American History

What Caused the American Civil War? - From "Have To" History

Three Big Things:

Am I Not A Man...?1. Slavery. While not the only factor, it was by far the largest. Without it, there would have been no war. Seceding southern states issued their own “declarations” explaining the causes which impelled them to the separation. The issue? Slavery, threats to slavery, insufficient protection of slavery, criticisms of slavery. Oh, and slavery.

2. The Election of 1860. Abraham Lincoln’s victory signaled to the South that the system – democracy, compromise, voting – no longer worked. Their voice, it seemed, was no longer even a factor in how the nation was run. Lincoln's election was the final straw, since he was perceived as a threat to… what else? Slavery.

3. Overconfidence. Few on either side anticipated the possibility of an extended war, or the kinds of death and violence which were to come. Had those making decisions had any hint of what would unfold, one wonders if they’d have pursued other solutions a bit more vigorously.

Liar, Liar, Twitterpants on Fire (A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing, Part Three)

Confederate FlagAnd then the South began writing the history of the war and the events which led to it. The war they’d lost. The one fought over a variety of issues, but in which slavery and its continuation were central and essential as defined by the South in the very documents they issued to justify their cause. Only suddenly the war hadn’t been about slavery at all. In fact, the South was collectively rather wounded at the suggestion! Slavery?! You think – you think this was about SLAVERY?

Imagine what'd they'd have rewritten if they'd WON?

Secession & Superiority (A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing, Part One)

South Carolina was upset that the North allowed so much discussion of things which threatened their way of life and went against their beliefs. They listed as one of their central reasons for trying to break the country their collective outrage that other states weren’t doing enough to stifle debate.

Their little white feelings were hurt and their dominant role in the world inconvenienced. Poor things.