In the 1860 presidential election, Republicans, led by Abraham Lincoln, supported banning slavery in all the U. S. territories, something which the Southern states viewed as a violation of their constitutional rights and as being part of a plan to eventually abolish slavery. These states agreed to form a new federal government, the Confederate States of America, on February 4, 1861. Seven slave states with cotton - based economies formed the Confederacy. Southern whites believed that abolishing slavery would destroy the South's economy. While the South moved towards a Southern nationalism, leaders in the North were also becoming more nationally minded, and they rejected any notion of splitting the Union.
The American Civil War divided the United States in two - the Northern States versus the Southern States. This four year battle (1861 - 1865) kept the United States together as one whole nation and ended slavery. The Union faced secessionists in eleven Southern states grouped together as the Confederate States of America. Four years of intense combat left 620, 000 to 750, 000 soldiers dead, a higher number than the number of American military deaths in World War I and World War II combined, and much of the South's infrastructure was destroyed.
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