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Causes of the American Civil War

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1 Causes of the American Civil War

2 Essential Question How did certain issues and events cause the civil war?

3 1. Key Vocabulary Civil War: A war fought between people of the same country. Secede: To attempt to leave a political union and form a new nation. Emancipate: To set free. Antebellum: South before the war.

4 Vocabulary cont. State’s Rights: the belief that a state should not be interfered with by the federal government. Union: The union of states. The United States. Confederation: A union of states with a weak central government.

5 The American Civil War SS8H6: Explain the importance of key issues and events that led to the Civil War.

6 2. Fundamental Causes Causes that develop over a long time. Provide an example:

7 3. Economics The North and South had evolved different economies.
The North was more industrialized. The South was agricultural and grew cotton. The South had slavery. The North favored protective tariffs on manufactured goods.

8 Northern Economy

9 Southern Economy

10 4. Slavery Abolitionists in New England wanted to end slavery everywhere in the US. The South had become dependent on slave labor. The war did not start over slavery but the issue became more important as the war went on.

11 5. State’s Rights The South had always been worried about an overly powerful federal/central government (Washington, D.C.). The South believed that the state governments were sovereign within their own borders.

12 6. Western Expansion New states entered the Union as either free or slave. A series of compromises were built around the entry of new states.

13 7. Compromises that preserved the Union until 1860.
Missouri Compromise (1820) Compromise of 1850 (What does it mean to compromise?)

14 Missouri Compromise


16 These compromises kept political power in Congress equally balanced between the sections (regions) on a slave/free basis.

17 8. Nullification Crises: 1832
South Carolina claimed they did not have to follow federal laws. They could in effect nullify a law passed by the federal government. The law they objected to was the tariff on imports of 1830.


19 9. Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854-This Act (law) let the people of the Nebraska Territory (which was split into the new states of Kansas and Nebraska) decide for themselves if they would permit slavery in their states (Popular Sovereignty). This was the beginning of the end.

20 Dred Scott Case 10. Dred Scott Case
Dred Scott was a slave. In 1834 he was taken by his owner to free soil. Scott filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming he was free. Supreme Court ruled against Scott. As property he had no rights. Case raised tensions over slavery issue.

21 These causes happen just before an event and act as a trigger.
11. Immediate Causes These causes happen just before an event and act as a trigger.

22 12. The Election of 1860 Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860 was the trigger event that caused the deep south states to secede. The South feared Lincoln would attempt to end slavery in the South even though he had promised not to do so.


24 13. The South Secedes Because of Lincoln’s election South
Carolina seceded from the union. Georgia also did and eventually 11 southern states formed a new nation; the Confederate States of America. War began at Fort Sumter, South Carolina April 1861.

25 Fort Sumter, S.C.

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