The American Civil War was fought between the southern states and the northern states. The southern states didn't want the North telling them what to do or making laws they didn't want. As a result, many southern states decided to break away and form their own country called the Confederacy. The North, however, wanted to stay as one united country; and so a war began. The Civil War, and the major events leading up to the war, lasted from 1860 to 1865.