This question is addressed in the Journal of Colonial Williamsburg, in an issue from 2011.
The piece was written by Barksdale Maynard. He is the author of five books on American history, including Woodrow Wilson: Princeton to the Presidency.
Whether America’s founders could have sown seeds of a more perfect union without dooming a following generation to reap the whirlwind of civil war is a question yet on the minds of the nation’s historians. Could anything have been done to avoid the bloodbath that took the lives of 2 percent of America’s population? It’s a staggering figure: 2 percent in today’s terms would mean the deaths of everybody in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. We usually think of nineteenth-century events—the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott decision—when we consider what precipitated the crisis. But the roots of the conflict go back further, back to the formative years of the United States.