Why Fight Secession? Evidence of Economic Motivations from the American Civil War

18 Pages Posted: 22 May 2013

Date Written: May 21, 2012

Abstract

Why fight secession? This paper is a case study on this question, asking why the North chose to fight the South in the American Civil War. It tests a theoretical prediction that economic motivations were important, using county-level presidential election data. If economic interests like manufacturing wished to keep the Union together, they should have generated votes to do so. That prediction is borne out by the data, and explanations other than Northern economic concerns about Southern secession appear unable to explain the results, suggesting that economic motivations were important to support for fighting the South.

Keywords: Voting, War, Secession, American Civil War

JEL Classification: D72, H77, N41

Suggested Citation

Liscow, Zachary D., Why Fight Secession? Evidence of Economic Motivations from the American Civil War (May 21, 2012). Public Choice, Vol. 153, No. 1-2, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2267828

Zachary D. Liscow (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

127 Wall St.
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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