The Southerners' Responsibility for the American Civil War

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The Southerners' Responsibility for the American Civil War

The reasons a nation goes to war are usually various and often

complicated, and it is no different with the American Civil War. There

are many reasons supporting the view that the Southerners are

responsible for the outbreak of the Civil War, it has been argued

strongly that it was the Southerners hold of the controversial issue

of slavery that led to the increasingly differing sections of the

United States. However, the counterargument is that the Southerners

felt under growing pressure to secede from the Union by aggressive

Northern abolitionists and that it was the Northern reaction to the

secession that ultimately led to the Civil War. Yet slavery was not

the only source of discord between the two regions. The two sections

were very different and they wanted different things from their

national government.

Many historians believe that the South was to blame for the growing

gap economically between the industrialising North and the

agricultural South, a gap that led eventually to the secession of the

South from the Union and the outbreak of the American Civil War. In

the North, society was becoming more industrialised faster than people

realised. Immigrants were arriving by the tens of thousands to the

Northern ports and systems of transportation and finance were

blossoming in a fantastic manner. The developing industry required

protection from cheap European imports, and was beginning to clamour

for all sorts of aid from the Federal government. In the South, by

contrast, society was much more static. There was little immigration,

there were not many cities and the ...

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...e Civil War. Both sections misunderstood the motives and threats of

the other, which held to heightened emotions where there need not be.

Underlying everything was slavery, however, slavery was not the only

cause of the Civil War, but it was unquestionably the one cause

without which the war would not have taken place.


H. Brogan; The Penguin History of the USA; Penguin Books; 2001 London

B. Catton; The Civil War; Houghton Mifflin; 1987 New York

A. Farmer; Access to History: The Causes of the American Civil War;


B. Wyatt-Brown; Southern Honour Ethics and Behaviour in the Old South;

Oxford University Press, New York; 1982 Civil War:Causes and Results

[1] The Causes of the Civil War; Alan Farmer

[2] Cited in The Causes of the Civil War; Alan Farmer
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