What was the Civil War about?

As we prepare for next year’s Causes of Conflict focus on the Civil War, expect lots of posts here related to that theme.  Our approach encourages inquiry into the theme through multiple lenses:  social, legal, political, geographic, and economic.  Marc Egnal, author of the recently published Clash of Extremes:  The Economic Origins of the Civil War, weighed in on the topic with a concise essay published on the History News Network this week.

The essay concludes:

There’s no event in America’s past that is more important than the Civil War. We must understand this clash if we are to understand our history. Obama’s Presidency presents a chance to rethink the causes of this great conflict. So does today’s failed economy which shapes much of our current politics. Now more than ever we must set aside old myths. Economics more than high moral concerns produced the Civil War.

Read the full piece to consider his argument.


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