What caused the Civil War? What are the different issues that caused the Civil War (not only slavery, but other issues)?

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ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There were many causes to the War Between the States.  The election of Abraham Lincoln was one.  Leaders from the South  created the “Declaration of The Causes of Secession.”  This stated Lincoln was anti-slavery and would come to the Presidency and lean toward the interests of the North.  Yet, there were 7 states which had already seceded before Lincoln was  president.  Another reason was the economical and social differences between the North and the South.  The invention of the cotton gin caused many farmers to be  totally dependent on cotton. This made the South a one crop economy.  The North was more industrial and had a diverse economy.  Another strong reason for the Civil War was the argument over States Rights.  Many of the Southern States felt that the Federal Government had too much control over the states.  As the country expanded there were arguments over new “Slave States,” or Non-Slave States.  This also caused friction.  Last but not least were the sympathies that began to grow for abolitionists and against slavery and slaveholders. This really spread after the publishing of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” the Dred Scott Case, John Brown’s Raid, and the passage of the fugitive slave act that held individuals responsible for harboring fugitive slaves even if they were located in non-slave states.

enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

 The roots of the American Civil War begin at the founding of Jamestown and Plymouth. Slightly before either of these colonies were founded, James I in 1609 gave a single charter to two groups, one to settle what then was considered "Northern" Virginia (Plymouth Company, claiming from what today is New Jersey to Maine) and one to settle in the south (London Company, claiming from New Jersey to South Carolina.)  From the very beginning of English settlement on the Atlantic seaboard regional differences quickly became apparent. The settlers for these 2 different regions were from different areas and socioeconomic classes in England.  The South attracted "Gentlemen Farmers," hoping to make quick profits on tobacco.  The North became a religious refuge for Puritans. The South was much more fertile than the North, and so established an agrarian economy.  The North, a much shorter sail to Europe, began to build ships and establish trade and manufactures as an economic base.  In time, both the North and South's economy grew; the North began to industrialize and the South expanded its agrarian output.  Slavery was an outgrowth of the expanding Southern agricutural economy. Differences became pronounced as more territory became incorporated to either North or South; 1830 and 1850 saw the first of several compromises regarding slavery, but what was at the heart of the question was if two different cultures could live together under one union.  When one thought the other was infringing too much upon it, war was the result. 

ppate58's profile pic

ppate58 | eNotes Newbie

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I being a southern man I've alway felt people are too quick to label us as bigots and that we wanted slavery and the North didn't..sounds simple but it's not.Reality is the whole thing hinged on ALL states having the right to govern themselves and being able to do what they want on their own land with their own crop without the government telling them they can't.South had no problem freeing slaves,in fact,southern states were the first to radify emancipation act,but in doing so they knew they had to now pay former slaves to work the fields which meant price increase on cotten..Government said no..you can't do that[of coarse,I'm paraphrasing here]so south took bids from other countries and again government said you have to keep selling to us at current price as it's our National resourse of which the south said basically screw you,it's ours and we'll do what we want and if you going to be that way then we'll just start our own country and make our own laws and govern ourself which they did.They then decided Fort Sumpter was now their property and Union was trespassing and told them to get off their property..they didn't..south fired..it started..Point being,it's the same arguement since revolution war..Tyranny controlling the people and what freedoms do the people really have on their own land and their own business..It's the same arguement I hear even today..We have no slavery today but I constantly hear about too much government in everybodies life..Same story..Different time..But slavery had very little to do with the civil war..Were there those opposed to change..absolutely.Were there those who were racist bigots..you bet,north and south all the way to mid 1960s but the overall southern gripe was and has always been about the freedoms of individual states to govern themselves..AND THATS WHAT IT WAS ABOUT!!

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