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Civil War


 A more appropriate name for the conflict between the American South of 1861 and the States remaining in the United States would be "The War Between The States"  according to the Congressional Record of March 2, 1928.

It is a more accurate term because most dictionaries define "Civil War" as: a violent conflict between organized groups within a country that are fighting over control of the government, one side's separatist goals, or some divisive government policy.

The Southern States had seceded from the United States which was constitutionally legal per the 10th Amendment, which states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Opinions on the sovereign right of citizens and states prior to 1861were expressed by many of the founding fathers and political leaders including Abraham Lincoln.

A few examples:

From Lincoln: 

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it." (1838)

 

"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better.  This is a most valuable, most sacred right- a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world.  Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to excercise it.  Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize and make their own, of so much territory as the inhabit." 

Other opinions:
(1848)

"If you bring these leaders to trial, it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution, secession is not a rebellion. His [Jefferson Davis] capture was a mistake. His trial will be a greater one. We cannot convict him of treason."

-- Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, 1867


John Quincy Adams, speaking before the New York Historical Society in 1839, on the 50th Anniversary of Washington's inauguration as President of the United States, said:  "To the people alone there is reserved as well the dissolving as the constituent power, and that power can be exercised by them only under the tie of conscience binding them to the retributive justice of Heaven. With those qualifications we may admit the right as vested in the people of every State of the Union with reference to the General Government which was exercised by the people of the United Colonies with reference to the supreme head of the British Empire of which they formed a part, and under these limitations have the people of each State of the Union a right to secede from the Confederated Union itself."


Wth regard to causes of the war, they were many. Again a few opioions:

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that." Abraham Lincoln

"The sole object of this war is to restore the union. Should I become convinced it has any other object, or that the Government designs using its soldiers to execute the wishes of the Abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier I would resign my commission and carry my sword to the other side." Ulysses S. Grant "

"The war between the North and the South is a tariff war. The war is further not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for sovereignty."--Karl Marx

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