|Texas Defender wrote:
In 1860, neither section of the country understood the other. Most northerners didn't think that the southerners would fight a war to leave the Union. Most southerners didn't think that the northerners would fight a war to force them to remain.
Obviously, both sides were profoundly wrong. Those who expected a war to result thought that it would be over quickly. Neither side could imagine that a four year war would take place and would claim over 600,000 American lives.
From the southern point of view, they were losing on the issue of expanding slavery to the territories. As they saw it, this would lead to them being: "Surrounded" and outvoted by hostile northern and western politicians.
Eventually, as they saw it, the dispute would move from the question of expanding slavery to one of abolishing it altogether. The south was clearly losing political power as time passed.
Slavery was certainly the catalyst issue. But it was part of a larger issue of money and political power. (As most great conflicts have been throughout human history.) Southerners were providing most of the revenues of the Federal Government and, as they saw it ( rightly or wrongly), they had been mistreated for decades.
In 1860 and 1861, southerners looking to the future could see little benefit in remaining part of the United States of America. As time passed, the two sections had grown more and more different. After the better part of a century of compromises, the majority of southerners finally decided, rightly or wrongly, that it was time to take control of their own destiny.
Very well put.