Reasons For Secession

1079 Words5 Pages
Reasons to secede
Though there could be listed many reasons why the southern states chose to secede. As stated in the introduction of this paper, the primary one that many historians refer to is slavery. This paper will explain why slavery was such a big reason for the secession. In addition to that, it will examine two other reasons, namely, economy and the rights of states. Of course, these are linked to slavery, and all the reasons will be more of a continuation of each other, and are simply different aspects of the same answer.

Slavery
When explaining the reasons for the secession, slavery must be included as an essentail factor. As described earlier, slavery and the right to slavery was the main thing that fueled tensions between the
…show more content…
This debate was all about the rights of the (white) people. A South Carolina politician, John S. Preston, demonstrates this view well when he in 1860 said: “Slavery is our king,…Slavery is our truth, slavery is our divine right”. The right to slavery was something divine, constituted by God and unchangeable by man.
Another principle that went along with this, was the long held belief that black slaves were inherently inferior to whites. Slaves had to be dehumanized for the slaveowners to rationalize what they were doing, and therefore, as is commonly known, slave brutality was severe. The thought of emancipation, that slaves would no longer be suppressed in the South lead to fear for uprising, vengeance, etc. on the then former slave owners. These uprisings had happened before and the southern slave owners were terrified of what would happen if they weren't being suppressed. Emancipation would also mean that slaves would become free and citizens on equal standing with the whites. This was also a cause of fear of what southern society would become. South Carolina politician, J. D. Ashmore wrote the day before the election of this
…show more content…
There were other factors and incentives that drove the anti-slavery supporters. Larry Gara describes this phenomenon:

“While some abolitionists were indignant at the slave system and what it did to black men, many more northerners became anti-southern and antislavery because of what the slave system did or threatened to do to them. A failure to recognize this can easily lead us into a blind alley of oversimplification, and to view the events of a hundred years ago as a morality play with heroes and villains rather than a plausible presentation of a human dilemma.”

Gara brings up a good point here. It is important that we don’t view segregation with twentieth century goggles. Racism was with no doubt present on both sides, but neither side would have gone to the extremes that they did over a dispute of how ‘human’ slaves were. Racism prevailed after the Civil War, which was not about racism, but simply slavery. The Civil war was not about fighting for blacks to be viewed as equal to whites in the way of civil rights, but about southern power spreading throughout the American
Open Document