LATYPOVA N.S. Discussion on the Causes of the American Civil War (1861–1865): Periodization of Historiography

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.2.1

Nataliya S. Latypova

Candidate of Sciences (Jurisprudence), Deputy Director for Science,

Institute of Law, Bashkir State University,

Dostoevskogo St, 131, 450005 Ufa, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4583-3765


Abstract. Introduction. The Civil War in the United States (1861–1865) has been of considerable interest to historians, lawyers, economists, and political scientists for more than 150 years. The internal political struggle that broke out in the middle of the 19th century between the two regions of the young democratic state seems to be a valuable object of research. However, scientific approaches to the study of the causes of the “inevitable conflict”, their transformation and rebirth depending on the historical period and the political situation are of even greater interest. This article attempts to summarize the main trends in the historiography of the causes of the Civil War in the United States, mainly in foreign historiography.

Methods of research and materials. The methodological basis of the study was made up of general scientific and private scientific methods. The historical-legal, comparative method, as well as sociological, concrete-historical and systemic methods are used. The theoretical basis of the study was the work of mainly foreign historians, lawyers, political scientists and state historians.

Analysis. Without denying the centrality of slavery among the causes of the Civil War, researchers identify religious, economic, political and social factors as the key determinants of the separatist movement in the South. A special place in American studies is occupied by the consideration of the role of African Americans in inciting conflict, the personality factor of A. Lincoln, as well as the influence of the abolitionist movement and journalists on the growing confrontation between the North and the South. At the same time, all directions, one way or another, boil down to the fact that it was slavery that was the fundamental cause of the Civil War. The peculiarities of the formation of each of the scientific directions were determined by the socio-economic and political conditions that took place in a particular historical period.

Results. The periodization of scientific approaches to the study of the causes of the Civil War in the United States in the historical and legal literature can be carried out by dividing the research into three main periods: the “confrontational” (second half of the 19th century); the “socio-economic” (beginning – middle of the 20th century); the “industrial” (middle of the 20th century – the beginning of the 21st century). In the period from the beginning of the 21st century to the present, there is an obvious consensus on the central role of slavery among the determinants of war, but approaches to this problem in recent years have been characterized by interdisciplinarity, complexity, taking into account completely different sides of the conflict. Each of these areas has contributed to the formation of a holistic view of the causes of the Civil War, allowing us to realize the complex, multifaceted nature of the causes of the conflict and to reject two-dimensional approaches to their understanding. Key words: American Civil War, causes of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, slavery in the United States, the Missouri Compromise, abolitionists, history of the USA.

Citation. Latypova N.S. Discussion on the Causes of the American Civil War (1861–1865): Periodization of Historiography. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 8-20. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.2.1.

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