Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Causes of the Civil War

Causes of the Civil War

James F. Epperson
For ages 9 to 12
OTTN Publishing, 2005   ISBN: 978-1595560025

Manassas, Bull Run, Shiloh, Gettysburg. These are all names that many people identify with that terrible conflict that we call the American Civil War or the War Between the States. What many people don't think about is what events brought the country to such a state that it declared war on itself. Some think that war broke out because the South was unwilling to outlaw slavery. Though this was indeed one of the reasons why the war came about, it is not the only one. The story of the years that lead up to the war is a fascinating one, a complex one, and in this book the author tells the story in a compelling way, helping his readers to see for themselves how a whole series of events culminated in those fateful shots that were fired on Fort Sumpter in April of 1861.

It was not just slavery that was at issue; it was also the fact that many states did not like to feel that someone else had the right and the power to tell them what to do. If they wanted to have slavery, they felt that they had the right to do so. Certainly they felt that do-gooder Northerners had no business poking their noses into the affairs of Southern states. Then there was the battle over which new states would allow slavery and which wouldn't. Southerners resented others telling them that what was a way of life for them was wrong. Why shouldn't the new states allow slavery?

Added to this already highly charged situation was the financial component. The South did not have the industrial prosperity which enriched the North and they certainly could not afford to have tarrifs levied upon the goods that they imported. And yet, once again, Northern politicians were insisting that tarrifs were necessary. Here was another example of state's rights being overruled by the will of the Federal Government.

With great skill the author weaves together this fascinating story from history, a story which will help readers see why civil war broke out when it did and why both sides fought so fiercely for so long to defend what they believed in.