What Caused The Civil War?

Why did the South secede from the Union?

  • Slavery

  • State's Rights

  • None Above


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#21
I agree with Professor Ed Ayers. In an essay he wrote called "What Caused the Civil War?" he said if we want to use a one-word response, then slavery is the best to use; however, when we use that word we need to understand it is a shorthand for all the various facets of the issue.

So when I say it's about slavery, understand that behind that one word I'm including a lot of other things, but they all have to do with slavery in some way.

Here's what he says: "What caused the Civil War? If you have to offer a one-word answer, go ahead and just say slavery. But you should know what you mean by that answer. The Civil War did not come from the sheer intolerable existence of slavery in a nation built on the ideals of freedom, or from the past and the future caught in a death struggle, or from a familiar sequence of political events that crashed into one another in a chain reaction like so many billiard balls. Rather, you mean slavery as the key catalytic agent in a volatile new mix of democratic politics and accelerated communication, a process chemical in its complexity and subtlety. You mean, in short, history, the living connection among fundamental structures, unfolding processes, and unpredictable events."

Here's a link to Professor Ayers' essay:
http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/ows/seminars/civilwarrecon/cwcause/Ayers What Caused the CW.pdf
 

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#23
Really, smart was starting a war that killed 600,000? It's not like they hadn't sat down and compromised before. What was so different this time?
The answer to that is:

1. The Annexation of Texas and the Mexican Cession added huge new land areas to the US, making all the previous compromises over slavery, already strained by previous expansions, inadequate or invalid.

2. The free states steadily had increased more rapidly in population than the slave states since the country was founded (when VA had both the largest slave and free populations). This fact and other related issues rendered the Three Fifths clause of the Constitution inadequate for slaveholding interests to maintain their control over national politics.

3. The North had reinvested its indirect profits from southern slave labor in diverse new industries requiring new national infrastructure investments, public education, and an expanded, politically active and empowered middle class to sustain, while the South remained an agrarian slave labor economy dominated by a reactionary planter elite that was fundamentally opposed to all these developments.

4. Europe had turned against slavery (though it too continued to profit from slavery abroad).

5. A long series of affronts to white democratic norms, resulting in part from earlier compromises, had generated intense northern resentment toward slaveholding interests, even among those who were not "abolitionists." This and other issues finally and irrevocably split the national Democratic Party, formerly the guardian of slaveholding interests, along regional lines.
 
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chucksr

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#24
Let's see--"states' rights" existed before and after the American Civil war. "none of the above" existed before and after the American Civil war. "Slavery" existe............!!!!
Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy, etc., etc., ....
 

uaskme

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#27
Let's not cloud the issue with this, that, perhaps this, maybe that.

Instead, let's go with what the secessionists said themselves.

Slavery would not be secure under Lincoln.

Slavery caused secession and brought on the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil.
I think most Southerners thought Slavery was more secure under Lincoln than under War. It was deeper than that. Lincoln and most Republicans vowed to protect Slavery, even proposing the other 13A
 

uaskme

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#29
The southerners of the time disagree.
Don’t think so. Lower South Planters and Others who started secession did so because of Slavery. Davis and others vowed to no compromise other than Independence. Upper South didn’t seceded until after Sumpter. Border Slave States didn’t secede. Far more Southern Whites in the Border and Upper South than the Lower South.

All of the Yankee Myth Arguments are reflective of the Lower South Planters. Like saying all Yankees ate Lobster.
 

unionblue

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#30
I think most Southerners thought Slavery was more secure under Lincoln than under War.

You're entitled by your opinion, but from what I have read, this was not the general feeling among slaveholders nor among the majority in the slaveholding states.

It was deeper than that.

No, it wasn't, hence the secession ordinances proclaiming loudly and repeatedly that slavery was the reason for secession.

Lincoln and most Republicans vowed to protect Slavery,

Where it already existed. And the leaders of the rebellion couldn't even go with that proposal, wanting to expand slavery into the federal territories and even into the Free States.

even proposing the other 13A
Who proposed the "other 13th Amendment?"

And did the exercise content the slaveholding South from seceding? Don't think so.

Unionblue
 

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#31
Don’t think so.
I suggest reading the Declarations of Causes and the speeches and writings of the secession commissioners. They certainly believed slavery was safer with a war than under Lincoln.

Upper South didn’t seceded until after Sumpter. Border Slave States didn’t secede. Far more Southern Whites in the Border and Upper South than the Lower South.
Protection of slavery was the most important factor in Upper South secession.

All of the Yankee Myth Arguments are reflective of the Lower South Planters. Like saying all Yankees ate Lobster.
The biggest myths are the fake history claims pushed by those who deny the centrality of slavery to all the secessions.
 

Potomac Pride

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#36
In July 1861, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution (i.e. Crittenden Resolution) to explain why the federal government was fighting the war. The first part of the resolution stated that the war had been forced upon the country by the southern secessionists who were in revolt and had taken up arms against the federal government. Therefore, the insurrection (revolt) of the southern states against the federal government was the direct cause of the Civil War.
 
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#37
As noted elsewhere, the federal government created by the Constitution was weak. The various branches of government could and did take opposing stances on fundamental issues. The legislative body was deliberately loaded in favor of inaction by creating a bi-camera system.
The Jacksonian Democrats blocked the federalist impulse to create a national currency and national banking system.
The governments of the key states, especially New York and Virginia were nearly as competent as the federal government.
Under these circumstances it was easy for the secessionists to assert that the United States was an arbitrary experiment which had failed them, and that making a new nation based on their principles was a good policy.
They had a good reason to expect to succeed with secession.
The Republicans had to create a national financial system as well as a huge federal military structure. Their ability to do so is an amazing achievement. They were aided by the principal governors, especially in the Midwestern states.
 
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#38
In July 1861, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution (i.e. Crittenden Resolution) to explain why the federal government was fighting the war. The first part of the resolution stated that the war had been forced upon the country by the southern secessionists who were in revolt and had taken up arms against the federal government. Therefore, the insurrection (revolt) of the southern states against the federal government was the direct cause of the Civil War.
And why did the insurrection occur? Wouldn't it be for the reasons secesssionists plainly articulated in the Ordinances of Secession?
Leftyhunter
 
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#39
In July 1861, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution (i.e. Crittenden Resolution) to explain why the federal government was fighting the war. The first part of the resolution stated that the war had been forced upon the country by the southern secessionists who were in revolt and had taken up arms against the federal government. Therefore, the insurrection (revolt) of the southern states against the federal government was the direct cause of the Civil War.
That's saying, "The war was caused by the war." That explanation is neither informative nor useful. It is a transparent attempt to avoid talking about the reasons for the war.
 

unionblue

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#40
In July 1861, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution (i.e. Crittenden Resolution) to explain why the federal government was fighting the war. The first part of the resolution stated that the war had been forced upon the country by the southern secessionists who were in revolt and had taken up arms against the federal government. Therefore, the insurrection (revolt) of the southern states against the federal government was the direct cause of the Civil War.
You really should stop only telling part of the story.

Southern secessionists who were in revolt and had taken up arms against the federal government did so because they feared slavery would not be secure under Lincoln and a Republican administration.

Slavery led to secession and secession led to the war.

The spark that caused the explosion can not be ruled out, left out, or ignored.
 
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