The 10 Causes of the War Between the StatesHistorians have long debated the causes of the war and the Southern perspective differs greatly from the Northern perspective. Based upon the study of original documents of the War Between The States (Civil War) era and facts and information published by Confederate Veterans, Confederate Chaplains, Southern writers and Southern Historians before, during, and after the war, I present the facts, opinions, and conclusions stated in the following article.
by James W. King
by James W. King
Technically the 10 causes listed are reasons for Southern secession. The only cause of the war was that the South was invaded and responded to Northern aggression.
I respectfully disagree with those who claim that the War Between the States was fought over slavery or that the abolition of slavery in the Revolutionary Era or early Federal period would have prevented war. It is my opinion that war was inevitable between the North and South due to complex political and cultural differences. The famous Englishman Winston Churchill stated that the war between the North and South was one of the most unpreventable wars in history. The Cause that the Confederate States of America fought for (1861-1865) was Southern Independence from the United States of America. Many parallels exist between the War for American Independence ( 1775-1783 ) and the War for Southern Independence.
There were 10 political causes of the war (causes of Southern Secession) ---one of which was slavery-- which was a scapegoat for all the differences that existed between the North and South. The Northern industrialists had wanted a war since about 1830 to get the South's resources ( land-cotton- coal-timber- minerals ) for pennies on the dollar. All wars are economic and are always between centralists and decentralists. The North would have found an excuse to invade the South even if slavery had never existed.
A war almost occurred during 1828-1832 over the tariff when South Carolina passed nullification laws. The U.S. congress had increased the tariff rate on imported products to 40% ( known as the tariff of abominations in Southern States ). This crisis had nothing to do with slavery. If slavery had never existed --period--or had been eliminated at the time the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 or anytime prior to 1860 it is my opinion that there would still have been a war sooner or later.
On a human level there were 4 causes of the war--New England Greed--New England Fanatics--New England Zealots--and New England Hypocrites. During "So Called Reconstruction" ( 1865-1877 ) the New England Industrialists got what they had really wanted for 40 years--THE SOUTH'S RESOURCES FOR PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR. It was a political coalition between the New England economic interests and the New England fanatics and zealots that caused Southern secession to be necessary for economic survival and safety of the population.
1. TARIFF--Prior to the war about 75% of the money to operate the Federal Government was derived from the Southern States via an unfair sectional tariff on imported goods and 50% of the total 75% was from just 4 Southern states--Virginia- North Carolina--South Carolina and Georgia. Only 10%--20% of this tax money was being returned to the South. The Southern states were being treated as an agricultural colony of the North and bled dry. John Randolph of Virginia's remarks in opposition to the tariff of 1820 demonstrates that fact. The North claimed that they fought the war to preserve the Union but the New England Industrialists who were in control of the North were actually supporting preservation of the Union to maintain and increase revenue from the tariff. The industrialists wanted the South to pay for the industrialization of America at no expense to themselves. Revenue bills introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to the War Between the States were biased, unfair and inflammatory to the South. Abraham Lincoln had promised the Northern industrialists that he would increase the tariff rate if he was elected president of the United States. Lincoln increased the rate to a level that exceeded even the "Tariff of Abominations" 40% rate that had so infuriated the South during the 1828-1832 era ( between 50 and 51% on iron goods). The election of a president that was Anti-Southern on all issues and politically associated with the New England industrialists, fanatics, and zealots brought about the Southern secession movement.
2. CENTRALIZATION VERSUS STATES RIGHTS---The United States of America was founded as a Constitutional Federal Republic in 1789 composed of a Limited Federal Government and Sovereign States. The North wanted to and did alter the form of Government this nation was founded upon. The Confederate States of America fought to preserve Constitutional Limited Federal Government as established by America’s founding fathers who were primarily Southern Gentlemen from Virginia. Thus Confederate soldiers were fighting for rights that had been paid for in blood by their forefathers upon the battlefields of the American Revolution. Abraham Lincoln had a blatant disregard for The Constitution of the United States of America. His War of aggression Against the South changed America from a Constitutional Federal Republic to a Democracy ( with Socialist leanings ) and broke the original Constitution. The infamous Socialist Karl Marx sent Lincoln a letter of congratulations after his reelection in 1864. A considerable number of European Socialists came to America and fought for the Union (North).
3. CHRISTIANITY VERSUS SECULAR HUMANISM--The South believed in basic Christianity as presented in the Holy Bible.The North had many Secular Humanists ( atheists, transcendentalists and non-Christians ). Southerners were afraid of what kind of country America might become if the North had its way. Secular Humanism is the belief that there is no God and that man,science and government can solve all problems. This philosophy advocates human rather than religious values. Reference : Frank Conner’s book "The South Under Siege 1830-2000."
4. CULTURAL DIFFERENCES- -Southerners and Northerners were of different Genetic Lineages. Southerners were primarily of Western English (original Britons),Scottish, and Irish linage (Celtic) whereas Northerners tended to be of Anglo-Saxon and Danish (Viking) extraction. The two cultures had been at war and at odds for over 1000 years before they arrived in America. Our ancient ancestors in Western England under King Arthur humbled the Saxon princes at the battle of Baden Hill ( circa 497 AD --516 AD ). The cultural differences that contributed to the War Between the States (1861-1865 ) had existed for 1500 years or more.
5. CONTROL OF WESTERN TERRITORIES- -The North wanted to control Western States and Territories such as Kansas and Nebraska. New England formed Immigrant Aid Societies and sent settlers to these areas that were politically attached to the North. They passed laws against slavery that Southerners considered punitive. These political actions told Southerners they were not welcome in the new states and territories. It was all about control--slavery was a scapegoat.
James W. King
Commander Camp 141
Lt. Col. Thomas M. Nelson
Sons of Confederate Veterans