Historian William Harris states, “Most North Carolinians were indifferent about the conflict over slavery; they simply were more concerned with everyday affairs.” Most consensus on the cause of secession and the Civil War would state that slavery was the primary cause, a majority of people in North Carolina did it center their lives around this issue. Increasingly, the Deep South and the Old South became more separated through economics. The Deep South had become more prosperous than the Old South and had a larger dependence on slavery and the plantation systems due to the great wealth in cotton. The Old South had cotton plantations too, but not to the same scale as cotton flourished better in the Black Belt. Economics drove a drift between the two sections of the South which led to more discussion and reasoning behind the secession of the Old South states. Slavery was an economic concern that most North Carolinians did not have the opportunity to be involved with. North Carolina was a land of mostly yeoman farmers who would have not wanted to leave the security of the Union in order to preserve slavery or the expansion of slavery; this simply did not play a big enough role in their lives. Less than 1/3 of white families in North Carolina owned slaves in 1860 and of that number, 88% owned between one and nineteen slaves. These statistics show that a majority of people living in North Carolina would not have been concerned about the expansion of slavery, but more focused on the security that the Union brought to their economics as yeoman farmers. The fact that North Carolina was made up of small farmers would have meant those people would not want to secede from the Union over slavery.
Though most North Carolinians would not have been concerned over slavery, many of the individuals in power would have been of the gentry class meaning the wants of the small yeoman farmers would have been a secondary concern. In 1860, the General Assembly still had land requirements in order to serve; this would have put the wealthy in power. This is not to say that all of the gentry would have supported secession, but the gentry was more likely to support leaving the Union to preserve slavery than yeoman farmers would were not involved in the slave trade. Member of the rich planter class were able to lobby for secession making it a political issue until 1861.