What Caused The Civil War?

Why did the South secede from the Union?

  • Slavery

  • State's Rights

  • None Above


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StephenColbert27

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#41
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 does not say anything about the underlying reasons of why it occurred or what led to it.
Response to moderation: I fail to see how a reference to the Second World War was a breach of the rules regarding modern politics.
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matthew mckeon

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#45
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
The historical actors at the time did not share this thought. Lincoln and the Republicans represented a threat to the future of slavery. The common assumption was that restricting slavery from the West would lead to slavery's "ultimate extinction." We may disagree with that apprehension, but it was real. Its well supported by the documents of the time.
 
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#48
i blame technology for the most part but...

...it really came down to this.
Technological innovations were only a necessary but not sufficient condition for the establishment and spread of slave agriculture throughout the South. Claiming that Southern slavery was an unavoidable consequence of technological innovation lets humans off the hook. It blames human faults on inanimate objects, as if we are nothing but mindless slaves to our technology. We aren't. Humans are responsible for the technology they create, though its consequences are often unpredictable. There were other essential ingredients needed for the spread of slave agriculture throughout the South. Chief among these were human greed and racism, not just of the slave masters themselves, but of all those eager to use their products and help to make slavery profitable.

Slavery was the necessary and sufficient cause of the Civil War. Without it, all the other ancillary issues and grievances between North and South, had they remained at all, would have been resolved. With it, the war would have come, either with or without any other allegedly unrelated issues.
 
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#49
i blame technology for the most part but...

...it really came down to this.
Technological innovations were only a necessary but not sufficient condition for the establishment and spread of slave agriculture throughout the South. Claiming that Southern slavery was an unavoidable consequence of technological innovation lets humans off the hook.
Geez, guys, I guess I have to explain that it was intended as a bit of tongue-in-check humor (and BJ is my alter ego, Bad John). I am a slow learner when it comes to just accepting that humor on this site is a hard sell. Won't happen again (I promise, again).
 

StephenColbert27

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#50
Geez, guys, I guess I have to explain that it was intended as a bit of tongue-in-check humor (and BJ is my alter ego, Bad John). I am a slow learner when it comes to just accepting that humor on this site is a hard sell. Won't happen again (I promise, again).
Sometimes humour and/or sarcasm doesn't translate well through text, as I myself has learned. It happens.
 

Potomac Pride

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#51
The collapse of the Whig Party and the sectional splitting of the Democratic Party, the deaths of the great compromisers, the sectional hardening of the position on the expansion of slavery, and the slipping of the reins of power from Southern hands all played major roles. By the 1850s, there simply were no more compromises that would prevent a clash.

And to be fair, no one in 1860 believed that the war would cost that many lives and by the time that the scale of the war was realized, it was far too late to stop it.

Ryan
There have been some prominent historians that have also mentioned the structure of the political system as a major cause of the war. Before the war, the political system had always been able to reach a compromise on sectional issues that divided the country. However, the political environment in 1860 resulted in a situation in which compromise did not occur. The division in the Democratic Party made way for the rise of the novice Republican Party which was the first sectional political party. The traditional two party system had failed to reach a compromise in order to avoid war. With the election of Lincoln, the southern states realized their political power was diminishing.
 
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Henry Brown

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#52
Humans are responsible for the technology they create, though its consequences are often unpredictable.
i agree with your entire post . i only meant that without the technology (cotton gin), slavery might not have been necessary or profitable. humans used the technology ...
Chief among these were human greed and racism, not just of the slave masters themselves, but of all those eager to use their products and help to make slavery profitable.
 

Henry Brown

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#53
Geez, guys, I guess I have to explain that it was intended as a bit of tongue-in-check humor (and BJ is my alter ego, Bad John). I am a slow learner when it comes to just accepting that humor on this site is a hard sell. Won't happen again (I promise, again).
sorry , my humor is lost here also but i missed the joke in this case. you might want to change your alter ego though. i would suggest BBJ (Big Bad John) and lose the tongue-in-cheek reference. ba-dump-dump, cymbal crash.
see what i mean ? that probably didn't land.:D
 
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#54
sorry , my humor is lost here also but i missed the joke in this case. you might want to change your alter ego though. i would suggest BBJ (Big Bad John) and lose the tongue-in-cheek reference. ba-dump-dump, cymbal crash.
see what i mean ? that probably didn't land.:D
We will take it under consideration.

Humor is dead (my nod to Nietsche).
 
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#55
Hi again! I was reading this post about historians divided about why the Civil War happened. What do you guys think?
Respectfully, if you want a singular cause or event that triggered the war, it was the south making the decision to fire on Ft. Sumpter. However, thats not enough of an answer. The truth is, there really is no singular "cause" of the war, it multifaceted. It depends on where you lived at the time, what your income level was and what it was predicated on, your understanding of history at the time, your understanding of "country" which greatly affected your "feelings" and understanding of your rights under the constitution. The North's official reason in the beginning was to preserve the Union. It wasnt to abolish slavery, "officially", until the 13th Amendment was passed. There were people in the north and the south that didnt give a hang about the slavery issue, to many it was just preserve the Union and punish the south for their traitorous attack on the country. To many in the south it was to defend their land from the hostile invaders trying to strip them of they're right to exist and self-govern. No sir, there is no simple, singular cause. Its hard for us today to understand how people felt about their state back then, very different than now. Ok, I'm done now....maybe. lol
 

WJC

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#56
Respectfully, if you want a singular cause or event that triggered the war, it was the south making the decision to fire on Ft. Sumpter. However, thats not enough of an answer. The truth is, there really is no singular "cause" of the war, it multifaceted. It depends on where you lived at the time, what your income level was and what it was predicated on, your understanding of history at the time, your understanding of "country" which greatly affected your "feelings" and understanding of your rights under the constitution. The North's official reason in the beginning was to preserve the Union. It wasnt to abolish slavery, "officially", until the 13th Amendment was passed. There were people in the north and the south that didnt give a hang about the slavery issue, to many it was just preserve the Union and punish the south for their traitorous attack on the country. To many in the south it was to defend their land from the hostile invaders trying to strip them of they're right to exist and self-govern. No sir, there is no simple, singular cause. Its hard for us today to understand how people felt about their state back then, very different than now. Ok, I'm done now....maybe. lol
Though it would be wrong to assume that those who remained loyal to the United States favored 'war to free the slaves' that does not eliminate slavery as the cause. Loyal Americans saw the preservation of the Union as paramount.
They believed that the survival of the United States was threatened by a series of illegal acts: seizures of Federal property and the 'secession' of certain states, culminating in the bombardment of Fort Sumter.
Those illegal acts were taken in order to protect the institution of slavery. That is undeniably the single, root cause.
 

Potomac Pride

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#57
Respectfully, if you want a singular cause or event that triggered the war, it was the south making the decision to fire on Ft. Sumpter. However, thats not enough of an answer. The truth is, there really is no singular "cause" of the war, it multifaceted. It depends on where you lived at the time, what your income level was and what it was predicated on, your understanding of history at the time, your understanding of "country" which greatly affected your "feelings" and understanding of your rights under the constitution. The North's official reason in the beginning was to preserve the Union. It wasnt to abolish slavery, "officially", until the 13th Amendment was passed. There were people in the north and the south that didnt give a hang about the slavery issue, to many it was just preserve the Union and punish the south for their traitorous attack on the country. To many in the south it was to defend their land from the hostile invaders trying to strip them of they're right to exist and self-govern. No sir, there is no simple, singular cause. Its hard for us today to understand how people felt about their state back then, very different than now. Ok, I'm done now....maybe. lol
The attack on Ft. Sumter was the main event that caused Lincoln to issue his proclamation calling for troops to put down the insurrection of the southern states. Historically, wars can be complicated events that can have more than one cause. As you mentioned, there was no single cause of the Civil War. While slavery was an important contributing factor, it was not the only reason for the conflict. "The Rise of American Civilization" by Charles & Mary Beard contained the first scholarly detailed economic study of the Civil War. The authors stated in their book that "Since, therefore, the abolition of slavery never appeared in the platform of any great political party,........since the spokesman of the Republicans emphatically declared that his party never intended to interfere with slavery in any shape or form, it seems reasonable to assume that the institution of slavery was not a fundamental issue during the epoch preceding the bombardment of Fort Sumter." South Carolina had declared their independence from the Union and demanded that the fort be abandoned which was the reason for the bombardment.
 

atlantis

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#58
First we should acknowledge it was not a civil war but a rebellion. 2nd you can not take federal property or attack it.
 

WJC

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#59
The attack on Ft. Sumter was the main event that caused Lincoln to issue his proclamation calling for troops to put down the insurrection of the southern states. Historically, wars can be complicated events that can have more than one cause. While slavery was an important contributing factor, it was not the only reason for the conflict. "The Rise of American Civilization" by Charles & Mary Beard contained the first scholarly detailed economic study of the Civil War. The authors stated in their book that "Since, therefore, the abolition of slavery never appeared in the platform of any great political party,........since the spokesman of the Republicans emphatically declared that his party never intended to interfere with slavery in any shape or form, it seems reasonable to assume that the institution of slavery was not a fundamental issue during the epoch preceding the bombardment of Fort Sumter." South Carolina had declared their independence from the Union and demanded that the fort be abandoned which was the reason for the bombardment.
The Beards are mistaken.
List any supposed cause of the conflict. Behind every one is slavery. Slavery was the cause of the regional tension, efforts to safeguard the institution led to secession, secession led to seizures of Federal property ending with the bombardment of Fort Sumter and war.
The leaders of the seceding states were very clear why they wished to secede. Their apologists have spent over 150 years trying to distract from that reason.
 

StephenColbert27

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#60
The attack on Ft. Sumter was the main event that caused Lincoln to issue his proclamation calling for troops to put down the insurrection of the southern states. Historically, wars can be complicated events that can have more than one cause. As you mentioned, there was no single cause of the Civil War. While slavery was an important contributing factor, it was not the only reason for the conflict. "The Rise of American Civilization" by Charles & Mary Beard contained the first scholarly detailed economic study of the Civil War. The authors stated in their book that "Since, therefore, the abolition of slavery never appeared in the platform of any great political party,........since the spokesman of the Republicans emphatically declared that his party never intended to interfere with slavery in any shape or form, it seems reasonable to assume that the institution of slavery was not a fundamental issue during the epoch preceding the bombardment of Fort Sumter." South Carolina had declared their independence from the Union and demanded that the fort be abandoned which was the reason for the bombardment.
A way of thinking overturned and disproven by recent scholarship as well as historical documents, as you well know. If you want me to throw the book at you, I can.
 
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