Another cause for the Civil War

I have read lots of explanations about the start of the Civil War. The census may be the most unique.

From the New York Times:

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing; a lot of it can be deadly. Such was the case on the eve of the Civil War. Among all the events that touched off the great conflict — John Brown’s raid in 1859, Abraham Lincoln’s presidential victory in 1860 — there is one that has been strangely ignored by most historians. True, it was less dramatic than the others. It occurred when enumerators traveled from door to door throughout America, counting up Easterners and Westerners; Northerners and Southerners; blacks and whites; freemen and slaves. The numbers that they came up with helped to split apart the Union.

Eighteen-sixty was a federal Census year, and the results had begun coming in early that autumn — with exquisitely poor timing, as far as Southern paranoia and Northern hubris were concerned. At the very moment that the slave states faced the imminent election of a Republican, antislavery president, a candidate who would win without a single vote in the Deep South, came other, equally shocking signs of change.

Preliminary figures that began appearing in the press as early as September 1860 confirmed what many Americans already suspected: immigration and westward expansion were shifting the country’s balance of population and power. Since the last count, in 1850, the North’s population had increased an astonishing 41 percent, while the South’s had grown only 27 percent. (Between 2000 and 2010, by comparison, the entire nation’s population grew just 9.7 percent.) Tellingly, the statistical center of national population had shifted for the first time not only west of the original 13 states, but also from slave territory into free: from Virginia to Ohio.

Some regions of the country — places that just a few years earlier had been sparsely populated forests and prairies, with unfamiliar Indian names — were now thriving states. In a number of cases, the growth had been astonishing. In 1836, one of these upstart territories had claimed fewer than 12,000 inhabitants. Now, in 1860, it boasted 778,000 — an increase of almost 6,400 percent in less than a quarter of a century. (more…)

0 Responses

  1. Is it just me that think these confederates are back . Or have never really gone away . But now are intermixed into northern states like Wisconson and Alaska .

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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