The Civil War...Was it Really Civil?

What do you really know about the civil war? Chances are you don't know a lot, and what you do know probably isn't all that accurate.  Let's take a moment to dive a little deeper into the conflict that helped to forge a nation.  It's called the Civil War, but it really wasn't so civil.  

Does this video make you question some things you thought you knew about the Civil War?  Click on the button to take the Civil War Quiz...think you know the answers?

The Causes of the Civil War

Ask scholars what caused the Civil War and you will get many different answers.  The thing is that they are probably all correct.  A war doesn't usually start over one issue.  Getting into a situation that causes 800,000 Americans to die is a pretty serious thing.  Here are the main issues.

Unfair Taxation

The history and economy of the North were very different from those of the South. Factories developed in the North, while large cotton plantations developed in the South. The Southern plantation owners relied on slave labor for economic success. Their crops were sold to cotton mills in England, and the ships returned with cheap manufactured goods produced in Europe. By the early 1800s, Northern factories were producing many of those same goods, and Northern politicians were able to pass heavy taxes on imported goods from Europe so that Southerners would have to buy goods from the North.

State's Rights

Southerners felt that the Federal government was passing laws, such as import taxes, that treated them unfairly. They believed that individual states had the right to "nullify", or overturn, any law the Federal government passed. They also believed that individual states had the right to leave the United States and form their own independent country. Most people in the North believed that the concepts of "nullification" and "states' rights" would make the United States a weaker country and were against these ideas.


Meanwhile, in the North, many religious groups worked hard to end slavery in the United States. They were morally opposed to the idea that one person could "own" another. Abolitionists in the North wrote books, published newspapers spreading their ideas about slavery, and often assisted slaves to freedom when they ran away from their masters. Southerners believed that abolitionists were attacking their way of life and that the Federal government was not doing enough to protect their "property" from running away. Southerners were also concerned that new states were entering the Union that did not permit citizens to own slaves, because the more "free" states that entered the Union, the weaker Southerners' influence in the Federal government would become.

Slavery Today?

Slavery has been outlawed in this country for many years now.  Is this a problem that still exists?  Does it still occur in this country? Why do you think it exists in other parts of the world?  Check out the map below and respond to the questions below using your Google classroom assignment entitled "Slavery Today."

Something Fun

Do you know this song?  You might want to know it...the Union Soldiers did.

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