Ken Burns says one factor caused the Civil War: 'Slavery'

Ken Burns says one factor caused the Civil War: 'Slavery'
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Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is diving into the fallout over recent White House comments on the Civil War, saying exactly one factor caused the 19th century conflict: slavery.

Burns, whose nonfiction miniseries include 1990's "Civil War," weighed in on Twitter after that PBS documentary was cited Tuesday by the Trump administration.

One day earlier, President Trump's chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE said a "lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War."


Kelly's comments were assailed by experts and the Congressional Black Caucus, but press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended them Tuesday.

"I do know that many historians, including Shelby Foote in Ken Burns's famous Civil War documentary, agreed that a failure to compromise was a cause of the Civil War," she said. 

"There are a lot of historians that think that and there are a lot of different versions of those compromises. I’m not going to get up here and relitigate the Civil War, but there’s certainly, I think some historical documentation that many people … believe that if some of the individuals engaged had been willing to come to some compromises on different things then it may not have occurred," she said.

In a subsequent tweet, Burns posted a quote from historian Barbara Fields at the end of the film.