What was fought over in the Civil War?
Technically, the southern states wanted the right it was the right to secede (withdraw) from the Union (United States) since the rest of the nation had started imposing laws that many Southerners felt were states rights and issues. When slavery was abolished, many Southerners did not believe that their plantations could continue to function, so they decided that they did not need to belong to the United States, and declared to be separate. While the issue was slavery, it was actually about more than that. It was about the rights of the states to make their own laws and the right of the Federal Government to enforce laws imposed upon the states. The North states were also selling cotton-goods to Southern states at outrageous costs, this angered the South since all cotton originated from Southern states.
The first "civil war" was in England and was fought for control of the country. The U.S. Civil War was fought between the majority of the nation and a breakaway region. Today, "civil war" means a war fought mainly within one country, whether the reason for fighting is to take over the whole country or to break away a part as a new country.