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A National Trauma: The Civil War

No event in our national history is as traumatic as the Civil War. If you wish to understand the political, social and cultural divides in modern America, you have to understand the prelude to the Civil War and the war itself. The Civil War divides the nation, over 700,000 Americans would die in the war and the South would be economically ruined. While the institution of slavery was done away with and outlawed, the painful Reconstruction that followed the war would only further divide the country. Two great questions surround the War Between the States, one of them moral and the other one political. With the rosy comfort of 21st Century vision, the moral question of slavery is easily cast as evil. However the political question that continues to vex Americans to this day is whether or not the Southern States had the right to leave the United States and attempt to establish their own nation, the Confederate States of America.
What were the primary causes of the Civil War? Was the secession of the Southern States legal? Was it justified? Could the war have been avoided?

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