Ferguson, Ian Arthur. “Slavery as a Dividing Force”, Boston College, 2011. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/2412.
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the Civil War was indeed brought about because of the presence of slavery in this country. It is this paper's thesis that not only did slavery provide a demonstrable economic incentive for the South to secede from the Union but also provided a social impetus as well. Slavery created a society in the South that favored the economic independence of states rather than economic integration not just because of a love for state's rights but also because any form of economic integration would diminish returns from the sizeable investment they, slave-owners, had made in slavery. Furthermore, slavery created a type of siege mentality in the South. This mentality, while helpful in muting the class tensions between the slave holding elites and poor whites, created a narrow identity amongst southerners that would have made secession that much easier. This paper will look at how the concepts of social distance and social capital helped make secession a likely outcome for the southern states. With these two factors in play, the cost of leaving the Union, of re-coordinating a new constitutional arrangement, was less costly than it might have been if not for slavery.