Why Was the Civil War Fought? - Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

If you haven't learned about the Civil War in school already, you definitely will in the future. It is as important to understand why it happened. Come and learn about the causes in this lesson. Updated: 06/11/2020

What Was the Civil War?

''War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!'' This is a line from a famous song by Edwin Starr, and its viewpoint is absolutely understandable. There is so much death and devastation that occurs during wartime that it can be difficult to understand why there is a war in the first place.

Nevertheless, there is always at least one reason that the war took place. Today we'll look at the reasons for the Civil War, which happened during the 1800s. It was between the Northern states, also known as the Union, and the Southern states, also known as the Confederacy. Let's explore some of the reasons this war was fought together.

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  • 0:04 What Was the Civil War?
  • 0:44 Government
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Government

Politics often play a part in the tension that can lead to a war, and the Civil War was no exception. You see, these states were all pretty new; they were only established in 1776. Prior to that, 13 of them were colonies, while the rest had not been established at all. Therefore, they were still trying to figure out how they should work together.

This is also the time when the Democratic and Republican parties were starting to become the two strong political parties that they are today. Many Northerners were in the Republican party, while many Southerners were in the Democratic party. The parties didn't agree on many issues, which fueled the fire between the North and the South.

Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, and it really upset the Southern states when he was elected president, especially because he won despite the fact that he did not get a single Southern electoral vote. This made the South feel like they had no control over what was going on with their country, and ultimately led to them wanting to secede, or separate, from the United States and be their own country.

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