The Causes of the Civil War

Regional and racial identity trumped other identity

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Regional and racial identity trumped other identity.

1844 The Methodist Episcopal Church split into North and South branches over weather a slave owner could be elected as a Bishop. The split continued until 1939.
1845 The Baptist Church split over whether a slave owner could become a missionary.
A vote for Bell & vote for Douglas was a vote against secession. Bell supporters clearly did not want secession. It was not in the plank supported by Bell.
THROUGHT THIS TIME PERIOD THERE WAS A QUESTION OF Identity - What did it mean to be a Southerner?
Pro slavery group said that we take care of the poor, the subordinate group. While you northerners only turn them out to starve.
Then Northerner said – you are right BUT – there is the “free labor” argument which says that we do indeed do that but at least these people will never be slaves. They will not be sold and children will not be taken from their mother’s breast and husbands and wives will not be separated.
Things even got so bad that Secretary of State Seward wanted to begin a foreign war to reunite North and South against a foreign enemy. (Parallel to Iraq invasion)
1830’s the older generation of Southerners – i.e... The Jeffersonian and Madison supporters and others was disappearing ant the new generation of Southerner was emerging as strong defender of slavery. The older generation of constitutional supporters truly thought that the institution would indeed die out.

  • To this new generation of Southerner, removing the South from the Union would protect it from the Yankee agitators and the best way to save the institution of slavery.

  • Northern industrialization = increased workers both foreign and domestic and as a result the North had a much higher population which then gave them greater representation which in turn meant a Northern Agenda in the Congress.

  • For many of those in the South they were true Jeffersonian – for them a yeoman society was the best.

  • Events in the north especially this influx of foreigners was resulting in a low class and a racially polluted society. Only 5% of the women worked outside of the home and most of them out of necessity and many for only a short period until they were married.


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