Was the Civil War justified for the north to fight?

Last updated: June 29, 2016

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest conflicts in american history. It began with the secession of seven southern states, in 1861, and continued for four years. The Southern states thought that the removal of slavery was an outrage, and would die over it. The North wanted to free the slaves and keep the Union together. The destructive force behind the Civil War caused a lot beneficial change in the United States of America. The Union preserved itself and ended slavery in the nation.

Was the Civil War justified for the north to fight?
Yes because...

Ethnic cleansing and slaves

So the North hand very little need for slaves because once they were populated with factories and building to help mas produce things. They realized how they shouldn't be using/keeping slaves anymore because they had no use for it and how it was wrong. The South on the other hand really wanted to keep their slaves to work in the fields. When the North tried to get rid of it the Confederacy seceded, another reason the war was fought was to keep the Americas and the union together. The North felt the right to free the slaves but the Southern that states that disagreed did not feel the want to do such a thing so they ceceded. They also didn’t want to be a part of the union if that meant giving up their slaves. The Northerners knew that the South no longer need slaves and they could become self sufficient without the enslavement of other humans. It was also wrong to take Africans away from their home and make them get on boats and cross the atlantic to work on southern american plantations. The slaves were treated very badly and inhumane. They had terrible living conditions and were kept in primitive cabins. Another terrible thing was that families that were brought over were split apart by slave traders. After they were freed (slaves that is) they were able to become citizen after a while and could vote and own land so they contributed to the economy and help make America. So this one reason why morally the Civil war was a just and was a good decision to engage in combat to free the slaves so that they could be free and so the Union and confederacy would be a nation together once again so that is that.
No because...

Was the Civil War justified for the north to fight?
Yes because...

Women’s rights

The Civil War increased the roles that were viewed as acceptable for women in society. Women had already participated in industry before the war, including in textiles, clothing, and shoe-making. The war not only bolstered what percentage of the industry was done by women, from a quarter to a third, but it also expanded where women worked. They started to enter into agricultural work, and government civil service. They were also field hospital workers, where they had the closest to direct frontline effect on the war. The American Red Cross was formed as a result of this, an organization that has had a long lasting and far-reaching effect on the world. The South was very similar. Women often had clerical jobs in the confederate government. They became teachers. They were at first denied work as nurses, but the war’s casualties escalated to the point where they were desperately needed to keep soldiers from dying. This was the largest expansion of women’s roles in a long time, perhaps the first in the history of the united states.
No because...

Was the Civil War justified for the north to fight?
Yes because...

Economic growth from Civil War

After the Civil War had been fought and the slaves freed, there was a large change in the south. The free labor force of the slaves had been freed so most of the plantations were closed. But the south did have to be rebuilt, so there was a change from mostly agricultural economy to a more industrial economy. Many places within the south made this change like in West Virginia many coal mines , opened and in Virginia steel factories opened.
No because...

Continue the Debate - Leave a Comment

1 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Notify of

The statement “The North wanted to free the slaves” is incorrect. The majority of people and the federal government, under President Lincoln, had no problem with the South keeping the institution of slavery. What they did oppose was the spread of slavery into new territories/states. This had already started to happen in areas bordering the south. Small landholders could not compete as they had to pay wages to farm workers during harvest and crop planting, and they could not afford to own slaves.

There were numerous violent incidents due to this “difference” of opinion. Lincoln’s government ran on a platform that the spreading of slavery would cease, not because it was fealt slavery was necessarily wrong but because if it spread further it would have an adverse economic impact on the north. This was particularly so if it spread to the areas in the west where mining and ranching were the major sources of income.

Many in the south saw this as thwarting their “God given rights”. The southern politicians, backed by the wealthy plantation owners wanted complete autonomy from the north and thus sesession occured. It was a few years into the war before the annoucement from the north that slavery would be abolished.


That Lincoln was politically ambivalent toward freeing the slaves, I think, cannot be denied. But personally he found slavery immoral and spoke of it often. In one of his speeches he says as much, and in his “Houose Divided” speech he declares that a nation cannot endure half slave and half free.

That he didn’t enter the war to free the slaves is also clear. He said that if he could end the war and not free the slaves he would do it. But he also said that if he could free the slaves and end the war he would do that too. The Emancipation proclamation did not free the slaves in all parts of the US, but only in the parts under rebel control. Since that was almost all the territory of the slave states, it meant the proclamation did free most slaves. But it was done under the rubric of military necessity, not moral obligation.

McPhearson’s single volume history of the Civil War spends a lot of time going over the lead up to the actual fighting, including long sections on the attitudes of the South before the war began. Highly recommenced.

The justification of the South for attempting succession was based upon a faulty view of the Constitution as a contract. It isn’t a contract into which free parties enter, it is a revision of the way one party rules itself. This fundamental mistake continues to give support to many who would conclude that the Civil War was really “The War of Northern Aggression.”

Just a quick thought.