Determine through your wond interpretation the main cause(s) of the Civil War.

Essay by juicymangoHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2005

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Since the Civil War ended, thousands of great minds have attempted to ascertain the main cause or causes. A few less likely options, including the ineptness of politicians of the time and fears of government conspiracy in the South, have emerged, but they are not widely known. Because the Civil War led to the emancipation of slaves and was divided mainly between slave states and free soil states, it is a common misconception that slavery was the cause, focus, and main issue of the war. Despite what legions of grade school pedagogues may preach, the issue of slavery was not all-important at the time the war started. Though the average American would most likely agree that slavery was the most important, if not sole, cause of the Civil War, the truth is that growing sectionalism and disagreements over the bounds of states' rights were the main issues; slavery happened to be a convenient topic which secessionists could use as another argument for dividing the Union.

By the beginning of the early Civil War era, the issue of states' rights had been forefront in the minds of most politicians since the 13 colonies signed away power to create a federal government under the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights, though it did much to limit the federal government's power over the individual, did little, if anything, to strengthen state legislation. In several early court cases under John Marshall, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had power over state governments. It is no surprise, therefore, that South Carolina, the first state to leave the Union, cited the infringement upon states' rights by the federal government to be its main reason for declaring itself a free and separate state with the right to "levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish...