• Who were the opposing sides in the American Civil War
The American Civil War was a very bloody conflict between the Northern states (the Union) and the eleven Southern states that had seceded from the Union and which had formed the Confederacy.
• Causes of the Civil War
Historians are unable to agree on the basic causes of the American Civil War because there were so many different complex elements such as economic, political, social and psychological.
There had long been differences between the North and the South but they steadily grew stronger. At that time the South was predominantly agricultural, with a social order and economy based on plantations and slavery, whereas the North was more advanced both commercially and industrially.
Hostility between the two sides was most obvious over the issue of whether slavery should be abolished or extended in the federal territories in the West, which became more pronounced with the advent of the abolitionists in the 1830s.
It wasn't possible to adapt slavery in the territories, which made the South more concerned about keeping its position as an equal in the Union. Southerners strongly supported Texas being annexed because there was no doubt that it would be a slave state, and the Mexican War.
1852 saw the deaths of leaders Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, leaving only sectional spokesmen both in the North and the South. Arguments over fugitive slave laws heightened passions, which were made worse by the actions of Northern abolitionist John Brown and the proslavery words of Southern William L. Yancey.
Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency in 1860 led to South Carolina seceding from the Union, followed by Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana.