High-Profile Men of the American Civil War

No issue dominates the history of early eighteenth and nineteenth century America like the problem of slavery. It is amazing that even today, over 130 years after the Civil War started, there is still passionate debate regarding the “cause” of the Civil War. The curious thing is that although slavery was the moral issue of the nineteenth century that divided the political leaders of the land, the average American had very little interest in slaves or slavery. Most Southerners were small farmers that could not afford slaves. Most Northerners were small farmers or tradesmen that had never even seen a slave. But political leaders on both sides were very interested in slaves and slavery. Leaders from the south argued that the Southern plantation was a benevolent and paternal institution, where Southern slave-owners generally behaved with fatherly concern toward their slaves (southern gentlemen). Political leaders from the north believed that slavery was a profit-oriented system, a capitalistic institution that was flourishing, not dying at the time of the Civil War. They saw slavery as a systematic method of controlling and exploiting labor. Whatever the case, the reasons a nation goes to war are usually varied and complicated, and the American Civil War is no exception. This essay will attempt to depict the differing views on what truly caused the Civil War, whether it was slavery, economic circumstances, or political issues.
The following persons support the theory that slavery was the cause of the Civil War:
A historian who has a respected opinion about the Southern Slave Powers, Russell B. Nye believes that this southern mentality should not be underestimated.These Slave Powers were soon to become important in the North, where it helped to build up several anti-slavery settlements.Many abolitionists believed that the Slave Powers were simply exercised by a few southern slave owners and in no way compared to the other millions o…

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