Top 10 Causes Of The Civil War (SCV Style)

Here is a fun way to start your Tuesday.  According to one SCV Camp Commander here are the top 10 causes of the Civil War.  Surprisingly, slavery did make the cut, but was only "indireclty" involved in the cause of secession and war.  After all, most white Southerners did not own slaves:

I respectfully disagree with those who claim that the War Between the States was fought over slavery or that the abolition of slavery in the Revolutionary Era or early Federal period would have prevented war. It is my opinion that war was inevitable between the North and South due to complex political and personal differences.

My two favorite causes are:

3. CHRISTIANITY VERSUS SECULAR HUMANISM–The South believed in basic Christianity as presented in the Holy Bible.The North had many Secular Humanists ( atheists, transcendentalists and non-Christians ). Southerners were afraid of what kind of country America might become if the North had its way. Secular Humanism is the belief that there is no God and that man,science and government can solve all problems. This philosophy advocates human rather than religious values. Reference : Frank Conner’s book “The South Under Siege 1830-2000.”


6. NORTHERN INDUSTRIALISTS WANTED THE SOUTH’S RESOURCES. The Northern Industrialists wanted a war to use as an excuse to get the South’s resources for pennies on the dollar. They began a campaign about 1830 that would influence the common people of the North and create enmity that would allow them to go to war against the South. These Northern Industrialists brought up a morality claim against the South alleging the evils of slavery. The Northern Hypocrites conveniently neglected to publicize the fact that 5 New England States ( Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New York ) were primarily responsible for the importation of most of the slaves from Africa to America. These states had both private and state owned fleets of ships.

And there you have it.  What’s your favorite cause?

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13 comments… add one
  • Stephen Cave Oct 20, 2010 @ 8:21

    Slavery IS the main cause of the civil war. Historians have proven that many times. It was not just indirectly involed with the war. It had everything to do with slavery.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 20, 2010 @ 8:31

      Historians do pretty much agree on the importance of slavery in explaining secession, but they do not agree on WHY it was important. This is where the interesting work continues to be done. Thanks for the comment.

  • lalala Mar 11, 2007 @ 21:15

    actually bill brown, the northerners DID try to start slave rebellions in the south.. and did so succesfully among blacks in certain plantations. the white owners on the plantations were killed, including the women and children. all of the 10 reasons pretty much actually did start the war, it had almost nothing to do with slavery

  • Take a few moments and read the comments to the original Top Ten article.

    Although most have nothing to do with it, some actually approve/agree with the list. Gives you more of an insight to the Lost Cause mentality and why it still exists.

  • Johnny Whitewater Oct 10, 2006 @ 22:51

    The best reason was Lincoln’s “deceitful” instigation of the firing on Fort Sumter by sending a supply ship. That unarmed ship definitely forced the Confederates to start pulling the lanyards. How about claiming Lincoln wanted war because he refused to meet a Confederate peace delegation sent to negotiate peace between two nations? Or blaming Lincoln for the secession of the Upper Confederacy?

    ^ And this guy accuses slavery of being a scapegoat?

  • Kevin Levin Oct 10, 2006 @ 18:07

    It’s nice to see all of you are enjoying yourselves at the SCV’s expense.

  • Mark Snell Oct 10, 2006 @ 17:09

    This one is my absolute favorite: “Mildred Lewis Rutherford (1852-1928) was for many years the historian for the United Daughters Of The Confederacy (UDC). In her book Truths Of History she stated that there were more slaveholders in the Union Army (315,000) than the Confederate Army (200,000). Statistics also show that about 300,000 blacks supported the Confederacy versus about 200,000 for the Union.” Now we all know that Mildred’s truths can’t be refuted, so I guess you must be wrong, Kevin. God, I love this stuff!!! UhOh, I mentioned God, so now I’ve touched on another sore subject. At least I won’t be accused of being a secular humanist! I’m going to make my class start reading your blog as part of their homework. And David, it’s Hillary’s fault, not Bill’s.

  • David Woodbury Oct 10, 2006 @ 15:34

    Regarding: “3. CHRISTIANITY VERSUS SECULAR HUMANISM” — well, at least they didn’t blame it on Clinton (though I’m sure they labored mightily to find that connection, too).


  • Old Hickory's Weblog Oct 10, 2006 @ 13:46

    Blogging the American Civil War

    I’ve quoted Kevin Levin’s Civil War Memory blog here before. But I wanted to mention it again in particular, because he’s blogging on a regular basis about the historical issues that become part of the Lost Cause, pro-Confederate narrative of the wa…

  • Bill Brown Oct 10, 2006 @ 13:38


    Boy, there is one that I have not heard of in a while. I wonder how those guys would explain Black Confederates in light of this one. Inquiring minds…

  • Hiram Hover Oct 10, 2006 @ 10:51

    My favorite is #4 – “Cultural Differences.”

    The Civil War, it turns out, was really a steel-cage death match between descendants of the Vikings and Celts, out to settle a 1500-year-old score.

  • Kevin Levin Oct 10, 2006 @ 8:58

    Tom, — Thanks again for the comment. I have to say, however, that I have no idea what you are getting at here in terms of understanding secession. Sorry

  • Tom Oct 10, 2006 @ 8:55

    I would say None of the Above…


    # 11-

    “Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means the loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this as of many other evils”

    …the potential loss of 100’s of millions to the Northern economy.

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