History is rarely simple and the causes of the Civil War are complex. Anyone who says slavery did not play a major role is in denial or uninformed. However, the issue was not abolishing slavery in 1860. Not one of the 4 major candidates for President in 1860 ( Lincoln, Douglass, Breckinridge and Bell) campaigned to abolish slavery, the issue was expansion into the western territories. The balance in the Senate was the desire of the South as they could never achieve balance in the House. If slavery was not allowed to expand into the west then the Senate would be lost as well. Should this occur, then eventually the abolitionists would have been strong enough to move against slavery. Tariffs were also a big issue. The large tariffs the national government passed to protect Northern industry harmed the Southern economy, which depended on exports, particularly cotton. There is no denying that most Southerners looked down on persons of color. This was true in the North as well. These attitudes carried on into the 20th century. While the South had Jim Crow, don't forget some of the worst violence about busing and integration occurred in Boston. Other Northern cities had similar problems.