In the South, slavery was becoming an outdated method of agricultural production as industrialization was taking hold. Similar economies in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe had already abandon the practice of slavery and there was no reason to believe that the US would not soon follow. However, by 1860 events and policies enacted since the nations birth had moved the US to the brink of civil war. If slavery was not really at the heart of Americas motivation for going to war, then what were the reasons? The reasons why nations go to war are usually various and complicated, and the American Civil War is not an exception. Although the main reason which provoked the two sides in the Civil war was slavery, three different aspects of the impact of slavery were at the center of the disagreements. These aspects are political, economic, and social.
Slavery was certainly a moral issue in regards to the Civil War and was always a contributing influence to the multiple causes of war. Since Americas inception its leaders, such as Thomas Jefferson, well understood that slavery must soon be abolished. In an 1805 letter to William Burwell, Jefferson wrote, "The value of the slave is every day lessening; his burden on his master daily increasing. Interest is therefore preparing the disposition to be just; and this will be goaded from time to time by the insurrectionary spirit of the slaves".1 However, the founding fathers failed to include slavery in the original documents. In addition, the Federation was designed as a weak federal government with significant states rights. States rights, a central issue of the Civil War, had been heavily debated since the Continental Congress. The Articles of Confederation, the first US Constitution, confirmed that the Federal government should be weak and the states should retain their individual power.2 The need to abolish slavery, and the weak federal system helped perpetuate the issue towards ultimate war.
The conflicting goals