What were the causes of the Civil War?

On April 15, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln called on the governors of the states than not in rebellion to provide 75,000 soldiers to suppress “unlawful combinations” then existing in the South, i.e. the southern states then in secession.

The responses of the governors of the Upper South (slave states which had not yet seceded from the Union), who controlled their respective militias, are illustrative. To this request, Governor Claiborne F. Jackson, then-govern of Missouri, replied: “Your requisition in my judgment is illegal, unconstitutional and revolutionary in its object, inhuman, and diabolical, and cannot be complied with. Not one man will the state of Missouri furnish to carry on such an unholy crusade”.

Governor John Letcher of Virginia stated flatly that “The militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have now in view namely, to crush the Confederacy.” Governor John W. Ellis of North Carolina responded quite bluntly, saying “You can get no troops from North Carolina.” Governor Isham G. Harris vowed that “Tennessee will not furnish a single man for purpose of coercion. In such unholy crusade no gallant son of Tennessee will ever draw his sword.” “In answer to your requisition for troops from Arkansas to subjugate the Southern States. I have to say that none will be furnished” was the reply of Henry M. Rector.

The Maryland legislature resolved that President Lincoln should stop the war against the South and recognize the independence of the Confederacy. Finally, Governor Beriah Magoffin, replied: “I say emphatically Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States”. These Upper South states were seemingly in one accord. All of them, to some degree, defied President Lincoln to force them to take up arms against their southern brethren.

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