Was slavery the cause of the Civil War?
For decades historians have debated the question about how much slavery impacted the Civil War. Although slavery was among the roots of the Civil War other economic, political, and social factors were also largely to blame.
Economically, the North and the South had many sectional differences. Historian, Charles Beard, argued that the Civil War conflict was the clash of two opposing economic systems. While the North based their income on industry, the South relied on commercial farming. This led to economic conflicts between the two sections such as the western farmers desires for free land and the Northerners ambitions for high tariffs. Of course slavery would be part of the economic conflict. The Northerners who wanted to abolish slavery overlooked the Southern plantation owners who needed slavery. However, the root of the Civil War in this argument would be the Industrial Revolution because of the sectional economic differences it created between the North and the South.
It also can be argued that social issues led to the Civil War. Despite popular belief, the Civil War may have not been necessary but a result of the acts of extremists such as John Brown, who butchered five men. Social differences on the views of slavery were one of the reasons slavery as a whole is commonly blamed for the Civil War. The misunderstanding of the humanity of slavery may have been blown out of proportion by northerners who had never witnessed it or perhaps the southerners went to extremes with pushing the buttons of the north were the social causes. Although slavery was on the forefront of social differences the clash of the different ways of life from the north to the south were also to blame. The cultures of rural plantation life being threatened by urban city life or vice versa were another cause of tension between the North and the South.
Political differences between the North and the South also led to conflicts and further sectionalism in the United States. The Civil War can also be viewed as a dispute over the nature of the constitution. The northern abolitionists and free soilers attempted to overturn the original compact of the states by denying the South their natural rights, and the South seceded to defend their rights that were threatened by northern aggression. The Northerners aggressions threatened to take the property of the south, endanger their lives, and deny them of their 9th amendment rights. Politicians who misused their power such as Stephen Douglass were also to blame for the Civil War.
Sectional issues leading to the Civil War were only intensified by slavery. Therefore, slavery was not the main cause of the Civil War but a catalyst. Social, political, and economic factors that caused tensions to rise between the North and the South were mainly to blame for the Civil War.