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Determine Through Your Wond Interpretation The Main Cause(S) Of The Civil War.

1263 words - 5 pages

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 commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do." (Declaration of Causes of Seceding States.) Most secessionist states concluded that, the government being one "by the people, for the people," they were perfectly justified in removing themselves from it if they concluded that it no longer served the people to the fullest extent. Furthermore, many Northerners were willing to allow slavery to continue--though not necessarily to expand into new territory--in the interest of preserving the Union. To blame the secession upon inept politicians would be incorrect; for every Southern Congressman who believed that secession was the answer, there were a score of others who realized that secession was puerile and short-sighted at best, and could lead to nothing but problems for either side.Compromises had been made on the issue of slavery as early as 1778, when a clause was written into the Constitution which ordered that the slave trade not continue past the year 1808. However, from the earliest attempts at creating a Union of the severed British colonies, there were complaints that a Constitution which gave power to a federal government would in...

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