This issue has been bugging me for a while. I can't seem to figure out the difference between voltages across different circuit elements, namely, why the voltage across a battery pushes current in a certain direction, while the voltage that appears across a resistor is more an indication of energy usage and doens't actively move current in any direction. However, back-emf induces a current in a direction counter to whatever inital direction the source was moving current in. I've attached some images of the two circuits I'll use to explain my thoughts. For the first circuit with two resistors in series, they each display a voltage and the sum of the voltages equals the source voltage. If all 3 elements were replaced with black boxes and we only knew the voltage polarity across each element, then we'd have no way of telling which direction current would flow. However, when we know what the elements are, we know that current will flow clockwise from the positive end of the battery and through the two resistors. When the current flows, it is at whatever value is dictated by the voltage source/resistance values, and will stay at that value until the battery begins to die out. In other words, there is no back-emf in this case pushing current in the opposite direction. In the second circuit with the inductor, however, the voltage polarity across the resistor and inductor are the same as in the first circuit with two resistors. BUT, in this case, the inductors voltage is technically a back-emf which PUSHES current in the counter-clockwise direction (in this case). Why is there this discrepancy between a regular old voltage across a resistor that doesn't push current anywhere, a voltage across a battery that actively pushes in one direction, and the back-emf or voltage across an inductor that pushes in the OPPOSITE direction to current flow from the source? Are there just always these caveats when discussing voltage like "this one is a source voltage so it moves electrons" and "this one is a back-emf so it moves electrons in a certain direction according to Lenz's law" and "this one is a passive voltage so it only tells you how much energy it takes to move electrons from one end to another"? Thanks in advance...I'd really love to get this problem sorted out.