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Question: Was the civil war primarily to preserve the union or to free the slaves!?
I can argue it both ways!. I have to write a paper and I don't know which or if there is a right answer!.

I can either say it was about slavery and Lincoln didn't say it was about slavery at first because he didn't want the boarder states to break off

or I can say it was primarily to preserve the union and the emancipation proclamation was added to give the north a moral cause and the fight was to hold the union together and crush the argument of succession and extreme states rightsWww@QuestionHome@Com

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker:
Lincoln's primary goal was to preserve the union!. your last argument will be much stronger anyways!. but yeah!. he didn't want to turn it into a war about slavery because the border states would potentially break off and because the majority of northerners didn't even really care about slavery!. the emancipation proclamation made the cause more passionate but wasn't brought up until the country was well into the civil war so it wouldn't make sense that that would be the primary cause of the war if you know what i mean!.

:-) EllenWww@QuestionHome@Com

It was to preserve the Union!. But the Union was torn asunder due to slavery (the South insisted upon States Rights but those involved issues like!.!.!.the ability of each state to determine that it could hold slaves, the ability to cross state borders to pursue runaway slaves)!. So while the initial and preeiminent issue was preserving the Union, the Union was not preservable until the issue of slavery was resolved!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

Revisionist history wants you to believe it was all about slavery and certainly that was a major factor, but the US had existed for 80 years with slavery!. As the other contributors stated: Preservation of the Union was the cause in the North!. In the South: The right to buy and own slaves and preserve the "southern way of life" independent of federal meddling or control!. Southerners firing on Ft Sumter was the spark that ignited a horrible failed war of southern independence!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

i believe it was to preserve the union, perhaps you should do more research and also look at the economic aspects of the north potentially losing the war!. i think plenty of 'northerners' at the time would have been quite happy to keep slaveryWww@QuestionHome@Com

To preserve the union!. There was anti-slavery sentiment, to be sure!. But the Union cause was not dedicated to emancipation until January 1863, when Lincoln signed the Proclamation!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

the civil war was for STATES RIGHTS!.Www@QuestionHome@Com

The former!.Www@QuestionHome@Com