When we think of the American Civil War there are two general schools of thought regarding the principal cause of the war. The first, and most prominent, especially from the Northern perspective, is Slavery was the primary cause of the war. The second, and most prominent from the Southern perspective is the war was over the reach of the Federal Government into the rights of the individual States.
The reality is there were many factors that contributed to the failure of diplomacy resulting in bloodshed and hardship on a scale never before seen by this nation as a percentage of the population. The North fought for preservation of the Union (primary) as well as to free the slaves (secondary). Likewise, the reality is the majority of the "State's Rights" fought for by the South revolved around the "peculiar institution" of Slavery, especially as property. In this section are documents and resources providing insight into the various topics which led to the political disagreements, disagreements which the bounds of compromise failed to contain.
Beginning with the protection of slavery as an institution provided for in the United States Constition, the debate ranged back and forth from the right of an individual to be free once outside the boundary of a slave holding state, the definition of a person as property, the right to take said "property" to territories of the United States not yet formed as States, etc. Involved in these debates were economic policy, legistative representation as voting power, religion, State's Rights, sectionalism, etc.
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