Southern Secession and the Causes for the Civil War

1025 Words4 Pages
The issue of Southern secession and the causes for the Civil War have been immensely debated, researched, and written on. An analysis of just a small portion of these historical and sociological works reveals that just about every approach and position on the topic has been explored. Yet still today, nearly 150 years later, historians continue to find new ways to answer this age old question—why did the South secede? The debate continues as authors seek to make sense of the primary documentation from that era, often forming conclusions that seem to contradict one another. Why does such a debate exist when there is so much primary source material and early analysis available to us? One answer I propose is that like many diverse and complicated issues there often equally diverse and complicated agendas, interests, and apprehensions about the issue. This is certainly one of those issues. Often the American Civil War is portrayed as a conflict between two entities: the North and the South. One very good secondary source by William W. Freehling, The Road to Disunion, Volume II: Secessionists Triumphant 1854-1861 shows us what a drastic oversimplification this idea is. Here we are shown what a diverse group of interests the “South” really were. The different sections of the South had varying degrees of investment into the institution of slavery and by extension varying degrees of interest in secession. Even within the Deep South States, there were those who wanted to avoid
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