Civil War SoldiersCivil War enthusiast and amateur historian Jim Stark will discuss the origins of the American Civil War in his presentation, “Why the Civil War was Fought: The Antebellum Period,” Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. at the newly renovated Northfield Historical Society. The event, sponsored by KYMN Radio and the Northfield News, is the first of a series of discussions about the Civil War during the war’s ongoing sesquicentennial.

After reading extensively about Civil War battles and leaders, Stark, a former president of the Northfield and Rice County historical societies, says he wanted to learn more about the causes of the war. “How could a nation that fought for its freedom, and whose people spoke the same language and worshipped the same god find itself wanting to separate in the middle of the 19th century?” he asks.

Stark traces the roots of the Civil War to the 1787 Constitutional Convention where, as one delegate noted, “Slavery sat under the table like a giant snake coiled up ready to strike at any moment.” Stark will discuss how during the next 73 years “we would see one nation become two, with separate economies and dissimilar workforces. This created mistrust and suspicions that began to initiate a divide of political parties, religious institutions, and societies in general.”

Program starts at 6:00 p.m. on February 16.