The American Civil War, widely known in the United States as simply the Civil War as well as other sectional names, was a civil war fought from 1861 to 1865 to determine the survival of the Union or independence for the Confederacy. Among the 34 states in January 1861, seven Southern slave states individually declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy, often simply called the South, grew to include eleven states, and although they claimed thirteen states and additional western territories, the Confederacy was never diplomatically recognized by any foreign country. The states that remained loyal and did not declare secession ...view middle of the document...
I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." The first six to secede had the highest proportions of slaves in their populations, a total of 48.8 percent for the six. Outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan and the incoming Republicans rejected secession as illegal. Lincoln's inaugural address declared his administration would not initiate civil war. Eight remaining slave states continued to reject calls for secession. Confederate forces seized numerous federal forts within territory claimed by the Confederacy. Efforts at compromise failed, and both sides prepared for war. The Confederates assumed that European countries were so dependent on "King Cotton" that they would intervene; none did and none recognized the new Confederate States of America.
Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter. While in the Western Theater the Union made significant permanent gains, in the Eastern Theater, battle was inconclusive in 1861–62. The autumn 1862 Confederate campaigns into Maryland and Kentucky failed, dissuading British intervention. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which made ending slavery a war goal.
Causes of secession
The causes of the Civil War were complex and have been controversial since the war began. James C. Bradford wrote that the issue has been further complicated by historical revisionists, who have tried to offer a variety of reasons for the war. Slavery was the central source of escalating political tension in the 1850s. The Republican Party was determined to prevent any spread of slavery, and many Southern leaders had threatened secession if the Republican candidate, Lincoln, won the 1860 election. After Lincoln won without carrying a single Southern state, many Southern whites felt that disunion had become their only option, because they thought that they were losing representation, which would hamper their ability to promote pro-slavery acts and policies.
Contemporary actors, the Union and Confederate leadership and fighting soldiers on both sides believed that slavery caused the Civil War. Union men mainly believed the war was to emancipate the slaves. Confederates fought to protect southern society, and slavery as an integral part of it. From the anti-slavery perspective, the issue was primarily about whether the system of slavery was an anachronistic evil that was incompatible with Republicanism in the United States. The strategy of the anti-slavery forces was containment — to stop the...