How did slavery cause the civil war essay

The relationship between slavery and the American Civil War is complex and multifaceted. While it’s impossible to cover all the nuances in a single essay, here’s a general structure and key points you can consider when writing an essay about how slavery caused the Civil War:


  • Provide a brief overview of the historical context, setting the stage for the Civil War.
  • Introduce the central thesis that slavery played a pivotal role in causing the Civil War.


  • Briefly explain the economic, social, and political importance of slavery in the Southern United States during the 19th century.
  • Highlight the differences between the Northern and Southern states in terms of their economic systems, labor practices, and attitudes toward slavery.

Expansion of Slavery:

  • Discuss the westward expansion of the United States and the controversies over whether new territories would allow or prohibit slavery.
  • Mention significant events like the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which exposed the deep divisions over the expansion of slavery.

Sectionalism and Political Tensions:

  • Explain how the issues of slavery and its expansion led to growing sectionalism between the Northern and Southern states.
  • Discuss the emergence of political parties that aligned along regional lines, such as the emergence of the Republican Party as an anti-slavery party.

Economic Factors:

  • Detail the economic dependence of the Southern agrarian economy on slave labor for its cotton production and other industries.
  • Explain how the North’s industrialized economy had become less reliant on slavery and more focused on wage labor.

Moral and Social Factors:

  • Explore the growing abolitionist movement in the North, driven by moral concerns about the institution of slavery.
  • Discuss the Underground Railroad, abolitionist literature, and key figures like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin:

  • Analyze the impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” on public opinion, both in the North and abroad.
  • Explain how the novel exposed the cruelties of slavery and contributed to increased anti-slavery sentiment.

John Brown’s Raid:

  • Discuss John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry and its significance in escalating tensions between North and South.
  • Explain how the incident further polarized the nation and highlighted the increasingly violent disagreements over slavery.

Election of Abraham Lincoln:

  • Detail how the election of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican and anti-slavery candidate, played a role in pushing Southern states toward secession.
  • Explain how Southern states viewed Lincoln’s election as a threat to their way of life and their institution of slavery.

Secession and the Start of the Civil War:

  • Describe the secession of Southern states following Lincoln’s election and his inauguration.
  • Explain how the secession crisis led to the eventual outbreak of hostilities at Fort Sumter, marking the beginning of the Civil War.


  • Summarize the key points made in the essay about how slavery was a major factor in causing the Civil War.
  • Reiterate the thesis that the divisive issue of slavery, driven by economic, social, political, and moral factors, ultimately contributed to the eruption of the conflict.

Remember, this is a simplified outline and the topic is vast. Be sure to conduct thorough research, use reliable sources, and provide evidence to support your arguments throughout the essay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *