The American Civil War (1861-1865) was fought over the distribution of power. Southern states wanted strong state governments. Northern states wanted a strong central government.
The Civil War 1861-1865 for Kids
The American Civil War was not fought over slavery, not in the beginning. War broke out because states in the South and states in the North could not compromise on what rights states had to govern themselves.
States in the South wanted strong state governments. They did not want Congress telling them what to do. They wanted individual states to have the right to decide major issues for themselves.
States in the North wanted a strong central government. They wanted Congress to decide major issues. They wanted individual states to obey any laws created by Congress, even if those laws were in conflict with laws created by individual states.
By 1861, the Union (northern states) and the Confederacy (southern states) were at war over the issue, not of slavery but of states' rights, although slavery certainly was at the heart of things.
Events Leading Up to the Civil War
Army & Camp Life
Civil War Navy and Air Force
The Home Front
Reconstruction, What happened after the Civil War was over? (1865-1877)
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