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Zachary Liscow: Why Fight Secession? Evidence of Economic Motivations From the American Civil War

Now published in Public Choice:

Public Choice: 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.