Causes of the Civil War


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The American Civil War was a pivotal point in the history of our nation, yet many people do not really understand the events which caused it, or how the conflict re-shaped our nation. Now students and adults can travel with Dan Horn and Discerning History to understand the men and events that led to the Civil War, all from a uniquely Christian worldview. Causes of the Civil War is the first of the War Between the States Series, a three volume set that analyzes the events that led to the war, studies the battles and campaigns, follows the end-results to the present, and helps viewers think more biblically about history. Although designed for homeschool high school students, all ages find it interesting and informative.

Discerning History: Causes of the Civil War is composed of seven hour long episodes, online resources, and a 242 page study guide containing selections from primary sources, illustrations, in-depth commentary, suggested reading, and a final exam. In this study guide accompaniment to Discerning History: Causes of the Civil War, you can delve deeper into the history of how the bloodiest war in American History came to be.

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Save if you purchase this episode as part of the War Between the States Series. With this set, you can see the whole story of the Civil War, from the causes of the conflict, through the dramatic stories of its battles and campaigns. Buy it today!


Episodes in this Series


How did a nation united in Christian faith become divided by war? In this episode, we begin with the Calvinism of the founding and the Great Awakening, and trace the ensuing religious movements that split the nation. We’ll tell the story of how the Unitarians through the universities and the Arminians through the revivals became the religious leaders of the North, and set the nation on the road to division. View this episode.



When we think of the causes of the Civil War, our first thought is usually of slavery. In this episode, we’ll examine how slavery came to America. We will travel to see the true conditions of Southern slaves, and whether they were as terrible as most think today. We’ll explore the abolitionist movement against slavery and why they opposed it to the point of taking up arms. View this episode.



One of the major dividing lines between the North and South in the 19th century was economics. The most influential sector in the North was manufacturing, while in the South it was agriculture. In this episode, we’ll examine the development of the economic divide between the North and the South, and how their differing views of government involvement created tension throughout the country. View this episode.


John Brown

A seminal event in the years leading up to the Civil War was John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry. In this episode, we’ll travel to Harper’s Ferry, where Brown planned to start a slave insurrection by seizing the United States’ Arsenal. We explore the story of John Brown, the “Secret Six” who funded him, the fate of his daring raid, and the monumental impact it had on the nation. View this episode.



The Federal government in the 1800s was a battleground between two sections – North and South, slave and free. In this episode, we’ll examine the power struggles over new territories, the Kansas Conflict and the Dred Scott decision. We see the conflict accelerate until Abraham Lincoln is elected president, which drives some of the Southern states to secede and form a new nation under Jefferson Davis. View this episode.


Fort Sumter

The nation exploded in civil war on April 12th, 1861, when the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. In this episode, we’ll examine the choices made in the secession crisis that caused the first shots to be fired. We’ll travel to Charleston to study its strategic importance, learn about the military and its commanders, and see how the siege and bombardment of Fort Sumter unfolded. View this episode.


States Rights

Whether states had the right to secede was the crucial issue after secession, for it determined whether there would be a peaceful separation or a bloody conflict. In this episode, we’ll examine whether there is a right to secession in the Constitution, and what the founding fathers thought of it. We study previous attempts to secede in America, and learn how the Civil War changed the understanding of state’s rights. View this episode.


Study Guide

Click on the pages above to look through chapter one of the study guide.

Preview Clips from this Series

Additional information

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