By: Leo Dorfman
Causes of the Civil War Although some historians feel that the Civil War was a result of political blunders and that the issue of slavery did not cause the conflict, they ignore the two main causes. The expansion of slavery, and its entrance into the political scene. The North didn't care about slavery as long as it stayed in the South. South Carolina seceded, because Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was voted into office. The Republican party threatened the South's expansion and so Southerners felt that they had no other choice. The United States was divided into three groups by the time the Civil War began: those who believed in the complete abolition of slavery, those who were against the expansion of slavery, and those who were pro slavery. The Republican party was formed in opposition to southern expansion. Their views were Free Soil, Free Men and Free Labor. The Republicans were anti-South but they were in not abolitionists. They believed that slavery was a flawed system that made the south ineffective and because the North's free labor system was superior it must be guarded from southerners. When the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, the South felt threatened, and because expansion was vital to the survival of slavery they also felt their way of life was being threatened. Because slavery was such an important part of Southern society, the South felt that they could not survive without it. That's why they were not willing to compromise with the north. To own slaves was a sign of wealth and social prestige and poor farmers who could not afford slaves had a goal to work for. In the election of 1860 you can see that Lincoln only secured 4% of the popular vote in the South, only winning in the upper 5 states, where in the north he received 54% of the popular vote. This shoes how united the South was in their dislike for Lincoln. If the South had been more divided they might have been more willing to compromise. The central cause of conflict between North and South was slavery, but it was only in it's expansion that it became a reason for war. The entrance of slavery into politics made it into a public issue, and once the issue became public the conflict had to be solved.
Word Count: 390