It’s easy to forget to look at the civil war from both sides, especially when we live in Chicago. Reading primary sources and other historians help us see different point of view, but it is still hard to every get a concrete answer to the question: Who started the civil wer? Is it the North, who forced their beliefs on the South? Or is it the South, who made a radical change by seceding?
There are countless moments that can point to either the North or the South being at fault. Can we even determine who made the first act of aggression at For Sumpter? The North sent down their troops “peacefully” and the South stood up for themselves by kicking the North out. Is there really anything wrong with that?
By looking at blame as a spectrum, it’s easier to pinpoint the cause of the civil war. It was not solely the North or South’s fault, it was a common mentality on both sides. The distrust of the other party. It was the lack of national parties that knit the country together. John Green even said, “The North continued to fear that the country was being controlled by the slaveholding South,” (crash course #20). A country cannot govern itself when half of the country doesn’t trust it’s other half. It’s impossible.
The cause of the civil war was not one event, it was not the moral differences regarding racism, it wasn’t even Lincoln moving the Union army to Fort Sumter. It was actually a distrust and paranoia shared by both sides. The South seceded because they thought they would better be able to protect their rights. The north was angered any time a Southerner won office. They weren’t thinking straight and instead of looking at all that the North and the South shared, they focused on their differences and the reasons why the country would fail. The pride, paranoia, and distrust built during the half a century leading to war and was all let loose by the first gunshot.
American Pageant Version 11