Although it occurred over a hundred years ago, the Civil War has left an issue that has created grave controversy. This problem that arose both during and after the Civil War, was whether or not the American Civil War was actually a civil war. The dictionary definition of a civil war is: a war within one country where two or more factions fight for control of the government. Some people argue that the Civil War, fought between 1861 and 1865, was not an actual civil war at all. Nevertheless, the American Civil War was rightfully named, and was indeed a civil war. .
The Civil War was in fact a civil war for multiple reasons. To begin with, the eleven states that declared themselves a new nation claimed to have seceded. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee all stated that they were no longer part of the Union, and proclaimed themselves to be the Confederate States of America. However, secession is illegal according to the Constitution. In Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution, it states that, "No state shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation. No State shall, without the Consent of Congressenter into any Agreement or Compact with another State" This section of the Constitution strictly states that secession was illegal, regardless that the word "secession" was not explicitly written. This proves that secession was illegal and therefore, the Confederate States of America were never their own country. This meant that the Southern states were still part of the United States and supports the fact that the American Civil War was indeed a civil war because it was fought between two groups within the same country.
In addition, the Southern states were fighting for control of the government. They attempted to secede in order to protect their rights to own slaves due to a Republican president who was against the extension of slavery.