Acton Institute Powerblog

Was the Civil War About Slavery?

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What caused the Civil War? That seems like the sort of simple, straightforward question that any elementary school child should be able to answer. Yet many Americans—including, mostly, my fellow Southerners—claim that that the cause was economic or state’s rights or just about anything other than slavery.

But slavery was indisputably the primary cause, explains Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The abolition of slavery was the single greatest act of liberty-promotion in the history of America. Because of that fact, it’s natural for people who love freedom, love tradition, and love the South to want to believe that the continued enslavement of our neighbors could not have possibly been the motivation for succession. But we should love truth even more than liberty and heritage, which is why we should not only acknowledge the truth about the cause of the war but be thankful that the Confederacy lost and that freedom won.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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