What actually caused the American Civil War? Some people simplistically answer that it was a fight against slavery. While slavery did have an important part to play in the lead up to the Civil War, there were other causes that fed the fight between North and South that finally erupted into secession and Civil War with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1864.
I would disagree with Martin Kelly’s assertion that slavery was just one of many reasons for war. Ultimately, all of these reasons he mentioned has somewhere roots in slavery. The members at the Constitutional Convention knew the explosive nature of this one issue that they essentially left it for another generation hoping it would just go away. Looking at a good example of when slavery was not an issue in terms of session. The Nullification Crisis of 1832 ended so quickly not just because of Andrew Jackson bravado and his popularity, but also slavery was completely absent from discussion because both Jackson and South Carolina had slaves and Jackson had no ambitions to end the institution. In 1861 with the election of Abraham Lincoln, he tried to do the same thing as Jackson without much success not just because he was no where near Jackson’s character, but also the issue was not tariffs but the very heart of southern culture though out much of its history: slavery.
Well, Mr. Kelly tells us that it’s simplistic to say that the issue of slavery caused the Civil War, and purports to back that up with what he identifies as the top five causes of the Civil War, which turn out to be: (1) Slavery, (2) States Rights - mostly slavery, (3) Slavery, (4) Slavery, and (5) Slavery. I came here looking for some support for the proposition that it was not the issue of slavery that caused the Civil War, but I found very little. If Mr. Kelly’s piece were an AP History essay, I’m afraid that it would get a failing grade.
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