Deep Contingency And Secession

Deep contingency is the idea of social life being contingent and how it can lead to certain events, or social change [1]. The main idea of deep contingency is how people feel personally about an issue. During the 1860’s the issue was slavery and whether or not it should be allowed, in the United States. Both the North and the South had distorted views of why the other side was fighting the war. The North was fighting to keep the integrity of the United States, while the South was fighting for a new nation built on slavery.[2] One the reasons secession happened was because the South had a higher percentage of slaves, and they needed the slaves to work the land [3]. Another way deep contingency lead to secession was politics. By the 1850’s the two party system broke over the views and ideas of slavery [4]. During the 1850’s American’s were starting to become more self-conscious, which made them more aware of what was going on. Political leaders couldn’t say anything, without the people thinking it was about slavery [5]. In conclusion deep contingency is the idea that slavery caused the United States to be divided, which lead to secession and eventually the Civil War.

Union and Confederate Soliders 


[1] Ayers, Edward L. What Caused the Civil War?: Reflections on the South and Southern History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006, pg. 135.

[2] Ibid 134.

[3] Ibid 135.

[4] Ibid 137.

[5] Ibid 141.