The Civil War

1861: "The Cause"

Episode 1 | 1h 40m 58s  | Video has closed captioning.

Beginning with a searing indictment of slavery, this first episode dramatically evokes the causes of the war, from the Cotton Kingdom of the South to the northern abolitionists who opposed it. Here are the burning questions of Union and states' rights, John Brown at Harpers Ferry, the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the firing on Fort Sumter, and the jubilant rush to arms on both sides.

Aired: 09/07/15

Expires: 12/31/25

Rating: TV-PG


Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning

Production made possible by grants from General Motors Corporation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation

The Civil War.

Explore Free Resources
The Civil War | Timeline


The Civil War | Timeline

Explore a multimedia timeline that is a companion to Ken Burns's acclaimed documentary series, The Civil War. The timeline provides a comprehensive overview of the war, from its political origins to its social and military consequences.

Explore More