Matthew Gallman, Matthew C. Hulbert, James Marten, and Amy Murrell Taylor—for their opinions on a variety of popular topics, including the war's most overrated and underratred commanders, top turning points, most influential women, and best depictions on film. Causes of the Civil War: A Balanced Answer by Gordon Leidner of Great American History. A historian of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, he is a publisher of popular history, a podcaster, and online course creator. It was a book written by Harriet Breacher Stowe that showed the slavery was not just a political message, but was a great moral evil. Gary Gallagher explains the situation in late 1860 from a contemporary perspective: The best friend of the slaveholding South in that regard is the federal government. . These are all considered to be causes of the Civil War. It was part of a Europe wide conflict between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. This myth began almost as soon as the war ended. . Each of the first six states to secede had a slave population between 44 and 57 percent of the total population. Even if slavery was the catalyst, it does not follow that all rebel soldiers believed they were fighting for that cause. It continued with the Compromise of 1820 … Their position became a “cardinal element of the Southern apologia,” and postwar Southerners manifested “a nearly universal denial to escape the ignominy attached to slavery.”, In the North, where white racism and a desire for national reconciliation made slavery an issue no one wanted to discuss, the idea that slavery was not the cause of secession and the war found acceptance. between the supporters of a strictly Federative Government . What caused the Civil War? Causes of the American Civil War Author: Is slavery the primary cause of secession and the Civil War? At the heart of the Myth of the Lost Cause is the insistence that secession, the Confederacy, and the Civil War were all about states’ rights, not slavery. One other set of numbers sheds some light on the connection between slavery and secession. Compromise of 1850 The compromise of 1850 was a series of conretional measures intended to settle disagreements between slave states and free states. Looking back on the growing national controversy over slavery, Lincoln’s secretaries and biographers John Hay and John Nicolay wrote: “It is now universally understood, if not conceded, that the Rebellion of 1861 was begun for the sole purpose of defending and preserving to the seceding States the institution of African slavery and making them the nucleus of a great slave empire. At the root of these anti–states’ rights complaints was the return of fugitive slaves. In summary, contrary to the Myth of the Lost Cause, preservation of slavery was the primary cause of Southern states’ secession and their creation of the Confederacy. . Nat Turner interpreted two solar eclipses as instructions from God to … . The Act set off bitter violence in the Kansas territory. Having acknowledged that, let me also say I have long believed there is no more concise or stirring accounting for the war than the sentiments propounded by Irish poet William Butler Yeats in The Second Coming, some lines of which are included in this essay. Allen Mesch is an author, educator, and historian. © HistoryOnTheNet 2000-2019. The average percentage of families that held slaves in the first seven seceding states was 37. Perhaps surprisingly, Edward Pollard of Richmond, who had his finger on the Confederate pulse, explained in 1866 that Lincoln’s 1860 election, with its power shift to the North, caused the South to leave the Union, “which no longer afforded any guaranty for her rights or any permanent sense of security” and which intended to “destroy her institutions, and even involve the lives of her people.” His analysis continued: “Power in the hands of the North affected the safety and happiness of every individual in the South.” The code words for slavery protection were the substance of his conclusions.14 In fact, the seceding states themselves complained that the federal government was not doing enough to protect slavery and that non-slave states were exercising their own rights in a manner disagreeable to the slave states (for example, by passing “liberty laws” to hinder efforts to retrieve runaway slaves). Dred Scott was a slave whos master brought him to Illinois to live as a free slave for a time. As their secession resolutions demonstrated (see below), Southerners were disappointed that some Northern states were exercising state power to obstruct federal enforcement of slave-owners’ rights. Any man who takes it upon himself to explain the causes of the Civil War deserves whatever grief comes his way, regardless of his good intentions. Northern Democrats, led by President Franklin Pierce, aggressively enforced the new Fugitive Slave Act, and the fear of being kidnapped and sold into slavery led some fifteen to twenty thousand free Northern blacks to migrate to Canada between 1850 and 1860. Lincoln did not recieve popular vote, but still won. . a law enacted as a part of the Compromise of 1850, designed to ensure that escaped slaves would be returned into bondage. The area became known as Bleeding Kansas. At the start of his reign (1625) King Charles I had married the Roman Catholic Henrietta Maria of France. Because Scott had lived in a free territory, he believed he should be free. Their walkouts, which split the party and led to two separate party candidates for president, demonstrated the Southerners’ concern for greater protection of slavery by the federal government—far from a states’ rights position. At two conventions (Charleston and Baltimore) in mid-1860 Southern Democrats bolted because of the majority’s unwillingness to approve a platform plank calling for a federal slave code for the territories. But by joining the Confederate war machine, all of them, irrespective of their personal motivations, advanced their nation’s political agenda—the perpetuation and territorial expansion of human bondage and the misery that it entailed.”. Click here for our podcast series Key Battles of the Civil War. He is a student of the American Civil War and has visited more than 132 battlefields and museums and taken over 4,000 photographs. As the price for their signing the Declaration of Independence and ratifying the U.S. Constitution, the Southern states had demanded that anti-slavery statements in the Declaration be deleted and that certain concessions to slavery be made in the Constitution. . Non-slavery rationales for the Civil War certainly are not dead. ”, In the first three postwar decades, Pollard, Davis, Stephens, Jubal Early, William Nelson Pendleton, the Reverend J. William Jones, and others made and developed the proposition that slavery was not the cause for secession or the formation of the Confederacy. David Blight observed, “The relationship of states’ rights to slavery in all discussions of Civil War causation appears to be an eternal riddle in American public memory.”. Each slave was to count as three-fifths of a person for purposes of determining a state’s representation in the lower house of Congress, and the importation of slaves was to continue until at least 1808. The smallest was a company, which had around 100 men. The federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 required state and local governments to return runaway slaves to their owners and penalized those who assisted the runaways. State rights have been a problem from the Southern perspective in that many of the Northern states have passed laws that make it difficult to enforce federal law. What caused the Civil War? Others set slavery aside as the critical concern of the Confederacy and critical issue of the war.”. Some have argued that the civil war … All rights reserved. Please note: The audio information from the video is included in the text below. They may have been fighting for any number of other reasons. While there were many political and cultural differences between the North and the South that contributed to the American Civil War, the main cause of the war was slavery. Yet, when the South’s political leaders discussed the subject of denied rights during the secession crisis they spoke almost exclusively with reference to federal rights not states’ rights.”, Slavery, in Edward L. Ayers’s formulation, is the “one-word” answer to the question of what caused the Civil War, but slavery per se was not the cause of the war. That figure was 25 in the next four seceding states, and it was 16 in the four non-seceding slave states. Robert E. Lee disavowed slavery’s role in the war: “So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished.”, More significantly, Confederate President Jefferson Davis explained in his postwar memoirs, “The truth remains intact and incontrovertible, that the existence of African servitude was in no wise the cause of the conflict, but only an incident.” He argued that North-South hostility was “not the consequence of any difference on the abstract question of slavery. .”. Included in her marriage treaty were provisions that she be allowed to practice her religion freely at Court. According to Alan Nolan, “This belief was advanced by such prominent twentieth-century historians as Charles and Mary Beard, Avery Craven, and James G. Randall, influenced surely in part by their own racism. Increasingly the states and slaveholders of the South look to the United States government to ensure their hold on their property. Of course, both sides claimed that God and the Bible were on their sides and had numerous biblical quotations to support their positions. It would have manifested itself just as certainly if slavery had existed in all the states, or if there had not been a negro in America.”, His vice president, Alexander Stephens, claimed after the war that the strife was between federalism and centralism: “Slavery, so called, was but the question on which these antagonistic principles . A concise but accurate account of the 10 major causes of the American Civil War. a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of the Civil War in American history. Americans who lived through the Civil War established four great interpretive traditions regarding the conflict. After you have ranked them, write one sentence explaining why you ranked each cause the way you did. As the British historian D. W. Brogan concludes, Southerners “seceded over one thing and fought over one thing: slavery.”, Would you like to learn the complete history of the Civil War? population during the Civil War era Major Generals key Victories key Defeats Total number of Civil War casualties (injuries and losses of life) unIon ConFEDERACy 6 7. Since the founding of the U.S., the North and the South have held different political views. It arose out of disputes over slavery and states’ rights. For example, in his 1988 foreword to a republished edition of Pollard’s The Lost Cause, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz writes, “If one were to look for a common denominator that linked all of the many reasons given for the Civil War—the slavery issue, the secession of the southern states and the formation of the Confederacy, the growing disaffection between the North and South as they evolved into separate political entities—the search would end on a difference in interpretation of the United States Constitution.” He proceeds to compare the Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian interpretations of the Constitution. Causes of the Civil War. They expect the entire nation to follow through with the legislation that came out of the Compromise of 1850 that said escaping slaves will be returned. But before examining why South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas seceded from the United States and founded the Confederacy, we must distinguish between the motives of the secessionists and the motives of individual soldiers. The Whig party splits into 2 parts: The North and the South. . The Founding Fathers generally sidestepped the awkward issue of slavery but did provide it with a constitutional foundation. . 3 : Students then join / follow their cause of choice. The issue was so divisive that it split America’s major religious denominations into Northern and Southern wings. They incurred higher casualties, deserted less frequently, and suffered more for their slaveholding Confederacy than the troops who did not own slaves and were otherwise unconnected to the peculiar institution. n this Rank & Reason, students will consider the causes of the Civil War, and will rank them according to which was most influential leading up to the Civil War. 1215 1534 1603 1629 1637 -39 1641 1642 1643 The Magna Carta Signed Role of Scotland The Magna arta was signed in 1215 when the leading _ _ _ _ _ challenged the . Because the war resulted from the secession of seven Southern states and their formation of the Confederate States of America after Abraham Lincoln’s election as president on November 6, 1860, and his inauguration on March 4, 1861, whatever caused those states to secede is the primary cause of the Civil War. its foe.”, Michael C. C. Adams agrees with this analysis: “Appeals to state sovereignty usually masked other, more pragmatic, interests. The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces attacked a U.S. Union military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Southerners embraced states’ rights when convenient but insisted that national authorities return fugitive slaves, overriding the states’ rights protest of Northern local officials.”. The Kansas Nebraska act established the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, and gave the people the right to vote for if they wanted the state as a slave state or as a free state. Feature Causes Of The Civil War. How it works : omplete after ranking activity? 2 : Present a concise opening argument to the class. Glatthaar concludes: As various Confederate states clearly explained in their justification of secession, they left the Union to preserve the institution of slavery. He sued the federal court for his freedom, and then appealed to the Supreme court. Southern secessionist leaders’ own words made clear their economic dependence upon slavery, the interconnection between slavery and white supremacy, and their violent reactions to perceived threats to the peculiar institution—reactions that led them to secede. ANTI–STATES’ RIGHTS: THE ROLE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN PRESERVING SLAVERY, The interplay between slavery and states’ rights was always complex. Scott Michael Rank, Ph.D., is the editor of History on the Net and host of the History Unplugged podcast. Students of all age groups know at least something about this war. In the years prior to the Civil War almost all sectional conflicts revolved around the enslavement issue. The Northern Whigs were opposed to the fugitive slave act, while the southern whigs were both pro- slavery and pro- union. The distinguishing feature of Lincoln’s and the Republicans’ campaign was opposition to the extension of slavery into the Western territories. Over the next two decades, a Northern abolitionist movement, the Nat Turner Revolt of 1831, and Southern reaction to both revived the national contention over slavery. Slavery became a serious point of contention between the North and South in 1820 with the proposed admission of Missouri to the Union as a slave state. More than 200 people died over the issue of slavery. In the face of national turmoil over this issue, Congress reached the Missouri Compromise. Did that question or others related to slavery affect those seven states’ decision to secede and form the Confederacy? Historians debating the origins of the American Civil War focus on the reasons why seven Southern states (followed by four more after the onset of the war) declared their secession from the United States (), why they united to form the Confederate States of America (simply known as the "Confederacy"), and why the North refused to let them go. The largest was an army, which could have many thousands of men. Causes and Events of the American Civil War. Antebellum Review: 1848-1860 What are the primary causes of the Civil War? and a thoroughly national one. . In the 1850s, McClellan had studied the Crimean War … Slave-owning soldiers’ higher casualty rates and lower desertion rates suggest that they may have been more enthusiastic about participating in the war. According to the Myth, Southerners were moved by the principle of states’ rights to secede. The result was a strengthened Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, part of the Compromise of 1850, authorizing federal officials to compel the return of runaways slaves, requiring state officials and the public at large to aid in their capture and return, providing a modicum of nonjudicial due process for alleged runaways, and setting magistrate fees of five dollars when an alleged runaway was released and ten dollars when that person was ordered to be transported to the slave state from which he or she allegedly had fled. The Civil War erupted from a variety of long-standing tensions and disagreements about American life and politics. American Civil War, four-year war (1861–65) fought between the United States and 11 Southern states that seceded to form the Confederate States of America. . The Confederate states wanted to leave the Union. Yeats wrote his short p… that good people fought valiantly for disgraceful causes. The election of 1860 is when Lincoln won presidency. Religion was a major cause of the English Civil War. Northern opposition to that law led to conflicts about its enforcement and Southern anger about its non-enforcement in the North. History >> Civil War. Joseph Glatthaar’s statistical study of the soldiers in Lee’s army finds that soldier slave-owners had a 56.5 percent casualty rate, while that for non-slave-owner soldiers was 48.5 percent. Thus slavery was prohibited in all new states north of the latitude thirty-six degrees, thirty minutes. Video: Causes of the Civil War The causes of the Civil War and its cost to a young nation. . Allen is a fan of political thrillers and author of The Analyst. position on slavery –Civil War about to erupt. Did the extent of slave ownership in a state or the size of its slave population have anything to do with how likely a state was to secede? The American Civil War was fought between the North (Union states) and the South (Confederate states). As the New York Times pointed out in 1859, the South had made “the doctrine of state rights, so long slavery’s friend . The Democratic conventions of 1860 demonstrate Southerners’ interest in greater federal government protection of slavery. Jan 29, 1850. . Whatever part states’ rights allegedly played in secession, concern for those rights corresponded to a state’s interest in maintaining or protecting the institution of slavery. All the Northern States had freed their slaves, either before the adoption of the U.S. Constitution or soon after it. Organization A Civil War army consisted of many small parts that were joined together in stair-step fashion to make larger units. For our latest newsstand-only special issue, The Civil War Almanac, we asked a panel of Civil War historians—J. Their desire for explicit central government protection of slavery in the territories came in the Confederate Constitution of 1861. This war lasted from 1861-1865 and divided the nation into the “north” and the “south”. COMPANY A company was the basic unit in a Civil War army. That was, in fact, almost the only issue in the four-way presidential race. The compromise of 1850 was a series of conretional measures intended to settle disagreements between slave states and free states. What were the key events during the Antebellum that fostered the coming of war? When antislavery candidate Abraham Lincoln was elected president (1860), the Southern states seceded. Causes of the Civil War Political Factors. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. What could have been done during the Antebellum to stop the war? At the opening of the Civil War, there were more slaves in the United States than in all other countries combined. . Top 10 causes of the Civil War Timeline created by RaneNajera. . The Civil War, however, “was certainly not the first time in history . The demographics of slavery reveal a strong correlation. SUMMARY OF SLAVERY AS THE CAUSE OF SECESSION AND THE CONFEDERACY. Still, some one million copies are sold within the first year of publication. The higher the percentage of slaves and the higher the percentage of slaveholding families, the likelier a state was to secede. What caused the American Civil War? the underground railroad was a system of routes that helped run away slaves escape to canada or to safe areas in free states. They recognized how deeply contingency could run and how quickly things could shift; a Supreme Court decision or a presidential election could change the evolution of vast structures of slavery and economic development.”. Causes of the Civil War Directions: Using the chart on page 507, list the causes of the Civil War below. Aim : consider and explain how six causes helped cause the English Civil War and the rank their importance. Although attempts by the Northern states to restore the Union required an invasion of those seceding states and Confederates rushed to arms to protect their home and homeland, among the issues central in their thoughts was the mission of safeguarding their right to own bondsmen and bondswomen. These two graphs show just how common internal wars are and the high degree of persistence in these conflicts. 1: Select 6 students - assign each, one of the causes of the civil war. Q. During the Civil War, President Lincoln will meet Stowe in the White House and reportedly say to her (in so many words): "So you're the little lady that caused this great big war." The politics over slavery began to heat up in the early to … 1831 | Nat Turner’s Rebellion. He had support from the North and the South. . . This tougher law provoked even more opposition in Northern states—including riots and fatal shootings. While many still debate the ultimate causes of the Civil War, Pulitzer … . The efforts by congressional Democrats and Presidents Pierce and Buchanan to appease Southerners on the fugitive slave issue failed to satisfy them. Jan 29, 1850. In between, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, governing what is now the upper Midwest, forbade slavery there but provided that any slave who escaped to the Northwest Territories “may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service.”. Causes Of The Civil War. . It infuriates the South, where most states ban its sale. The essence of the slave-states’ complaints was not that their rights were being violated but rather that the federal government and the non-slave states were insufficiently helpful in defending slavery. Site created in November 2000. They were upset that the Underground Railroad had helped between one thousand and five thousand slaves to escape each year between 1830 and 1860. Because the war resulted from the secession of seven Southern states and their formation of the Confederate States of America after Abraham Lincoln’s election as president on November 6, 1860, and his inauguration on March 4, 1861, whatever caused those states to secede is the primary cause of the Civil War. It is amazing that even today, nearly 150 years after the Civil War started, there is passionate debate regarding the "cause" of the Civil War. These were all confined to the States south of Pennsylvania and of the Ohio River. The Raid on Harpers Ferry was an attempt by John Brown to initiate an armed slave revolt by taking over a United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.