What Caused the Civil War?

Published 22 Mar 2017

There were many different causes which were the roots of the U.S. Civil War. Briefly, these causes included slavery, different moral systems, different economic systems, and different visions of America. The single most influential causes are inter- related. The issues of slavery and the different economic system which relied in large part on slave labor in the South were, in my opinion, the primary cause for the war. Certainly, the plantations (especially the cotton business) in the South were a major source of the stream of income upon which the South was vitally dependent.

The plantations were primarily Southern phenomenon and its existence created unfair trade competition for Northern businesses (Encarta:2007). While it may seem that the South was unjust in maintaining the slave trade, I believe that there hearts and minds were predicated on that industry were purely economic. Unfortunately, many sources of alleged discrimination were and are swayed by the almighty dollar. The South was so dependent on the slave-driven economy that their perspective and ideals surrounded the perpetuation of slavery for their livelihoods.

Furthermore, the main debate just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War concerned whether slavery would be allowed in the newly-admitted Western States, which were acquired through the Mexican War, such as some parts of California, Utah, and New Mexico. Additionally, at that time,

“loyalty to one’s state often took precedence over loyalty to one’s county.”

The South feared that the election of Abraham Lincoln meant a stronger federal government and, in turn, was a threat to the entire slave industry (Encarta:2007). In conclusion, I believe that although the slave issue was a major cause of the Civil War, it was not the sole cause.


  • American Civil War. Encarta.
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