It is astonishing how deeply divided those who argue about the root cause(s) of the Civil War continue to be. In one sense there’s been a flip-flop among the original antagonists. The descendants of those who in the 1850s argued so vociferously for the right to maintain slavery, today argue just as strongly that “No, it wasn’t slavery – it was about states rights!”
One can tour the Internet and contemporary landscape for the battlefields in this ongoing war. One site which hosts a rhetorically bloody field of open fire is www.CivilWarTalk.com. One side wrote:
The idea of “fighting for State’s Rights” is part of the semantics used by Southern sympathizers to act as a euphemism for slavery. Most people must have realized that the idea of owning people is an evil in itself and used other expressions to describe slavery to soften its true meaning, that “peculiar institution” being one of them.
I cannot see any other reason to divide the country so violently at that time as the issue of slavery. In the country’s history that has really been the only outstanding issue which threatened the dissolution of the union. The simple idea of slavery was at complete odds with the philosophies that were used to found this nation.
via Slavery; THE Cause?.