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Was The Civil War Fought To Abolish Slavery?

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enotes | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted October 9, 2011 at 4:00 PM via web

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Was The Civil War Fought To Abolish Slavery?

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fact-finder | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted October 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM (Answer #1)

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Historians have long debated whether the American Civil War (1860–65) was fought because of a campaign to put an end to the practice of using Africans slaves for forced labor in the Southern states. Also known as the War Between the States, the bloody four-year conflict was fought between states in the North, called the Union, and states in the South, called the Confederacy. For years, American schoolchildren learned that slavery was the only cause of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) served as the U.S. president during the war, and eventually he freed the slaves. In fact, before he took office he had called the United States "a house divided" because there were nineteen free (nonslave) states and fifteen slave states. While slavery definitely was central to the war, many historians have identified additional causes.

By the mid-1800s, important differences had developed between the South and the North. The economy in the South was based on agriculture, while that of the North was based on manufacturing; the ideals of each region reflected these economic realities. Southerners believed their agrarian way of life was dependent on the labor of slaves. Long viewed by many Americans to be a necessary evil, by the early 1800s slavery was being questioned as morally wrong. Northern abolitionists had begun a movement to end slavery in the states. Except for a small antislavery faction, however, these views were not shared in the South.

Besides economic conditions, other reasons contributed to eleven states seceding (withdrawing) from the United States and forming the Confederate States of America, commonly called the Confederacy. For instance, disputes between the federal government and the slave states had seriously limited state power. This policy was called into question by Southerners. Further, the political party system was in disarray in the mid-1850s, causing citizens to distrust elected politicians who would set national policy. Before the 1860 presidential election, Southern leaders had urged the South to secede from the Union if Lincoln won because he had publicly taken a stand against slavery. They perceived him as a serious threat, not only to their economic system but also to their way of life.

Further Information: Abraham Lincoln. [Online] Available http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/glimpse/presidents/html/al16.html, October 25, 2000; Clinton, Catherine, Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Civil War. New York: Scholastic Reference, 1999; Frankel, Noralee. Break Those Chains at Last—African Americans. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995; Hummel, Jeffrey Rogers. Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War. Chicago: Open Court, 1996; Levine, Bruce C. Half Save and Half Free: The Roots of Civil War. New York: Hill and Wang, Noonday Press, 1992; Ray, Delia. A Nation Torn: The Story of How the Civil War Began. New York: Lodestar Books, 1990.

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scroogemcduck | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 3, 2012 at 1:29 AM (Answer #2)

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The Civil War is an emerging topic in modern times. We're finding new evidence (diaries and historical documents) that show the true colors of this war. You'll be quite surprised with the following read:

Note that these are not conspiracy theories. The info is based on actual factual documentation that can be found in museums, libraries and your record hall.. if they're willing to share it.

We're discovering that the South was in the process of abolishing slavery even before the war. Slavery, as a "factor", had nothing to do with the Civil War "EXCEPT" as Northern Propaganda to demonize the South and garner support for the North. (Might as well, since the some southern states were indeed still using slavery.) Imagine if you were in the North at that time, you'd fight against the South too if you thought they supported slavery.

You should be asking "Why the war then?"

You need to understand why the South wasnted to secede from the Union. The Southern States considered themselves as "Independent and Sovereign" entities (Their own countires.) Remember that each state has its own constitution, laws and flag. The North favored a central power, comprised of Government and Corporations, a Federal Government that controlled everything and able to override state laws.

A prime example of this in modern times would be legally growing marijuana in your own back yard in California, but having it confiscated by the Federal Government because it does not abide by federal law.

States that joined the Confederacy or "The Effort" were for independance and state rights, ultimately to keep each state sovereign on their own and not controlled by a central power. Because some of the states DID participate in slave trade, historians like to botch the two (Confederates and Slavery) together. It's a sad truth that you won't read in any text books except diaries and logs, most of which are being destroyed.

It's a bit ironic how people of the North believed they were fighting against slavery, when in truth, they were unknowingly promoting it by fighting a resistance that would have guaranteed us freedom. Today we have "The Federal Reserve" which has made every single American a permanent indentured servant. Think about it, if the North truly was against slavery, why did it take all the way until 1963's "I Have A Dream" movement to guarantee equality and put an end to lingering slavery?

Best to stay away from textbooks and look into "open source education" on the internet. Best wishes.

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