

May 28, 2011 at 9:52 am
(177) T. Parks says:

My family fought in the Civil war at Corinth Mississippi. They didn’t own slaves. They fought because the Union army came to their farm and stole three mules, twenty cows, two bulls, took all the food from the family garden, and burned their cotton crop and barn. My relatives fought for this injustice not over any slaves. I beleive if the two sides could have held out a few years longer slavery would have no longer issued due to the development of cotton gins and tractors. All the slaves could have been sent back to Africa and America would be a different place today. I know the large cities wouldn’t be as messed up.

June 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm
(178) Jimmyjam048 says:

Despite all of the BS stated on this forum, the fact remains that the eyewitnesses to the civil war ALL claim that slavery was the cause of the war. Lincoln said it, Lee said it it, every CONfederate state wrote it in their articles of secession AND the CONfederates actually WROTE it in their Constitution. For ome one to claim any thing other than slavery to be the cause of the civil war would require that person to be:
1. Willfully ignorant and illiterate
2. Deceitful and manipulative
3. Plumb crazy.

June 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm
(179) Sarah says:

I think that the top 2 reasons for the causes of the Civil War were, 1.) The North wanted to fight against slavery and the South was fighting to keep slavery. 2.) The amendments were being made and the congress was creating the states’ rights, so some states found slavery unfair, and some states thought that the fact that the North was trying to destroy their way of life was unfair. The North did not think that the South should secede, meaning to break apart from the U.S. (the Union) and the South were afraid that they would lose their rights for slavery, so they broke off from the Union and became known as the Confederate states.

June 7, 2011 at 11:48 am
(180) History Student says:

There is no doubt slavery was an issue, but I dont believe it was the main one. States rights and the north trying to oppress the south with tarrifs and trying to regulate their trade with England is the main cause. I find it hard to believe Lincoln would go to war with his own countrymen in order to free a bunch of people he cared nothing about (check his quotes). He wanted to preserve the union. Plain and simple. History is written by the victors they say, and this war is no different. I have never once seen a quote of Lincoln saying he cares nothing of the slaves in a history book. And why is that? Im sure plenty of “facts” that we all read in history books have been fudged or even added without being true at all. No one can boil it down to ONE main reason for the war. And those that still yell “racist” to those who dont believe what is written in those books and question the real reason for the war are just plain stupid.

June 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm
(181) Jesse says:

The goverment hides alot of things from the public they are putting in history books and such that the confederates were the bad guys and union the good. While in all they have the whole concept mixed up. Slavery was part of the civil war but it was not a big part, the main reason for the civil war was state rights, the south got treated unfiarly with taxes and such. While nowadays the goverment wants people to look at it like they were the good guys all along but the truth is they wernt.

June 20, 2011 at 3:27 am
(182) KATHY says:

Our kids are taught that the reason the war was fought was over slavery. The reason people are taught that they war was fought over slavery is because Lincoln wrote the “emancipation proclamation”. He wrote that when he learned that Britain and France was assembling troops in Canada to invade the north to help the south because the south was close to an aristrocracy. I imagine the war would have turned out differently if that had happened. The emancipation proclamation was to free the slaves and that stopped britain and france from invading. BUT check the dates of the emancipation proclamation and the first shot of the civil war at sumpter. The war had started more than a year prior to the proclamation being written. Lincoln was smart. BUT do you know that he wasnt even on the ballots for voters in places like New Orleans. Less than 10% of southerners even owned slaves. And that the north got mad because the south shipped cotton to Europe to get goods made cheaper than the north. The north wanted to tax the south too death….they won…now we have a governement that is too big(which our founding fathers was against according to the constituition) that impose more laws and tax us too death. Its hard to believe that a whole country would have a war over the single right to own slaves especially since most southerners didnt even own slaves and the man that wrote the emancipation proclamation owned slaves as well…which only shows that Abraham Lincoln and US Grant were basically hypocrites.

June 20, 2011 at 6:00 am
(183) Kathy says:

I will go as far to say that slavery wasnt a factor at all in the war until Lincoln made it one…more than a year after the first shot was fired at Ft Sumpter. The north was trying to cripple the south because the south did not want a big government and was passing tarriffs to protect the northern benefits. England paid more for the cotton that the north didnt want to pay for. Read the history as written by England and France about the civil war. They have NOTHING to lose by telling the truth. They were ready to join the war to help the south. UNTIL the emancipation proclamation was written….trying to make it all about slavery. If the north tells it…its detrimental to the south….if the south tells it….its detrimental to the north and excuses are made on each side to make it mean something its not. So read what Europe wrote in the history books…they have NOTHING to lose by telling the truth…except for the fact they may fail to be politically correct. I know my son was taught the only reason was over slavery…I argued with his teacher over this…and she told me that I was sympathetic with the south…but she couldnt deny that the dates and other things I mentioned to be causes and why it took so long to get the slavery thing written into it. Just for the record….colored men werent allowed to vote until 1870, women however….we had to wait longer to have that right afforded to us. Color had no bearing on us.

June 22, 2011 at 12:35 am
(184) Derek says:

All this guys reasons relate back to slavery. We all know that. What he fails to mention is that the civil war began in 1861 and slavery was not abolished until 1863. Why? Because the South was beating the norths A** and old honest Abe needed aid from other countries who were against slavery. Now that the U.S. was against slavery foreign countries came to the rescue and now Abe is the hero for ending slavery. Reason for civil war? Lincoln’s abolishment of common law!!!! Greatest president? how about worst! Do your homework people

July 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm
(185) sariah says:

i have to say that yes it was slavery, but it was also money the basis for slavery was cheep labor. and the south had just become lazy, yes the north had them to but the south had the most so it was slaves and money reasons that started the war. it could’ve been that the south hated Lincoln so much that was another reason. :)

July 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm
(186) Amos Peachey says:

Wake up Americans The war was not over slavery By the way I have good news the original Republic has been restored that was vacated around the beginning of the civil war check it out at Republicfortheunitedstates .org get yourself educated Become a member and enjoy freedom once again

July 15, 2011 at 10:36 pm
(187) joe says:

It was all about money. The south had all the money from sale to England ,and the north was mad cause they weren’t getin no money.

July 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm
(188) Sam says:

@Mark (224)

Wow! Really? Your broad descriptions of Southerners, “as a people,” are (at best) ignorant ramblings and grossly distorted representations.

“The fact is I have observed southern people for about 25 years now and I can tell you that as a people they are a morally deficit lot.”

What, exactly, are you basing this assumption on? How, pray tell, are Southerners any more morally deficient than any other geographical region in the United States? Have you watched the national news or read a national newspaper in the past 25 years?

“These southern rednecks will turn on each other at the drop of a hat and loyalty is something that is only present as long as it is to thier benifit…What is one of the most distressing things to be observed about these people is thier work habits. The primary means of advancement is not by good hard work or education but rather by social networking or by favoratism or nepotism.”

By definition, redneck refers to white members of the Southern rural LABORING class (i.e.: That labors; performing labor; esp., performing coarse, heavy WORK). While I do not profess to know who it is that may have betrayed their loyalty to you, I find it completely absurd that you would suggest that this defines all people from the South. Furthermore, before one alludes to another’s lack of education, it is beneficial to ensure that the commenter actually has and practices basic spelling skills; at the very least.

July 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm
(189) Sam says:

@Mark (224) – Continuation

“The sad fact is that the only way the southern states improve is by a continual influx of northern workers and society.”

I am certainly glad that you brought this to my attention. As someone from the South, I never would have known this (had not someone from the superior North informed me). Get over yourself! Why, may I ask, did your family move to the South in the first place. If this region of the United States is so incapable, uneducated, morally depleted, and derelict of its duties and obligations, why on earth would your family move here? Moreover, why are you STILL here? If this is truly how you see things, why would you not move back to the region of the U.S. that you deem superior/better?

“It is amazing to see the amount of ignorance that resides here in the south.”

What is actually amazing to see, is the level of YOUR ignorance.

July 24, 2011 at 10:33 am
(190) Don says:

I’m no expert, and I abhor the thought of slavery (which still exists in this world of ours).

the one thing I have always been disappointed in how American youth are taught that Abraham Lincoln was this great Abolitionist who only thought of freeing the slaves, and that is why he fought the Civil War, when the Truth is Lincoln may have wished to free the slaves, but if he could have avoided the civil war by keeping slavery in the south he would have, and honestly He really did not end slavery the 13th amendment to the constitution did, had the emancipation proclamation been challenged in court it would have be deemed “Invalid as he did not truly have the authority to issue such a proclamation”

Anyway as with the rest, just another opinion

August 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm
(191) Dlanor says:

Darrell wood is right. Everyone can try to glorify the southern cause by gradually re-writhing history by putting slavery on the back burner, but everything in this top 5 list can be rooted in the North and souths differences over slavery since even before the U.S was officially established. Of course if two regions ,already hostile to each other, are going to find some smaller reasons to dislike each other. But you dont take those little exceptions and make it the rule.

September 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm
(192) cherelle says:

i think its to preserve the union

September 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm
(193) Robot Monster says:

The South should have been asking themselves “What happens when lighting strikes a toad?” But they didn’t. No, the South was all “Game on!” Then the Union armies showed up to burn their barn and wreck their railroads and confiscate their slaves and the South was like “No way!” and “Son of a bitch!”

September 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm
(194) Maliesa says:

The civil war started because people wanted land, oil, money, and people fought for slavery to end and not to end.

September 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm
(195) Bonnie says:

You should include the facts about counterfit moneys at this point in time and how a unification of one money/currency would abolish any other form of currency; this combined with freeing of slaves abolished every amount of what the south saw as thier wealth.

September 28, 2011 at 10:16 am
(196) joe says:

there is nothing civil about this war, it should be called lincolns war because he is the main cause of it, and where do the yankees get off trying to tell the south how they can live their life. The way i see it, the union was a bunch of fascist dictators who have their heads shoved so far up their asses they cant see that their way of life is not so different from ours. Another point i would like to make is that black people of america shouldn’t be mad because someone has the stars and bars flyin high and proud, they should be mad that their own people traded them to us for nothing more than a few guns.

October 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm
(197) Bob Carlson says:

The Civil War was caused by northern control of shipping. Cotton had to be shipped to Europe from northern ports, and the shippers took half of the profits. If Lincoln told South Carolina that they could ship their cotton from their ports, there would not have been a Civil War; but he would have been assinated much sooner.

October 4, 2011 at 7:25 am
(198) Dirty Bird 357 says:

Did freeing the Slaves help the Negro race? Not at all,It would have been better for us to be reintegrated back to africa, as some were able to do and formed a country called liberia. look at all the crime, look at all our tax $$$ going to take care of the Sons of former Slaves whom are in prison. Look at the Laziness of the negro race, yet there are some who have chosen to work and earn, while a huge majority choose crime to make easy money, drugs and violence. It is really such a sad thing. How come know one speaks of the free negro men whom faught for the South, yes it happened people!..read some of the comments placed on here from the youth. I feel bad for the family members who worked hard to provide them a better life. I am ashamed of what the negro race has become. Looking for a hand out, living off welfare because the are lazy, having babies to get more welfare..as an educated blackman i must say, some are still slaves, slaves to the system!

October 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm
(199) Dave C says:

I disagree with Darell
The northern manufacturing machine was disgruntled about the cost of cotton they bought for their ‘northern’ textile mills, that’s one reason.
Another reason was slavery, however remember Lincoln wanted them all shipped back to their lands of origin before Booth shot him.
Massachusetts was more responsible for instituting and maintaining slavery than the South (research this).
This was a group of sovereign states who freely joined the union in the interests of mutual trade and protection against foreign aggression.
If it is freely joined why should it not be freely left?
To say the civil war was fought over slavery is more than an over simplification its misleading propaganda.
So was Lincoln a great President?
Only if you are a Marxist Socialist or have Fascist leanings.
Remember Mr. Lincolns war cost 646,392 Union dead and wounded and 260,000 Southern losses Mr.Lincoln also rolled over the south with Federal Soldiers which is strictly forbidden by the United States Constitution and financed illegal activities and regimes in the banana republics.
No Darell Mr. Lincoln did not “save the Union” he destroyed States Rights and trampled upon the Constitution and Bill of Rights to do so.
Mr.Lincoln is right up there with the ranks of worst Presidents such as Clinton, G.W. Bush, Johnson, Truman and the worst of all Wilson, who brought you the Fed and apologized on his death bed for it.

October 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm
(200) Deobrah Shirley says:

I agree so many people are okay with just taking the civil war at face value. The big reason Abraham Lincoln used was because without the souths money they could not create a Federal Bank system. Further more he was quoted saying that if he could end the war without ending slavery he would.
He also had several meetings with the leaders of the south trying to avoid war and the end of something that was already dying out. Slavery was far from the driving point its just what is easiest to focouse on.

November 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm
(201) William Howson says:

I apologize for not reading all the comments on this thread, but I did notice that someone had stated Lincoln owned slaves.

This is so far from the truth that I almost feel that it doesn’t need to be shot down. Lincoln never owned slaves, and desired that all men everywhere should be free. (his own words)

In fact, Lincoln was never a resident of a slave state long enough to own slaves.

December 5, 2011 at 8:50 am
(202) Adam Reece says:

I’m glad to see some people know what their talking about, but sad to see the majority think this war was just simple. War is never simple and usually in tales a old rich guy tricking the young and impressionable into killing each other over money and/or power.

WIlliam Howson I mean this in the most offensive way possible, your a idiot.

Lincoln didn’t directly own slaves but married Mary Todd who’s family owned slaves. Lincoln was also quoted in a letter to have said:

“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

December 5, 2011 at 8:53 am
(203) Adam Reece says:

Also Lincoln lived in Kentucky for the 1st sever years of his life and where he met his wife. (Kentucky was slave state). To further my point the emancipation proclamation only freed slaves in confederate states, but did nothing for the slaves in union states that allowed slaves (Kentucky was one of those states).
While Lincoln thought slavery would die out, he still thought whites to be superior to blacks.

Lincoln was nothing more that a politician trying to hold together a union, and would have done ANYTHING to save it. This is proved with his action to issue the emancipation proclamation TWO years after the war started. If slavery was indeed the issue for this war it would been issued in 1861. Lincoln hoped to rally people to fight for a “moral” cause as well as use the many freed slaves to fight. When In actuality he couldn’t have cared less. He also pushed the south to throw the 1st punch so he would look better when driving military forces into it. His actions with Fort Sumter proved this. The fort was located in a confederate state (South Carolina), and SC asked the Union to remove it’s forces from the fort he instead ordered them more supplies. When battle broke out only two union soldiers were killed and 9 were wounded, But Lincoln used this a reason for waging war with the slogan “remember Fort Sumter” on recruitment posters.

December 5, 2011 at 8:54 am
(204) Adam Reece says:

The actual reason for the war was indeed for power and money. The south wanted to sale their goods to who ever they pleased, However the merchants from the north were not making a profit and decided to issue taxes on exported goods. This didn’t really effect the north but impacted the south. As such SC legally left from the union. Most of the battles of the civil war had been fought on confederate land. Which goes to show that the people of south weren’t trying to fight a war rather defend what they thought was their right to be independent from the union. On the same note as Lincoln had stated in his debates with Douglass slavery was going to die out as it had in European nations. Which is also why the cotton gin is so very important as it pretty much obsoleted slaves and was going to quicken the death of slavery.

To sum it up Lincoln fooled a bunch of people into fighting a war to preserve the union, and didn’t care much about what would have happened to slaves.

December 13, 2011 at 8:33 pm
(205) Hanky says:

No Matter how you slice it, slavery was the underlying reason for the American Civil War. You cannot escape it. The laws of the south including black codes dealt with slaves. Representation for the south by way of the 3/5 clause revolved around using 3 slaves per five people to gain representation. The southern economy revolved around slavery and their states rights’ beliefs directly were linked to owning and having slaves. The culture of the south revolved around slavery and as such involved almost everything. Their patiarchal culture involved slavery and mastery over everything.

States rights involved slavery, Nullification Crisis indirectly involved slavery, ect. Historians generally agree that slavery front and center was the issue.

And by the way, read your history books people. Abraham Lincoln did not and never did own slaves at any time. Fact

December 16, 2011 at 11:48 am
(206) Jonathan says:

“The southern economy revolved around slavery and their states rights’ beliefs directly were linked to owning and having slaves.”

That’s not exactly true since slavery was only needed to pick cotton. King Cotton was what the South’s economy relied on. Their states rights’ belief was more directly related to protecting their way of life. Most white Southerners did not own slaves; they probably only supported slavery was that they wouldn’t be on the bottom of the social class. The larger cause was that they wanted to protect their way of life, drastically different from the North. Thus, the South seceded due to sectionalism which encompasses economic, social, and political reasons which includes both state’s rights and slavery.

December 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm
(207) sethblink says:

First you say that slavery was just one of many causes of the civil war. Then you list the five most important causes and slavery is at the center of every one.

1) The cotton gin… we’ve seen countless inventions that have changed our lives, but only this one caused a war. Why? Because the cotton gin made the continuance of slavery all the more vital to the economy of the south. Were there no slavery, nobody would have fought a war over the cotton gin.

2) The battle over new states. If there was no slavery in America, or if slavery flourished in every state, there would have been no fight over new states and it would not have led to a war.

3) States rights vs. Federal rule. This argument has been going on since the Declaration of Independence, but it never caused a war. In fact, proponents of both sides have joined together and fought wars against common enemies many times. The only time this argument led to a civil war was when the dispute was over slavery. We have arguments now about states rights on emotional issues like abortion and same-sex marriage but nobody talks about seceding over it. Only slavery pushed the battle of states rights vs. Federal rights into the realm of war.

4) Abolutionists… what were abolutionists trying to abolish?

5) The election of Lincoln. We’ve elected 44 Presidents and this is the only one that led to a Civil War. We had a President elected with fewer votes than his opponent with the final decision handed down by the Supreme Court, but nobody talked secession. So why would the election of Lincoln start a war? Because the South feared he would end slavery.

Saying that slavery didn’t cause the war is like saying a person wasn’t killed by a fall from a high building, but rather by the sudden stop at the end of the fall. The Civil War was caused by a multitude of reasons, all of which traced back to slavery and none of which would have caused a war if slavery were not at the heart of the dispute.

December 27, 2011 at 4:32 pm
(208) RebelMan says:

OK, I get it that Northerners are quick to be very pious about the attitude of slavery, and that Southerners are quick to defend their ancestors because they’re related to them. People you all need to get over yourselves. Go where your research leads you. The war was about all of these things that have been mentioned. Those who say slavery had little/nothing to do with it don’t seem to remember that wars are fought by different people than those who start them. We are sheep to our leaders. True, most southerners did not own slaves. But they were not the people that started the war. High society people did– the planters, the politicians. We forget most of the states rights they wanted to keep were slave rights. Slavery wasn’t all of it, but it certainly is tied to most of it. Absolutely slavery would have ended whether or not a war happened. But the people of the time did not want to let it go–they were reared to think it was ok to look down on others because of their family heritage, whether they were from the North or South, etc. James Chesnut Jr. signed the Ordinance of Secession and on April 9, 1861 boldly stated “there isn’t going to be a war. It’s all been arranged. I will drink all the blood shed in this war from a teacup”. Three days later he brought the ultimatum letter to Ft. Sumter. People let their pride blind their brains and their critical thinking. Don’t be loyal to an idea just because it was your family. You didn’t know them anymore than I did. I am Southern thru and thru, with family in the war, and I know the south started it, got their butts waxed and like anyone else in this world wasn’t to blame for a single thing. Because that’s human nature. It’s always someone else’s fault. The war was as much about resisting the industrial revolution as anything else, just like the old fogies of today resisted computers. All they did was sit around and drink and like most derelicts, cause problems after awhile.

December 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm
(209) Steve says:

Slavery was the main issue. The South maintained it had the right to own slaves the North feared them having that right. Look at the post-Civil War textbooks from the South you will see that there was a concerted effort to mislead people about the causes of the war. the use of propaganda to make the war a far nobler cause than slavery.

December 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm
(210) Bob Shapiro says:

From my research the true cause of the Civil War was caused by the fact that the North wanted to put the financial burdens of paying for the the previous wars Revolutionary war on the south. In a sense the North wanted to south the pay its fair share (sounds rather familar), in other words redistribution of wealth.

December 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm
(211) MJ says:

It was not a ‘civil war’. A civil war is fought when both sides are trying to control the same territory. It was a war of succession. A number of states decided that the agreement they signed was no longer in their best interests and was also no longer keeping with the original intent. They therefore decided to leave.

The north decided that they would not allow for the south to leave. In doing so it broke the constitution (the document it was fighting to keep the south under). The North’s war was a war of aggression if we look at it from the non-aggression principal, or if we realize that people have a right to self-determination.

January 7, 2012 at 6:01 am
(212) Q says:

“The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”

Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens from the ‘cornerstone speech’

January 7, 2012 at 6:11 am
(213) Q says:

During the Civil War, Lincoln clarified his position on the war and slavery. “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not to either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also so that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”

So why did Lincoln need to tell people this, even then? Why did the people of the day even believe it was about slavery? Because WHEN and HOW it happened was because of slavery. Slavery was not only the catalyst of the war but the lifeblood of the Southern economy. The argument that it would have become “obsolete” is a political one, and not supported by any evidence. The cotton gin was supposedly invented to make slavery obsolete – it made it grow exponentially. The industrial revolution had the same effect – people working long hours with few to no breaks or safety precautions and little pay. There are more slaves in the world now than ever. Exploitation ALWAYS pays.

January 13, 2012 at 3:38 am
(214) Willy says:

Save the Union, save the Union, save the Union. That’s all I ever hear. Who benefited from saving the Union? Seems to me, only the elite.

January 15, 2012 at 11:16 am
(215) just me says:

A lot of valid reasons come into play. But in a nutshell, slavery was terminated for economic reasons only and not true moral ones. And only the elite would benefit from it. It was the cotton gin that freed the slaves. A machine that could single handedly do the work of hundreds if not thousands of field hands. It also meant no longer housing, feeding, tolerating or babysitting defiant slaves.This intent was also a supposed opportunity to send the slaves back to africa and make the United States a more “white” society with the exception of native americans. An intent that was never sucessfully carried out. A lot of people carelessly lived and died because hatred and racism was used to boost their self esteem so that the elite could live on and prosper which carries on to this day… This is the kind of stuff you won’t find in your typical grade school book.

January 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm
(216) Rebecca says:

To those of you (darrell) who say that “states’ rights” were never mentioned in the Constitution: In the 10th Amendment (yes, not technically part of the Constitution, but our Constitution would not have been ratified without The Bill of Rights), it clearly states that those powers not expressly given to the Federal government (expressed equals written, not implied) are automatically given to the states. Therefore, states’ rights were a HUGE part of the mentality of the citizenship in the 1850s. Moving along. The Civil War was comprised of a multitude of “reasons,” but the bottom line is that the war would have happened with or without slavery. It was only a matter of time. Slaves were in the North, so it couldn’t be just about that (as horrible as the institution was). It was about political power and western lands.

January 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm
(217) Jefferson says:

Going back to #7, Dow, of this page, Lincoln NEVER owned slaves in his life. He didn’t even like it. And going back to #8, maggie, of this page, the classes and books say that the war was not based on slavery because the American government feels guilty of America taking Africans and forcing them to do work for us.

February 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm
(218) Annie says:

If it is true as I have read that only 7% of southerners owned slaves, would a man leave his farm and family to fight a war for 7% of southern wealthy landowners? Wouldn’t he be more likely to fight for states rights, though, and Robert E. Lee? I would guess that most of the south had tenant farmers, not a rich lot to be running off to battle for a lofty cause.

March 13, 2012 at 7:57 pm
(219) jeffrey mcdaniel says:

If anyone would care to do the RESEARCH,you’d find that a mere 11,000 Southerners(3/4 of 1% of the total Southern population) had 50 or more slaves.A full 3/4 of the entire white Southern population was,as we would call them today.sharecroppers.So please get off the “lazy Southerner” kick. Research your history,although the majority of history books are written by Ivy League Northerners!

March 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm
(220) Johnny Reb says:

My hertiage is Confederate but the reason the civil was was started because the norths taxes was outrages so the south was trying to break apart from the yankees. They were also wanting to get rid of the slaves by putting them back on the ship and shipping back to africa were they would be suffering of starvation the south kept here for work in trade for food but the civil war was gonna happen with or without slavery and also im not racsit i just hate it when blacks think i owe them something from what happened years and years ago

March 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm
(221) Georgia Jenifer says:

I always though it was about slavery because that’s what’s thought in our school. But the answer given gave me time to reconsider things. thanks!

April 13, 2012 at 1:32 am
(222) May says:

I believe all of you are wasting time and energy on an issue that none of you took part of…you were NOT there. We can only go by the information someone left behind, hoping those are the facts. Chill people!!!

April 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm
(223) Scott says:

Every one is right. the cause of the civil war was money and slavery. The states wanted to chose rather to be a slave state or free state, The real cause was money and commerce. The slave trade, not cotton was ninety nine percent of the south’s GDP.

May 13, 2012 at 1:01 am
(224) Curious says:

There have been some really interesting comments on this post. What I come away with is modern history wants to make this about the simplicity of slavery and actual history is far more complex than that. The question is what started the civil war rather than what was the best thing to come from it.

What was the best thing to come from the civil war? The end of slavery, obviously. What started the the civil war? Sorry to say it couldn’t have been slavery. There is too much else going on that is of more importance at the time.

The problem with many historians is they look at history as though people back in the day knew what we know now. History doesn’t work like that because history like many other things is an evolution.

Another problem with history today is “black history” which has so many “black historians” rewriting history to what they want it to be contrary to so much evidence to the contrary. “Black History” is often taken in schools as something that cannot be questioned or else the questioner is a racist.

Racism is a very tricky subject because it sneaks up on people and they often don’t even know it. For example, today in 2012, who hates black people the most? Answer: Other black people. Until 20 to 30 years ago, black americans were not murdering each other at recent rates. In fact, there are more black americans murdered by other black americans since 1976 than the previous 200 years combined of any race killing Black Amerians! Does that in any way excuse slavery? Of course not but if you listen to black historians they will make up a reason as to how white people are making black people kill each other.

Bottom line… History is supposed to be what happened rather than what someone wants to believe because it makes them feel better.

May 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm
(225) Scott says:

Nice try. I studied the civil war in graduate BUSINESS school. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. The south saw there labor being taken. With out (slave) labor, they would be dead in the water. If this happened they would lose there only other money making business; the slave trade. The common factor any way that you sin it is slavery.

May 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm
(226) Beau says:

The Texas Ordinance of Secession clearly states it seceded because of slavery. “In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon the unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color–a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and the negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States.”. It does not get simpler than that.

May 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm
(227) Scott says:

Well fans, Beau has it in legal terms I say that he has won our debate.

May 25, 2012 at 12:39 am
(228) Revolutionist says:

Anyone think this wont happen again…..take a look at the way the Federal Government treats the states now……time for the states to FIGHT back…which they have the right to do under the Constitution…alittle known fact is that Texas can roll out whenever they want to…PERIOD…they fought for there own independence and in exchange for joining the “Union” they made sure they have the right to succeed at anytime….they can even fly there state flag at the same height as the American flag…..Its coming…the states need to get off the federal Boob…and start to govern themselves…..without state money the federal overloards dry up and go away…..butnot without a fight im sure.

May 27, 2012 at 2:16 am
(229) Frank says:

Very simple, the South refused to comply with the federal gov, slavery and the South wanted to govern themselves.

May 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm
(230) bla bla bla says:

…..just a thought for ones not thought of or brought to one’s attention…..

Slaves were slaves before they ever made it here to the Americas. They were enslaved by their own kind too. Also to be strongly noted….almost every nationality has been a slave in America….

Yes that’s right you closed minded _______, not only one race was enslaved. Multiple races were enslaved, so get over your poor history education and get a clue.

Civil War was a horrible situation and should not be used as a crutch for others to prosper.

May 30, 2012 at 11:47 am
(231) bla bla bla supporter says:

Kudos to you bla bla bla!!!!! Love the last sentence. Slavery has been and still is being used as a crutch for others to prosper. The ones whose ancestors were slaves have learned to beat the system. How to not work (talk about who’s lazy now!!!), keep spreading legs and making babies so they can live for free while we have to work. They are taught at a young age to pop out babies and not marry the babies daddy so they can get free food stamps, free education, live for free and not work. Slavery still exists. The tables have been turned and the working class has become the slave to support the lazy non-working class and we all know who they are.

September 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm
(232) Confederate Colbra says:

never listen to the school about the civil war. history is always written by the winners. the north put their version on the cover and shoved the south aside. if you do your research you will see that Lincoln owned slaves. the reason that war started is because lincoln himself said, “i believe {blacks} will never hold an office superior to that of white men” upon that saying lincoln proceeded to deport all blacks back to africa and make this nation a pure white nation. in reality the south was protecting their rights as states which Lincoln violated in order to accolmplish his goals. if booth hadn’t shot lincoln, lincoln would had to continue to work toward his goals. as for the issue of slavery the south actually had less slaves than the north had and southern blacks actually volunteered to protect their rights as southern citizens. so before ya’ll say the civil war was the souths fault look at your history and do your research. the textbooks are not all true.

September 10, 2012 at 1:19 am
(233) Harvard History student says:

Im a freshmen in Harvard University and i understand and agree on those 5 points, to which started the civil war. I am now working on a essay explaining which events took place before the civil war to lead on to the civil war. The Battle of Fort Sumter and the election of Abraham lincoln are the 2 major reasons but can anybody give me more facts about it.

November 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm
(234) OtherSide says:

There was no civil war! I don’t see why you jerks don’t understand! The south seceded. They were now a different country. It was a war against two different countries.
Slavery was not an issue! It was used as an excuse.

Very simply, there were some leading big time politicians down south who wanted to run a different country. They schemed with others of their own ilk to assemble a number of other big timers to help promote their ideals. In time they all got things to snowball and the results were as usual when somebody does a false flag operation.

The politicians in the North saw advantage to capitalize on fighting a war and after discussing the possibilities with various bankers, you know, the ones who finance both sides of the war? Well, the war was on. Details regarding who did what to whom are not important. The only thing that matters was that now you had two different countries at war and the people who did the fighting and dying were the idiots on both sides who believed the propaganda.

War time profits were very good$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

I could go on but I’m afraid somebody will disagree..

November 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm
(235) Joseph in Baltimore says:

I think people need to read more about nullification and secession.

Nullification can not be used by the states to “nullify” federal law. In other words the states can not pass a law to circumvent federal law.
States do not have the right to decide what federal law is constitutional. The judicial branch or supreme court makes that determination, not the states as written in the constitution.

When the States ratified the constitution they in turn agree to the laws and due process that applies to the “union”. The Union being ALL the PEOPLE and not just people in individual states.

Example; Pennslyvania passed a law that fugitive slaves could not be sent anywhere outside of Pennslyvania. This would have “nullified” the fugitive slave act to return slaves to their former owners. That law was struck down.

There is an argument on some sites that states have a right to sesession.

They quote the tenth amendment;

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

So in all depends on when and how the individual states ratified the United States constitution.

EVERY state ratified the consititution with no amendments with the exception of Virginia and New York. Even with those amendments, the states gave away power to consitute a “Union”.

For sesession, you must go to court for the judicial branch to make a determination.

As for Texas, the supreme court already ruled that Texas does not have the right for session. See Texas vs. White.

at that time, would greatly diminish the power of the southern aristocrats and politicians.

The very people that was seen as inferior would have a voice and possibility that federal law would make them equal.Now as far the original post of the cause of the Civil War. I believe the main cause was due to slavery. From States Rights to Taxes it all revolved around slavery.

November 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm
(236) Joseph in Baltimore says:


Everyone would agree that with the invention of the cotton gin, slavery was doomed.

Along with the expansion of the west, the possibility of slaves becoming freed and counted as a whole person to vote like other free black people at that time, would greatly diminish any power that the southern aristocrats and politicians had.

Not to mention that FEDERAL LAWS could eventually make black people EQUAL.

November 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm
(237) OtherSide says:

Hello Joe
Somebody else said;
“Many conservatives and Libertarians argue that secession is allowed under the U.S. Constitution’s Tenth Amendment. That’s the amendment that reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Because secession is not mentioned in the Constitution as a congressional power, supporters argue that means it remains in the sole authority of individual states.

In other words, the United States is a voluntary association that can be dissolved at any time by one of the parties to the agreement.”

November 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm
(238) Joseph from Baltimore says:

Hello otherside,

I could agree that what is not mention in the constitution could be perceived as something that the “states” could change on it’s own.


The tenth amendment’s final written words were


People could only mean the “people” in all of the union or it would say the People in each individual state.

When the “state” or the “people” disagree then technically there couldn’t be a change by either party.

December 5, 2012 at 6:04 pm
(239) J Harris says:

Here in N.C. some of the biggest slave owners were black. There were also several all black units that fought for the south. Lincoln freeded the slaves only in the states in open rebellion not the ones in Md, or Ky. or other states that had slaves in them. It was a politcal move to keep England from declaring the the CSA a nation, It was a move tp play on the morals of fighting to free the slaves. He said he would do anything to preserve the Union.

December 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm
(240) JoAnna says:

In America is seems like anything that brings some sort of significance to African American people by law people to have minimize it! The Civil war wasn’t about slavery?! HUH? So you all mean to tell me slaves (P.O.W) were volunteering to fight because they cared about states’ rights or economic growth of the South?!

History has always repeated itself and it shows that regardless of the FACTS people are going to alter history for their comfort. It’s insane that people believe the only black ppl in American or the first black people who came to America were “slaves”. It’s insane that in school it’s required to teach almost all other cultures history except black people’s. The first time I saw a black person in a history book in school was as a slave!

So everyone make yourself feel more comfortable thinking that the Civil war had little to do w/ slavery, that Abraham owned slaves, black people wouldn’t be in america if not for slavery, blacks didn’t contribute to world civilization, blacks were wild & uncivilized until white folk came along, there were no Moors, there were no black Seminoles, Mansa Musa is fictional, blacks never fought back while they were held against their will for years…& I could continue this list forever and a day.

Thank God for good old white folk because w/ them black people would be lost! I challenge everyone who thinks like Bob ” If slavery was THAT big an issue,” to research more and get the real truth.

January 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm
(241) James says:

I cannot believe some of the comments that are in this blog.
It appears to me many of you are just writing down what you have read from books on the carnage

If you research all aspects of this time -wasting feud using your common sense by putting yourself in the powers that be position. Say to yourself would I really doing things in the way that they pursued the situation.

The whole atrocity deprived thousand of men and families for what

Follow the money

Trouble is America is now doing the same to other nations no doubt under the same Flag As Lincoln, Grant and Lee etc etc

Gods work as they all declared God was on their side.

So as the people of that time were ill educated the leaders were only slightly better educated but that gave them the upper hand re all their so called wonderful speeches that encouraged a blind allegiance on both sides.

I reiterate it is a sad expedition you are all still on.

The Killing must stop. NOW

January 10, 2013 at 10:01 am
(242) Jack Russell says:

Slavery was a touch point and something easily packaged and understood. The US Civil War was a fight between an ideologue bully, the industrialized North, and an agrarian, less densely populated South. The North, with its greater, more dense population, had significantly more seats in Congress. This advantage gave the North the power and ability to bowl over the South. The North’s infractions extended beyond Washington into each [Southern] state. The same situation exists today. You see, I live in “The North” (Boston). I am from the North. I have no alliance with the South, but I can plainly see today the pompous liberalism of the North unapologetically interfering with the rights of both states and individuals, especially in the South. The US Civil War was about individual rights; everyone’s rights, not just the slaves. Don’t let history repeat itself.

January 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm
(243) CJ says:

THIS IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW. Very well said Heidi.

“(178) Heidi says: :
Tom nailed it (56): “People go to war when their way of life, their place in the world is threatened. When their economy is about to be turned upside down…. Fear of poverty. Fear of revenge. That’s what starts wars.”

What gives me chills as I read these arguments back and forth (on both sides) is that I fear we are heading for another civil war right now because we are still missing this truth. People on the right and the left right now are so polarized and I’ve heard many people openly state that “revolution is coming.”

Why? We could cite all kinds of reasons like urban vs. rural, state’s rights (still!), racism, big vs. small government – but the real reason is still that people feel their way of life is being threatened, and politicians and pundits on both sides feed and exploit this fear for their own benefit. Until we learn to listen to each other and stop spouting our beliefs as ultimate truths, I fear we are doomed to repeat history.”

January 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm
(244) Jamie says:

The war was about freedom from tyrannical federal government.

January 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm
(245) Curious says:

Political voter fraud: Lincoln was not on all ballots.

[Imagine an election worse than Florida's chad scam with Bush.]

“The election of 1860 was one of the most unusual in American history. In a four-way race brought on by a split in the Democratic Party, Abraham Lincoln’s name did not even appear on the ballot in most Southern states.”


March 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm
(246) Felix Tung says:

I do not see slavery as a direct cause of the American Civil War. Yes, there were many discrepancies from both the Southern and Northern United States at this time. War was attributed from bad politics of the Union. The slaves in the South were then brought into the mixing bowl in order to make a better cause for the North for its agenda.

April 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm
(247) Victoria says:

One of the main causes of the Civil war was the fact that the North and South had different opinions on the way the economy was supposed to be. The south was more focused on growing cotton, picking it and harvesting it. The north was more based on city life; they wanted to ‘grow’ while the south was more worried about slavery to harvest/pick their cotton. Slavery was another big reason as too why the Civil war was started, the states started to fight over which new states would be slavery states and which states wouldn’t be slavery states. Many people wanted to put slavery too an end (Abraham Lincoln) but many people like slave owners did want to keep slaves, so they could do their hard labor and be a “slave”.
Even though there was fighting over having slaves and not having slaves, many people voted for Abraham Lincoln to become president. There was not one specific reason as too why the Civil war happened but Lincoln being elected was one of the cause, many people opposed Lincoln being president because he was anti-slavery and was more in favor of what the North wanted than what EVERYONE wanted as a whole.

May 29, 2013 at 2:03 am
(248) Right Answer says:

Slavery did have a role in the Civil War, but it wasn’t the whole story. First of all, Lincoln did own slaves. Second, he didn’t want to abolish slavery; he just didnt want it to spread. Lincoln believed the Union would only succeed from taxes, so they decided to tax the cotton being produced in the south. This made the south extremely poor. Since the Constitution granted them rights to secede under those conditions, the south separated from the Union. Lincoln knew the Confederacy would go to war over the taxes, and that the British would help them, since they were allies during the Revolutionary War. Since he knew he was going to lose if Britain joined in, he decided to make a fake reason for why the south wanted war. He came up with the idea that the Confederacy was fighting for slavery. Of course, slavery was a role in the war, but not the main one. His reasoning worked, and the British never helped. In the history books, it was the north that attacked the south during the Civil War. This would lead to America killing itself, losing over 100,000 men for 5 years. I dont have the sources in hand, just try to look it up or respond to this with your opinions.

July 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm
(249) rick lemay says:

Disregard everything you have read and refer back to #10 Danielle for the correct explanation.

July 20, 2013 at 12:30 am
(250) pop says:

civil war started because north needed south to free slaves because they needed more workers for capitalism………south said no we don’t have factories like you guys and matter of fact we don’t even belong where going to part ways and start our own colony…north said no………it wasnt about freeing negros……like now and then they care less about blacks!

August 22, 2013 at 10:52 am
(251) Greg says:

Read through most of the posts but not all. I moved to the South 5 years ago from Illinois and I couldn’t be happier! Southerners are more considerate, honest, religious, and so on. On the matter of the cause of the Civil War…I ask why. Why the millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of souls? To what end? To keep a country intact? Was Sherman’s march to the sea war or was it butchery and theivery? If the yankees would have left well enough alone, today, the Northern United States would have a strong ally in the Confederate states and we, (the South), would be a more free country than them. And those millions of dollars, thousands of lives, and a whole bunch of Southern history would still be intact.

September 27, 2013 at 2:53 am
(252) d b cooper says:

In response to …scholar
Incase (In case) people had not realized this, (.) the (The) north is taught correctly that the primary cause of the civil war is, (no comma required) indeed, (no comma required) slavery; (.) While the south is taught that the primary cause of the civil war is states ( state’s) rights. No matter what point of view a scholar takes, there is unmistakable evidence that states (state’s) rights is (are) a cover up the south invented,(.) simply ( Simply) meaning that they wanted slavery ( comma required but not provided) and did not want that taken away. Simply stating this placed them in bad light, however, and thus they used states (state’s) rights as a cover. The ONLY states (state’s) right the south was worried about was the freedom to own enslaved people at the states will.
Rather hilarious fact: I see more southern hate than northern hate in the comments here, and while those southerners claim to be just as intelligent as the northerners commenting here, (.)their grammar is incorrect, (.) they generally cannot spell, (.) their sentence structure is poor, and they have little idea what they are talking about. Not to say the north isn’t full of idiots as well, (.) the south is simply pathetically (comma required not provided) poorly ‘edumacated’ (pronounced edge-oo-mugh-cate-ed) (period required not provided)

I will say this to you. If this is what you call correct sentence structure, and grammar then I am glad I was not “edumacated” in the northern school you went to.

September 27, 2013 at 3:09 am
(253) d b cooper says:

To clarify. I copy/pasted scholar’s comment, and made the necessary corrections in parenthesis. I doubt he will ever see it, but some will. They shall see him for the hypocrite that he is.

December 21, 2013 at 10:58 am
(254) Rory says:

First off, to Dow and Maggie, there is zero evidence that Lincoln or Grant ever owned slaves. I hope whichever of your teacher taught you that are no longer in the education field.

How many of you have ever heard the term “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight”? If the southern elite had to have actually paid their field workers they would have been small business owners by today’s standards and not the movers and shakers of Southern and even national politics they really were . The aristocracy accumulated it’s wealth and power because of free labor and weren’t about to give it up. They then, over a period of time, conned the rest of the South’s population into believing they were being threatened by the Federal Government when in reality it was only the aristocracy that was threatened. They pushed the idea of states rights as a rallying point but it was just another form of nationalism. If you read any of the letters and papers that were written at the time by ordinary citizens, you saw a lot of feelings of “duty”. Again a form of nationalism. Probably about 95% of the south’s population didn’t care one way or the other about slaves or slave owners. The owners beat it into their heads that it was all about state’s rights when it was really all about operating their plantations as cheaply as possible for maximum profits.

In the North we had industrialist who saw war as a way to increase their wealth and power. Many of the Robber Barons and others of the Gilded Age got their start by supplying the Federal government with war materials and services. Put the two together and the war was probably inevitable as many wars are because a handful of people are hell bent on preserving their lifestyle.

February 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm
(255) yashmeet bedi says:

Perhaps those who attribute “fight against slavery” as the cause of the Civil War are not as “simplistic” as indicated. A relationship is indicated in all 5 causes, so obviously they are not separate from slavery. It does seem central. Free labor in the North slave labor in the South. Major reason for nullification: maintain slavery. Conflict over western lands: slavery. Major reason South seceeded: slavery. Reason Lincoln could not maintain union of states: slavery. Production of cotton demanded: slavery. It is more simplistic that so many in the South maintain that it was a fight over state’s rights as indeed it was: a fight by the South to maintain slavery.

February 11, 2014 at 6:47 pm
(256) Haley says:

It was fought over whether States had power over the federal government. However this question was raised by the issue of slavery expanding into the west. When southerners realized that the north’s population would keep them from winning any sort of election or passing any bills, they decided then to secede because they knew the end of slavery was soon coming. They viewed the North’s political suppression equal to that of Britain before the American Revolution and viewed their succession equivalent to the Declaration.
No matter how you look at it or interpret events they all centered around slavery in one way of another.

February 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm
(257) Mark DC says:

Southern leaders bragged out the *** as the time, secession and the Civil War were about the spread of slavery for GOD and white superiority over the inferior race.

Davis said it. Stephens said it. Southern documents said so, Southern books, headlines, and newspapers. Davis boasted about loudly and proudly.

Not kinda, not sorta, not in a way, not if you want to look at it that way. Bluntly. Only when they lost — they and their children, grandchildren, pushed the narrative of states rights.

In fact, Southern leaders repudiated states rights around 1857, for slavery. States had no right, according to Davis, to reject the spread of slavery,. Kansas voted three times to reject slavery — once by a stunning 98% vote!!! But Davis specifically said the resistance to the spread of slavery — INTO KANSAS — was the “intolerable grievance.

Let me repeat that, because no one told you this. Davis was bragging of it. Vice President Stepens bragged about it, in a series if eight very detailed speeches, to cheering crowds! Do you think Davis and Stephens, their own president and vp, had any clue what the issue was? REmember, they BOASTED of it.

Stephens insisted blacks were being punished by God, by slavery, and it was not up to man to question God. Over and over he said this. Did I meantion over and over? He said this cheering crowds, at the time.

Davis said Lincoln’s resistance to the Dred Scott decision caused secession. Dred Scott decision officially directed that blacks were “so inferior” they were not human — not persons — for purposes of law, but property. Did you know that?

Eleven times in the Dred Scott decision, blacks were called “inferior beings” or “so inferior” that they could NOT be considered humans, or persons, for the law. Did you know that?

Slavery — of the five ultimatums by the Confederate leaders in May of 1861, how many were about the spread of slavery? Any clue? All. Five.

March 19, 2014 at 4:15 pm
(258) Jase Kyle says:

It was about slavery, state rights, and the industrial revolution

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