Causes of the Civil War Essay Examples and Research Papers

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Slavery as a Main Cause for the Civil War

The American civil war played a pivotal role in forming and shaping the future of the Unites States of America. The war would last from 1861 to 1865 and would come to take the lives of hundreds of thousands Americans. It pitted the Union, or the North, in a civil war against the forces of…

American Civil War,

Causes of the Civil War,

Civil War

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Pages: 8
Words: 1864

True Cause of the Civil War

I will be analyzing David Blight’s argument using ethos, pathos and logos to thoroughly analyze how he made his argument so compelling. In David Blight’s book, Race and Reunion from the chapter The Lost Cause and Causes Not lost, Blight argues that the Civil war was not fought to preserve Southern heritage but instead to…

American Civil War,

Causes of the Civil War,

Civil War

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Pages: 4
Words: 805

Three Causes of American Civil War

The best way to think about the Civil War in general terms is as the “Second Act” of America’s Democratic revolution. The first act was freeing itself from the control of the British empire in the 1770s and the second act was removing the massive contradiction between the rhetoric of American “freedom” and the reality…

American Civil War,

Causes of the Civil War,

Civil War

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Pages: 3
Words: 728

Apostles of Separation, Southern Secession Commissioners, and Causes of Civil War

In Apostles of Disunion, Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil war, Charles B. Dew explains the reasons why the South wanted to secede and points out what caused the civil war. Dew inserted a series of speeches and letters into the Apostles of Disunion. The Apostles of Disunion were men that provided…

American Civil War,

Causes of the Civil War,


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The Origin of the American Civil War

Abraham Lincoln’s election of 1860 was the start to something new and very different for the nation. Lincoln, former member of the Whig party but now a member of the republican party, understood how divided the union was and believed it was his duty to keep the union together, at all costs. Although this election…

American History,

Causes of the Civil War,

Civil War

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Pages: 7
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Causes of the Civil War


The two main causes of the civil war

Finding a way to narrow down the causes for the Civil War may seem like a daunting task. How is it possible to narrow down so many issues? After much research, the answer may be more simple than most people think. Without overthinking and over analyzing, finding two main causes of the Civil War became apparent– the morality of slavery and the economics of slavery. Pre-dating the Civil War, the morality and economics of slavery affected nearly each American’s daily lives, and caused almost every American to have an opinion or stand on the issue.


The obvious cause of civil war is the morality of slavery

In the heart of the United States issues at the time was slavery. The South relied on slavery for labor to work the fields because most didn’t see any fault in enslaving black people for cheap labor. Many people in the North believed that slavery was wrong, unethical and un-Christian. Northerners wanted slavery made illegal throughout the United States. 

Abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth began to convince more and more people of the evils of slavery by showing people that African Americans also fell under the necessity of natural rights in the constitution. The North and the abolitionists also believed that Africans (or African- Americans) were people too; however, they just happened to have a different skin color and were born in a different country. They believed that these differences were not their fault. They couldn’t necessarily do anything about that. Hearing the abolitionist speeches made the South fearful that their way of life would come to an end. Their fear grew that they would no longer be able to have slaves.


Why the civil war began

 Because of their growing fear, they decided to fight against the North to protect their way of life. They truly believed that it was their God-given right to own slaves, and they did not want that taken away. In the years pre-dating the Civil War, slaves, women, and other minorities added tension between the North and the South. As we see in Sojourner Truth’s Ain’t I A Woman, people created arguments and wanted to create a fights in the name of protecting their rights. Whether they were fighting for slavery to be abolished, women’s rights, or natural rights, Truth states, “I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon” What she is saying is that when over half the population cries out against the lack of fairness of the privileged (white men), things are bound to change. 

Truth doesn’t separate black people into men and women, but made it clear that Northern women were also the ones driving for a change. She was appealing to the fact that white women were oppressed, as well as all African-American people. As time went on, the North became a safe haven for slaves to escape to, and that forced an even greater separation between the states. In the eyes of the Southerners, the necessity of slaves trumped the morality of slavery. They felt the need to fight for what was truly theirs, and the North felt the need to fight for what they believed was ethically theirs

The second cause of the Civil War was the economics of slavery. The South’s economy and industry relied heavily on slavery, and cotton was their biggest industry. Who worked those fields? The slaves did. Slavery was built into the southern society. The belief was presented that all men were equal, including slaves The South disagreed. Because of a labor shortage in the South, landowners bought African slaves to work their massive plantations. This was because there were advantages for landowners to use slaves instead of hiring white laborers who would cost more, strike, or quit; whereas, slaves could not. Despite the terribly treatment of slaves, their work output was productive. Roger Ransom, a historian says,

“Contrary to views espoused by critics of the system at the time, slave labor was productive. Slaveholders in the South extracted sufficient labor from their slaves to produce a considerable surplus each year. They did this with a combination of coercion and incentives that implies a very close control of labor by the master. Even the smallest task was organized and supervised by the master or his ‘driver,’ and little regard was given to the desires of the slave for leisure time”


For which the South fought

Still, the South fought to keep what they wanted–to keep making money and keep their industries in place. The South was an agricultural society reliant on slave labor that exported cash crops. It had little legitimate money, less manufacturing, favored low tariffs, and opposed direct taxing as well. The North was an industrial economy that favored high tariffs (which protected their industries), favored direct taxation, had a complex financial system, and were eager to move and develop westward, as we see in the American Progress painting.



The North and South did share a common history, but they effectively became two separate nations at the beginning of the 1800’s. Because of the dividing powers of the morality and economics of slavery, Americans started to develop opinions, choosing sides, that eventually turned into a Civil War.

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