gettysburg, pennsylvania, battlefield-350058.jpg

Reasons for the Civil War

The Civil War, also referred to as the American Civil War or War between the States, was a war fought between the Confederacy, comprising of the eleven Southern slave states, and the Union, comprising of the rest of the free states, supported by five border slave states. The war, that lasted for a period of 4 years, from 1861 to 1865, claimed the highest number of war causalities ever. Though, there were numerous reasons for the Civil War outbreak, the major among them was the decision of the eleven slave states to withdraw or secede from the Union.

Major Reasons for the Civil War

Among the top reasons for the Civil War, an important one was the practice of slavery. In the United States of America, the economy of the Northern states was primarily dependent on industries and wages, while the Southern states were more of agricultural economies, which were largely dependent on the production of cash crops, such as cotton. The farmers from the Southern states required large number of labors to work in their fields. The laborers used on their fields were the slaves who were given accommodation and food in return for their work. At one point of time, the abolitionists, i.e. the people who favored abolition of slavery, raised strong concerns about the ongoing unethical practice. At that point of time, slavery was more of an economic issue in the country. The farmers, who had slaves working for them, realized that the abolition of slavery would mean that they will have to pay wages to their laborers, which was a great financial setback for them. Read more on slavery during the Civil War.

Many of these farmers and slave owners were prominent politicians representing the Southern states. Sighting the approaching economic crisis, they decided to oppose any move by the federal government to abolish the practice of slavery in the country. The Southern states were in favor of spread of slavery, as they knew that the creation of new slave states would mean a stronger political foothold for them. On the other hand, though a large section of the politicians of the Northern states was indifferent towards slavery, the thought that the new slave states would mean a stronger political influence from the Southern states, made them oppose slavery. With slavery as the issue in the backdrop, the Southerners wanted to gain political mileage, while the Northerners intended to limit the Southern influence in the American political arena by opposing slavery.

Both the sides knew that, it was difficult to convince the masses to support them with slavery as the major reason. The politicians from the Southern states were successful in convincing the masses that the Northern states were threatening their culture and way of life. The politicians from the Northern states, on the other hand, convinced the masses by telling them that the Southern states will hamper the democratic base of the United States, if allowed to secede. Though their arguments were partly true, their hidden motives always remained under cover. The eleven Southern slave states came under one roof, formed the Confederate States of America, with Jefferson Davis as their president, and declared their secession from the country. This was undoubtedly one of the major reasons for the Civil Wars.

Other Reasons for the Civil War

Though, slavery related issues are the major reasons for the American Civil War, there were quite a few other causes of the civil war as well. These included the great divide between North and the South, wherein the people from the South always felt that, they were ignored by the Union and the policies and legislation passed by the federal government were pro-north. Election of Abraham Lincoln as the President of the United States in 1860 was another major factor, as the defeat of the Southern candidate John C. Breckinridge, by a huge margin, came in as yet another major blow for the Southerners, who feared that Lincoln would abolish slavery. The following year Kansas declared itself a free state and joined the American Union. These blows, coming one after other, were too much for the Southerners to withstand, and seven states, namely South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, seceded from the United States, with four others to follow.Reasons for the Civil War

Secession was followed by a constitutional argument regarding the right of a state to leave the Union. The United States administration rejected the secession, and termed it as a rebellion. The battles between the two forces began on April 12, 1861, when the Confederate forces attacked a United States military installation in Southern Carolina. What followed was a brutal war, which killed thousands of soldiers from both the sides, before ending in a victory for the Union. With this victory, the Union abolished slavery which was one of the major reasons for the Civil War, by introducing Emancipation Proclamation. However, one of the darkest chapter of the American history was already written.

Scroll to Top