Summary Of Mark Egnal's The Economic Origins Of The Civil War

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One of America’s most important wars began in 1861 and lasted for four long, brutal years. During this time the Union and the Confederacy, also known as the Northern and Southern states, respectively, fought against each other for what they believed to be their constitutional rights. The Union was led by Abraham Lincoln, the President during this time, while the Confederacy was led by Jefferson Davis. The Civil War resulted in the death of over 500,000 people, more than any other war America has been involved in. Some of the largest, deadliest battles have resulted from this war, including Gettysburg, which alone led to the deaths of over 51,000 soldiers. There are many different opinions on what caused the Civil War, such as the following …show more content…
He starts off by quoting Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address, saying “the slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somewhow, the cause of the war.” Egnal, however, does not agree with Lincoln, and says there are too many unsolved questions for us to assume that the Civil War was only caused by slavery. Some questions he brings up are why some people belonging to the Confederacy were “still willing to rend the union in their defense of slavery,” or why the Union wanted “to restrict the expansion of slavery.” Egnal strongly agrees with James McPherson, someone he believes to be one of the most influential and respected writers. McPherson wrote in his own article “Southern leaders saw their way of life was in jeopardy under a United States government completely in the hands of people who opposed the expansion of slavery and whose leaders branded slavery a moral wrong that must eventually disappear from American society. So they seceded.” Egnal believes that if you really look into what caused the Civil War, and you look at the slavery aspect or its defense as the central issue, Lincoln and the North never did take a side with the slaves, and didn’t free

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