What Caused the Civil War?

Essay by shinystuffrocksCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2004

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It is a major misconception that the Civil War was fought solely over the issue of slavery. One of the issues it was fought over was the seccession of the south and the preservation of the Union. The aim of the north was to preserve the Union, while the aim of the south was to preserve their way of life and right of free will.

Upon seceding from the Union, South Carolina wanted to make very clear that its primary reason for seceding was not slavery. In its secession document, it is stated that it was a constitutional right of the state to be free and independent. "A struggle for the right of self-government ensued, which resulted, on the 4th of July, 1776, in a Declaration, by the Colonies, "that they are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; and that, as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do(1)."

After the secession was complete, the officials in South Carolina addressed the other slave-holding and encouraged them to follow in their endeavors to be independent. Of course, they made sure to say that they were in no way trying to encroach on their right to govern themselves. This address was a "pep-talk" to get the rest of the Southern states to join up with them against the oppression of the Union government. "The Southern States now stand exactly in the same position toward the Northern States that our ancestors in the colonies did toward Great Britain. The Northern States, having the majority in Congress, claim the same power of omnipotence in legislation as the British Parliament. "The general welfare" is the only limit...