What Was the Main Cause of the Civil War? (poll)

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What Was the Main Cause of the Civil War?

  • Mainly About States' Rights

    Votes: 31 19.5%
  • Mainly About Slavery

    Votes: 95 59.7%
  • Both Equally

    Votes: 31 19.5%
  • Don't Know

    Votes: 2 1.3%

  • Total voters
    159

wausaubob

Major
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
8,775
Location
Denver, CO
Slavery, by itself, cannot cause the Civil War.
There have to be two different economic systems. There was one system based on paid labor and another based on coerced labor.
The two systems have to be viable. If either system is clearly failing, the parties can just wait for economic collapse of the weaker system
The two systems have to be competing for resources, including land, capital and have some overlap as to markets.
The two systems were very much competing for land and capital and the physical separation of the two systems was declining and there was beginning to be some overlap, especially with respect to coal and iron production.
The differences between the paid labor economy and the coerced labor economy was the necessary pre-condition for the advent of the war, if the potential belligerents could not create a formula for the conversion to one system or the other.
But that was not enough to cause the war.
There had to be a sudden shift in demographic power. The shift had to be so rapid that previously dominant section could believe it was still dominant, in some way, if not in numbers.
That sudden shift occurred in 1850-1860 and the results of the 1860 showed that the decline in political power in South Carolina, Virginia and New York was continuing.
This sudden shift was sufficient to cause the belligerents to abandon politics and resort to armed violence.
 
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jackt62

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,660
Location
New York City
Slavery was the deciding factor in bringing about the CW. The future survival of that wicked institution was a matter of life and death for the southern slave states, and for which no compromise or political solution could ever have resolved. Without its existence, other perceived grievances (states rights, federal control, tariffs, etc.) could have been dealt with in a legislative or political manner.
 
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Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
32
I am not saying that slavery had nothing to do with the cause of the war, but consider this. If you claim that it was solely about slavery, then considering the Corwin Amendment, which was proposed before the war broke out. It was approved and ratified by the House AND the Senate unanimously. It effectively would have protected slavery and ended any Federal attempts to end the institution. Now if this was so, why didn't the South simply decide to remain in Union and ratify the Amendment? It is because the war was not, nor ever was, about slavery.
 
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39th MS. Rebel

Private
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
58
Location
Belden, MS.
I believe a major contributor happened years earlier.
The South Carolina Nullification Crisis.
http://www.carolana.com/SC/1800s/antebellum/nullification_crisis.html
A good read and state's rights issue that impacted South Carolina, with the Tariff of 1828 economically impacting the South more than the North as well as the Force Bill passed by Congress in March 1833.
I would think these issues and others stirred a lot animosity toward the federal government. (Very much an understatement, I reckon.)
Lots of reasons over the years leading up to the Civil War.
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
3,973
Location
Denmark
I believe a major contributor happened years earlier.
The South Carolina Nullification Crisis.
http://www.carolana.com/SC/1800s/antebellum/nullification_crisis.html
A good read and state's rights issue that impacted South Carolina, with the Tariff of 1828 economically impacting the South more than the North as well as the Force Bill passed by Congress in March 1833.
I would think these issues and others stirred a lot animosity toward the federal government. (Very much an understatement, I reckon.)
Lots of reasons over the years leading up to the Civil War.
They had no issue with the federal government, when they used their control of it to override the rights of northern states to ban slavery within their borders.
And if you where correct they should have tried to leave decades before they did.
 
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Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
32
They had no issue with the federal government, when they used their control of it to override the rights of northern states to ban slavery within their borders.
And if you where correct they should have tried to leave decades before they did.
Well, you cannot say that it was easy to "control" the Federal government, as it took the Great Compromiser Henry Clay to relieve some of the pressure. I believe Henry Clay was actually very instrumental in keeping hostilities at bay for some years.
 

39th MS. Rebel

Private
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
58
Location
Belden, MS.
They had no issue with the federal government, when they used their control of it to override the rights of northern states to ban slavery within their borders.
And if you where correct they should have tried to leave decades before they did.
Sir,
Well then, we will have to agree to disagree.
If you do not mind posting your supporting sources we might have an intelligent exchange of ideas.
I am not here to discuss nor defend the morality of slavery, you have the wrong cocklebur for that, although I do not think it is right.
Robert
 
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Burning Billy

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 6, 2016
Messages
951
Slavery.

It is repeatedly named as the primary cause of complaint with the federal government or northern states in the various ordinances of secession, and it was by a far margin the issue that dominated the debates at the secession conventions. The sectional divide over slavery played such an important role in the secession crisis, that without that divide over the issue of slavery, there would not have been a civil war.

The claim that the war was over States' Rights, not slavery, is a form of presentism that ignores the historical record. What states' rights did the Confederates think were under threat? It all comes back to slavery.

The States' Rights argument also ignores the Confederate political leadership were very selective about when they were in favor of it. One of the chief causes of complaint with the northern states, according to the secessionists themselves, was that runaway slaves were being given sanctuary in free states instead of being rounded up and returned to their masters. In other words they were in favor of States' Rights when it benefited slaveholders and firmly against it when it did not. It was all about the interests of the slaveholding class, on whose behalf the civil war would be fought.
 
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unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
30,146
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
There are opinions and then there is history.

Slavery was the one issue that could not be reconciled or compromised on. It was a longtime coming, but feared from the beginning of the United States.

Slavery will be found at the bottom of every issue, every excuse, every other distraction given to hide or shield this issue that could only be settled as the slaveholding South chose: trial-by-combat.
 
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