The cause of the Civil War remains a hotly debated topic in some parts of the country. The average person, particularly one who doesn’t live in the Southern states, is likely to declare that the Civil War was fought over slavery. In the Southern states, however, the average person might be more likely to declare that it was fought over states’ rights to be free from interference by the federal government.

The truth is a blend of both: the activism of abolitionists during the decades leading up to the Civil War was leading toward the possibility of the federal government’s abolishment of slavery throughout the nation, even as the Southern states argued that the federal government had no right to regulate slavery, that it was strictly a matter for state-level legislation.

Import taxes are another issue cited as a cause of the Civil War. Taxes created to protect factories in Northern states from being undercut by cheap imports had a negative economic impact on Southern states’ export of raw materials to cotton factories in England.