So sample from this list. Broad generalization, not always true, but civil wars are generally fought across three divides:
- Ethnic. My people hate your people and have always hated your people. This covers Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Yemen, Ethiopia, Angola, most of the "places you barely know about and would never visit" wars.
- Ideological. Your way of running the world and my way of running the world are utterly incompatible. This covers Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, places the US sent troops in the name of domino theory.
- Economical. Your use of capitalism and my use of capitalism are mutually exclusive. These wars are exceedingly rare. I can only think of one.
In my lifetime, the "proper" way to discuss the Civil War has shifted from "it was obviously about freeing the slaves" to "it was obviously about the economic repression forced upon the Southern States by mercantilist Northern industrialists" to "it was obviously about freeing the slaves who also weren't truly freed and anyone who says otherwise is a racist" in no small part because the only logical conclusion of the actual facts on the ground is "unfettered capitalism does grievous harm to humanity." Kinda like how we talk about the vast open unsettled spaces of the American frontier rather than the multiple civilizations we wiped out through targeted genocide in order to make them appear wide open.
I bring this up because you learned about the Missouri Compromise without learning why because history teachers aren't allowed to teach "our current system was bad, is bad and is likely to continue to be bad" their best bet is to lay the facts at your feet and hope you twig to enough of the clues that eventually you'll look shit up for yourself who am I kidding 99% of them don't know either. Look:
- The economic system of the northern (manufacturing) United States was "rich people own factories, poor people work until they're dead or useless at which point we cast them aside and they can either beg on the street or hope they've had enough children that they'll be tended to in their nasty, brutish and short old age."
- The economic system of the southern (agricultural) United States was "rich people own plantations, they also own the people who work on those plantations and if they're kind plantation owners the lives of the people they own will be marginally better than the lives of the people the northern industrialists hire."
- The social system of the northern (manufacturing) United States was "rich people own everything, if you're lucky you'll get a job so you'll have a roof over your head."
- The social system of the southern (agricultural) United States was "rich people own everything including, maybe, you, and if they don't, hardscrabble subsistence farming is pretty much what you got but you're too uneducated and primitive to know the difference, hey look it could be worse you could be black and in chains."
So the Missouri Compromise? Was fundamentally "do we let the economic and social system of the north expand or do we let the economic and social system of the south expand." The North can't make money if employees are free, the South can't make money if employees are skilled. The economic and social systems were far more divided than people have been led to believe; there had been a system whereby southern agricultural staples were turned into northern manufactured goods but globalism meant that non-Southern cotton etc. was cheaper. Expanding free ranching and farming to the West would further undercut the South so in order to protect the Southern economy, Western production needed to be both cheaper and shittier than that produced by literal slave labor. The Northern companies and economists firmly believed the only way for the United States to exist as a country was to increase skilled labor in the south; one of the principle reasons for fighting the Civil War is the British were more than happy to subsidize crappy slave-based agriculture in the South, starve out the North and basically reintegrate the disUnited States back into the Commonwealth.
So everybody learns "it was/was not about freeing the slaves" because "it was about whether your slaves feel 'free' or not" gets your textbook banned in Texas.
I BRING THIS ALL UP because the actual strains necessary to produce a "civil war" in the United States are gargantuan compared to "does a thin/thick margin of popular opinion support/condemn this or that contrived social issue." The amount of "interstate commerce" trappings in the Constitution, leaned on heavily by the Originalists on the Supreme Court, basically prevent Kansas from going to war with Missouri. Not only that, but troops are deliberately scattered about for exactly this reason, the Army hates the Navy for exactly this reason, federal taxes are spread about for exactly this reason.
Yes, we fought a civil war before, yes it was ostensibly about cultural issues, but it was a different country then under very different pressures with very different interdependencies in a very different economic milieu. If anything, the tensions in the United States are entirely about rural vs. metropolitan for the simple reason that the Electoral College is tilted towards rural areas.
I will also point out that the Trump Administration, and their supporters, literally attempted to overthrow the government of the United States through every means available to them... and failed... because the government is largely made up of bureaucrats who want to keep their job. That's it. That's their motivation. Rome persisted for centuries not because of any natural cultural superiority, but because bureaucrats will always preserve their bureaucracy and when you decentralize things enough, your org chart simply can't be decapitated.
The government of Ukraine has fallen twice in the past 20 years under pressures less than January 6, for example, once in 2004 and again in 2014. Yeah, the current situation sucks... but like, a plurality of Republicans want to legalize weed. 42% of Republicans don't want Roe overturned. So do I think shit gonna be ugly? Yes. Yesindoodledydo. Do I think Arizona's gonna start shooting across the border at California?
It's too expensive to even posture like that.