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Some say simplistically that the Civil War was fought over slavery. Unfortunately, there is no "simple" reason. The causes of the war were a complex series of events, including slavery, that began long before the first shot was fired. Competing nationalisms, political turmoil, the definition of freedom, the preservation of the Union, the fate of slavery and the structure of our society and economy could all be listed as significant contributing factors in America's bloodiest conflict.

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14y ago
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13y ago

The widening gulf between North and South, as the North tried to protect its manufacturing base by levying taxes on the goods the slave-owning South needed to import, having almost no manufacturing industry of its own.

The South wanted to improve its position by extending its slave empire to the West, but Congress was increasingly reluctant to allow slavery in these territories, and there had to be compromises to appease the South when new states were declared free soil.

These compromises eventually failed, the biggest obstacle being the admission of California as free soil. To get the South to agree to this, Congress promised to employ official slave-catchers to hunt down runaways and return them to their owners.

This enraged the Abolitonists and caused Harriet Beecher Stowe to write 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. It was one of several emotive triggers that raised the temperature of the slavery debate through the 1850's, and eventually led to war.

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Q: What caused the American Civil War.?
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