Name and explain five different causes for the Civil War between 1796–1860 that were the proximate causes for Southern secession. What was the main cause?

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There are many causes at the root of the Civil War. People often cite states rights, westward expansion, economic differences between the North and the South, and the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. In the end, most causes can be linked back to the central issue of slavery.

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There are many causes at the root of the Civil War. People often cite states rights, westward expansion, economic differences between the North and the South, and the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. In the end, most causes can be linked back to the central issue of slavery.

The issue of states' rights versus the power of the federal government had been central to American politics since the founding of the United States. There had always been discussion about whether more power should be given to the federal government or to the state governments. The Articles of Confederation provided for a weak federal government, while the Constitution sought to fix the problems created by the Articles of Confederation by strengthening the federal government. The issue of states' rights helped to contribute to the Civil War, as Southern states feared the federal government would limit or outlaw slavery. They hoped to have the power to decide at the state level whether slavery would be permitted.

Economic differences between the North and South also helped contribute to the Civil War. The North had developed a varied, industrial economy, while the South had an economy based on agriculture. Since most slaves were used in an agricultural capacity, states in the North banned slavery due to the lack of demand and moral concerns, while states in the South allowed it. This led to a growing divide between the North and South. It is also worth noting that the industrial North grew wealthier than the agricultural South, which further complicated the issue.

Westward expansion of the United States is another factor often linked to the start of the Civil War. As settlers moved west in search of new land and opportunities, the issue of whether slavery would be permitted in these new areas of settlement became a real problem. Kansas, for example, became known as "Bleeding Kansas" after it was established that the citizens of Kansas would determine the status of slavery through popular sovereignty. Violence erupted in Kansas between proslavery and antislavery groups in the state. This is often also cited as a cause of the Civil War, as it involved fighting and tension between proslavery Southerners and antislavery Northerners.

The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 can also be considered a cause for the Civil War. Lincoln was against slavery, but he had always stated that he would not fully abolish slavery; he would simply limit it to places it already existed. Lincoln's beliefs upset Southerners, who believed he would either eventually abolish slavery or establish an antislavery majority in Congress in the future. This would spell the end of slavery down the road. With the election of Lincoln, South Carolina seceded, and South Carolina was soon followed by other Southern states.

As you can see, all of these causes link back to the main cause of slavery. I believe it is safe to say that the issue of slavery and its legality was the main cause of the Civil War.

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