I am once again going to argue that the Civil War, or more accurately the War Between the States, was not fought over the issue of slavery. I dont expect to change anybodys mind, but hopefully this wont be dismissed outright. I believe that the war between the states was fought over tariffs, as Ive said before. Lincoln did not recognize the right of the southern states to secede from the Union, and fully intended to wage the Civil War if the southern states would not pay the tariffs and taxes he felt they still owed to the federal government. He stated this in his first Inaugural Address. In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln: First Inaugural Address. U.S. Inaugural Addresses. 1989 The Confederacy fired the first shots when they attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, this is a historical fact. However, lets look at the context of why they attacked Fort Sumter. The south did not attack Fort Sumter until Lincoln attempted to re-supply the fort. Lincoln knew they would not stand for this, because he refused to meet with the Confederacys delegates when Jefferson Davis sent them to Washington to attempt to pay for the souths portion of the national debt and to purchase any federal property left in the south. Lincoln deliberately attempted to re-supply Fort Sumter knowing that the Confederacy would never allow that to happen. Since we have established that Lincoln had every intention of waging war against the south, we can assume that he wanted to provoke the Confederates into attacking first. The reason for this is because a majority of Americans would have, and did, believe in the right of secession. The New England states held a convention to decide whether it would be in their best interest to secede in 1814. They did not debate whether they had the right to do so, and James Madison did not attempt to stop them in any way. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed in the right of secession, as evidenced by their Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. The mayor of New York City wanted to secede from the Union and the state of New York because he realized that protectionism was going to hurt his city the same as it hurt the south. Lincoln needed the south to attack first because he knew that nobody would support his war otherwise. He wanted to invoke the patriotism and national pride of the northern states, and he needed the south to attack for that to happen. The south fought in the war between the states because they believed in their right of self-governance. They believed in this American tradition as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its power in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Declaration of Independence While I am aware that the Declaration has no legal authority, it has the moral authority of the men who founded our nation. The founders believed in the right of self-governance, and it was on that belief that the south chose to secede from a government that they believed was no longer looking out for their best interests. Also, the Constitution does not prohibit the states from seceding, and under the 10th Amendment they retain the right to leave if they wish. The south fought for their independence in the Civil War, no less than the colonies fought for their independence in the Revolutionary War. Lincoln waged the Civil War to force the south back into the Union so that they could pay the tariffs he fully intended to force on them. I know this issue has been discussed many times over on this board, but I hope that some of you are interested in my argument.