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Was slavery the main cause of the civil war essay
For several years now, I have taught institutes on the Civil War for middle and high school teachers in northeast Tennessee as part of a Teaching American History grant. Teaching teachers is quite different than working with college students, as many have master’s degrees and have been teaching American history for decades. They are on the front lines of education and will each educate several thousand students over the course of their careers. In one session, I started with the question, “What caused the Civil War?” The response from most was slavery, but they did not seem entirely convinced or happy about it. The teachers viewed slavery as almost entirely a moral issue, an issue that simultaneously damns the South and completely fails to account for other factors leading to the war. Teachers knew the answer, yes, but they did not know all the complexity behind it.
Why then do so many outside of academia continue to believe that slavery either had little or nothing to do with the conflict? There are certainly some people who will never accept that slavery was central to the Civil War. Eight years of teaching as a professor in East Tennessee, though, has convinced me that those are the exceptions. I think much of the resistance to accepting slavery as the war’s cause comes from how it is explained to students and the public.
Another main cause of the civil war was the political tensions ..
Women might have remained confined to their roles as the "homemakers." Although the Civil War was fought in hopes of preserving the nation and ridding it of slavery, another war raged on within the depths of this war--the women's war....
“What caused the Civil War?” Historians have killed forests trying to answer this deceptively simple question. In a recent essay in The Journal of the Civil War Era, Frank Towers discusses changing interpretations over the last 150 years, finding that starting in the 1960s historians “foregrounded slavery as the war’s cause, situated within a global process of modernization.” And while disagreements continue over how and why, most historians now agree that slavery caused the Civil War.
I myself do believe that slavery was the main cause of the Civil War
For academic historians, of course, slavery connotes a wide range of social, economic, political, and gender issues. Historians have done sophisticated theoretical work on the role of slavery in southern society, yet none of the teachers were familiar with concepts like Herenvolk democracy, paternalism or bourgeois gender ideology. The teachers were also unfamiliar with reasons non-abolitionists in the North would oppose slavery. None saw slavery “situated within a global context of modernization.” This is not to disparage K-12 teachers—far from it. Most scholars know nothing about teaching students with a fifth grade reading level, dealing with discipline problems or coaching football. Crunched for time, overwhelmed by state standards, and lacking resources, it’s impressive that teachers accomplish all that they do. Popular Civil War works like Ken Burn’s documentary and James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom emphasize slavery as a moral issue, not to mention the textbooks in the public schools. The fact is that when these teachers—and maybe most people—hear that slavery was the cause of the Civil War, it is primarily as a moral issue, uncomplicated by the debates of academic historians.
At the time slavery was one of the main issues in America that caused a disagreement between the north and south and these disagreements about humanity and slaves added to the tension that would finally lead to the out break of war.
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