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Causes of the Civil War

Causes of the Civil War

Challenges & Opportunities

Available to teachers only as part of the Teaching Causes of the Civil War Teacher Pass


Teaching Causes of the Civil War Teacher Pass includes:

  • Assignments & Activities
  • Reading Quizzes
  • Current Events & Pop Culture articles
  • Discussion & Essay Questions
  • Challenges & Opportunities
  • Related Readings in Literature & History

Sample of Challenges & Opportunities


Most students have some sense of the Civil War. They know that by 1860 slavery divided the nation and that most Northerners who fought did so to preserve the Union. However, it's still very tempting for students—and others—to take a simplistic view of the war. Either, "It was all about slavery," or "It wasn't about slavery at all." Neither, of course, is correct. 

Our objective here is to track the issues the U.S. faced in 1860 deeper into America’s past. By the end of their reading, students should recognize that the war that broke out in 1861 had a “long fuse” stretching back to the beginnings of the nation, and that policy makers waged an extensive and ultimately unsuccessful fight to contain the fundamental differences between North and South.