and culture, with slavery issues offering each side a false sense of clarity to the many and diffuse problems of the 1850s. Potter said that the South had reason to fear Lincoln's election, not because he threatened to interfere with slavery where it existed but because the Republican victory promised disruption of the "closed system of social and intellectual arrangements upon which the South relied for perpetuation of slavery" (p. 477).
Other scholars have also emphasized the centrality of race and slavery to Civil War causation. Secession and war, according to Richard J. Carwardine, in Evangelicals and Politics in Antebellum America ( 1993), provided confirmation for the millennialist expectations in both pro- and antislavery camps. James M. McPherson devoted a third of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era ( 1988) to the mounting sectional conflict over slavery and slave expansion. McPherson never minimized the racist component of the free-soil or Republican movements, but he agreed with William H. Seward that conflicting sectional views of the morality of slavery and its place in American society and politics led to an irrepressible conflict. In his subsequent essay on the causes of the Civil War for Richard Current, ed., The Encyclopedia of the Confederacy ( 1993), McPherson addressed those causal explanations that assert slavery had nothing to do with the conflict and tersely dismissed them as the "virgin birth theory of secession" ( 1:317). Roger L. Ransom, in Conflict and Compromise: The Political Economy of Slavery, Emancipation, and the American Civil War ( 1989), dedicates over half of his book to an analysis of the coming of war, emphasizing the Southern determination to preserve its institution intact, the growing Northern determination to intrude upon it, and the resulting inability of the political system to resolve the conflict. The title of Bruce Levine Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of the Civil War ( 1992) once again reveals the importance of race and slavery to both North and South in bringing secession and war. "The distinctive ways in which North and South organized their labor systems," Levine argued, "left their mark on all aspects of regional life--including family, gender, and leisure patterns and both religious and secular ideologies." These cultural changes, Levine demonstrates, directly influenced the politics of both sections. Like McPherson, Levine leaves the last word on the causes of the Civil War to William H. Seward: "Thus, these antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results" (pp. 14-15).
Anbinder Tyler. Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings and the Politics of the 1850s. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Barney William L. The Secessionist Impulse: Alabama and Mississippi in 1860. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974.
Berwanger Eugene H. The Frontier against Slavery: Western Anti-Negro Prejudice and the Slavery Extension Controversy. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1967.
Blue Frederick J. The Free Soilers: Third Party Politics, 1848-1854. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1973.