The Causes of the American Civil War (1861-1865)

Historians offer various explanations about the causes of the American Civil War (1861-1865). I do not know much about the subject, and I just want to briefly present the explanation put forward by some Austrian Economists, because it sounds reasonable.

At the time of the American Civil War, the American North was industrialized and it was trying to compete with the European industries. For that reason the North was asking for high tariffs on imports, in order to protect its industries.

On the contrary, the economy of the American South was based on agriculture. Many states were cotton economies that were also using black slaves from Africa, while slavery had been forbidden at the American North and Europe.

The South did not want high tariffs, because they did not want to pay for more expensive manufactured goods from the American North. The American North was not happy with that, and it was demanding the South to abolish slavery, which would however increase the cost of production of cotton.

Χάρτης ΗΠΑ

At the time the South had more influence over the Democrats, and the North had more influence over the Republicans, and therefore most democrats were asking for slavery to be legal and for tariffs to be kept low, while most republicans were asking the opposite.

At the end of 1860 the Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected as President of the United States, and he decided to go ahead with the abolition of slavery and the introduction of high tariffs on imports. Some Southern States decided to leave the United States and form a separate state. The crisis that followed led to the American Civil War of 1861-1865. The North won the war and slavery was abolished while high tariffs were implemented.

“Root Causes”

“Lincoln’s Tariff Wars”

14 thoughts on “The Causes of the American Civil War (1861-1865)”

  1. The North, at no time before the war, demanded the South abolish slavery. There were northern slave states during the war. Slavery was not lawfully abolished until December, 1865, after the war was over.


      1. Personally, I don’t consider Wikipedia to be entirely truthful considering how much BS I know has been put on there and how easily it can be edited to say anything. It’s okay for the basic story and even then, take it with a grain of salt. All the US War Between the States proved was “might makes right”. Kind of like beating your wife to a pulp because she wants a divorce.


  2. The rights of the states were also an issue. The PEOPLE of the United States of America…lost their voice because of the outcome of this war


  3. There was the cotton gin, it would have made slavery very impractical. It was introduced in the South, but for some reason it was rejected. It could have prevented the war simply by being a more efficient way of harvesting cotton than by hand picking. Slaves might have been simply let go if the cotton gin took over.


  4. Missing key points, first, tariffs in 1859 and 1860 were at a low point, far lower than when during Jackson’s presidency South Carolina threatened secession. Second, Lincoln hadn’t even taken office yet when the first southern states rebelled and seceded, so Lincoln had no power to enact or put forth legislation on anything yet. The civil war was caused by the southern states seceding. If you want to know why they seceded, they made it easy, they wrote their reasons in each states articles of secession.


  5. The confederacy was not about slavery? Tell that to its leaders: “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.” –“Corner Stone” Speech, given by Alexander H. Stephens in Savannah, Georgia. March 21, 1861.


  6. Slavery was abolished ONLY in the Southern States that had seceded. The cotton gin did not plant, maintain the plant nor pick the bolls. The salve was always needed until modern history and technology discovered ways to do there three tasks.
    Lincoln “freed” the slaves to reduce the collateral, labor, necessary for the South to repay the financial loan and military arms Britain was about to provide. No labor, no way to produce cotton and thereby, repay the loan. The South had the climate for growth and the coastal ports that could potentially provide the raw materials, broker the finished product, manufacture and ship the goods across the civilized world. Thus… the North would have lose the finished goods enterprise, which was their entire economic-sustenance at the time.


  7. I believe the Southern planters were in hock to the Northeastern banks. Also, the cotton
    spinners of the Northeast probably wanted to keep a lid on the price of cotton. There was plenty of blame to go around, but in my opinion, the balance of blame goes toward the south, in my opinion. Ultimately, it was a slavery issue.


  8. Complete crap and why we have so many problems today. The was was started over high taxes. The war did not end slavery. There was slavery in the north until 1901. This article is a further push of the propaganda that was put out to try to win the moral high ground during the war. Lincoln was killed before he could do any more work, or free all slaves. Only slaves in the rebel states were freed. Also of note, Generals Jackson and Lee did not believe in slavery. Lee and his family educated a group of slaves against the law in Virginia and freed them 2 years before the civil war. This and all articles like it are a result of the demonizing of the South to try to seize the moral high ground. The President of the CSA, J. Davis, was among the less than 10% of the south that owned slaves and he was also among a smaller group that wanted to colonize South America with the use of there labor. This group was a very small percentage of the south, but their persona was used to stereotype the south. Google it and do your own research! Stop the division and madness.


  9. My My some folks need to study slavery had nothing to do with the civil war while Grant burned the South his wife had slaves working their farm in the north this article states there was no slavery in the north most people know very little about slavery or about the south if not raised there and whats being taught in college is almost !oo % garbage and the cotton gin had little to do with slavery the first to have slaves were black folks and the misconception is that everyone had slaves very few people had slaves


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