The American Civil War - American History for kids

American Civil War

In the 1850s AD, white people in the southern part of the United States were getting more and more angry with rich people who lived in the North. One reason was that these northern rich people were getting richer from new factories they were building, and the southern rich people were not.

Slaves in Alabama
Men and women and kids working as slaves in Alabama (1861)
Poor people were coming from all over Europe to work in the northern factories, but they didn't come to the South, so in the South rich land-owners still forced African-American people to work as slaves in their big cotton and tobacco fields. People in the North wanted to make the southern land-owners free these people, because they thought slavery was unfair. The African-Americans thought that sounded good. But the Southern land-owners were afraid that ending slavery would just make the South even poorer, and the North would still be rich. That seemed unfair to them. Poor white people in the South also didn't like the idea that Northerners would tell them what to do.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

In 1860, the men who could vote elected Abraham Lincoln to be president (but no women, or people who had recently arrived in the United States, or Native Americans, or enslaved African-Americans were allowed to vote). Lincoln was a northerner, and he saw things in a Northern way. This made the southern people so angry and afraid that they decided to split off from the United States and form their own country, which they called the Confederacy.

Here's a good video explaining major issues of the Civil War

The states of Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee were in the Confederacy, and parts of Missouri and Kentucky. Mostly these were the states where it was legal to own slaves, but there were four states where slavery was legal that decided not to join the Confederacy.

More about the Civil War (page two)

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