The civil war was triggered by both the economics and the immorality of slavery
tvb wrote:The governor of Virginia, after realizing he had totally alienated any black vote and any vote from reasonable people of his commonwealth, apparently agrees with me that it was all about slavery.
, among other events. But, to be sure, Lincoln made it clear that despite his adherence to the Republican plank against slavery, his primary role was to preserve the union
. The north assailed the immorality of slavery while the south defended the economic institution of slavery, both through the assertion of state's rights. The war started as the result of the northern states asserting their moral inclinations by ignoring their duty to honor slave states in matters of chattel and rendition (i.e. ignoring The Fugitive Slave Act).
While the moral superiority of the north on slavery would have eventually won out due to its historical political trajectory, federal laws were not yet in place to support the northern state's actions against the south thus the north were
indeed aggressors. In my opinion, a failure to amend the Constitution to end slavery caused the war.
The south didn't have the votes to hold on to slavery. I believe it was a failure of congressional leadership. In the absence of such an amendment the south was rightfully exercising its state rights and the northern states, doing the same
, passed anti-slavery laws. The problem was that the north didn't honor rendition. It was an issue of interstate commerce in one sense and property rights in another to the south. However, no moral argument lacking the force of law would change the existing legal rights of the South to slave ownership, despite Federal laws stopping the slave trade years earlier. The aggression did belong to the north.
Moral superiority and might were on the side of the north. The north, having 1% blacks in the population compared to 33% of the south's population, didn't fear the economic and social repercussions of abolition. The south's economic wealth was heavily based on slavery. Cotton was king only
because of slavery. The cotton industry was a unique and lucrative franchise with a huge cash customer in Great Britain's fabric mills. Abolition certainly would be an economic blow to the deep south and one that wouldn't be taken lightly. No one likes their cash cow purloined when it is protected by law. Armed conflict was imminent given such stakes. That the federal government didn't better manage the dissolution of the once legal institution of slavery was an epic failure of our republic.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln_on_slaveryhttp://americanhistory.about.com/od/civ ... il_war.htm