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Causes of the Civil War

The Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865 and suffered more casualties than any other American conflict. The causes of the Civil War were both social and political. One of the primary causes of the Civil War was the dispute over slavery between the northern and southern states. Other causes of the Civil War included the cotton tax and the growing dissention between the industrial north, or the Union, and the southern states, or the Confederacy.

The nation was dividing as South Carolina, followed by other southern states succeeded from the Union. The Civil War was fought during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and he quickly found he could not unite the nation. Shortly after his inauguration, South Carolina withdrew from the Union and by May of 1861, the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter.

Though the dispute over slavery was one of the primary causes of the Civil War, slavery was halted in 1863 with the final Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves. Yet, the war continued for two more years. The Civil War was fought in a series of battles that ended with the Confederacy leader, General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomatox Court House in the spring of 1865. Shortly thereafter, President Lincoln died. In December of that same year, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified.

Despite the social and political causes of the Civil War, it remains a period of great interest to historians as it was the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. While the issues of slavery and the cotton tax were resolved, there were over half a million soldiers who lost their lives and nearly 1.5 times that number to die of disease. Another estimated 50,000 returned home at the end of the Civil War permanently maimed or dismembered.

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