The Civil War Summary & Analysis
A Very Uncivil War
For four years between 1861 and 1865, the United States engaged in a civil war.
Divisions between the free North and the slaveholding South erupted into a full-scale conflict after the election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860. 11 Southern states seceded from the Union, collectively turning their back on the idea of a single American nation. Lincoln, who'd been in office for only six weeks, declared these acts of secession illegal, and asked Congress for 500,000 soldiers to crush what threatened to be an aggressive rebellion.
In April 1861, the first shots were fired and what followed became a national tragedy of unimaginable proportions. More than 600,000 soldiers were killed and millions more wounded. Large sections of the South were ravaged by violent battles, and the Union nearly collapsed under determined Confederate forces.
The war itself began hesitantly, but after the Battle of Bull Run—in Manassas, Virginia— in July 1861, it was clear that warfare would last for many months, perhaps even years. Huge battles raged in places like Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, and Shiloh and in Virginia and Tennessee, where 40% of the 10,000 engagements of the war were fought.
Winning victory after victory over poorly-led Union forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee invaded Maryland in September 1862. But there he suffered a major loss at the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest engagement of the war. The following year, Lee trounced the Union Army at Chancellorsville and invaded Pennsylvania, leading to the climactic Battle of Gettysburg in which 50,000 men were killed or wounded and Lee was forced to retreat to Virginia, never to invade the North again.
In the West, Union General Ulysses S. Grant took the important Confederate town of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River on July 4th, 1863, the same day that news of the Union victory at Gettysburg reached Washington.
But despite these key victories, the war still wasn't over.
Grant launched his Overland Campaign in 1864 and fought a series of major battles. He hoped to destroy Lee's army by utilizing a strategy of attrition, but the tactic failed. In retaliation, Union General William Tecumsah Sherman marched from Atlanta to Savannah, burning the countryside as he went. By the spring of 1865, the South was exhausted, and on April 9th, Lee finally surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the war.
Though most Americans knew that the central reason behind the war was slavery, it wasn't until the Battle of Antietam in September 1862 that Lincoln began emancipating the slaves.
On January 1st, 1863, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in captured Confederate territory. From that point on, the war officially became one over the issue of slavery. Still, it wasn't until after the war, in December 1865, that the 13th Amendment was ratified, finally freeing all slaves in America.
Economically, the war was a boon for the North and a disaster for the South.
The North began the war with several advantages: more men, more money, more industrial power, and an extensive railroad system. And by the end of the war, the North continued to dominate economically, while the ravaged South struggled to recover economically and psychologically from the devastation of the war.
In addition to losing many of its young men, sons, husbands, fathers, and friends to the conflict, the Southern planter aristocracy was crushed in the war, and never regained its political power.
The Civil War answered many of the fundamental questions of the American experiment: free or slave, one or many, united or divided. But it did so at a tremendous cost.
The Civil War
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The Civil War
The American Civil War was a grave turning point in the history of North
America. It was a conflict that pitted the Northern states of the American union
against the Southern states. The war raged for four years, from 1861 to 1865,
and was marked by some of the fiercest military campaigns in modern history. In
this essay, you will learn the causes of the American Civil war, as well as the
after effects of the war.
It has been extremely hard for historians to exactly pin-point the
causes and effects of the war. The war itself had international impact, not
only because of the growing international status of the United States, but also
because war threatened world access to the South's cotton. Britain and France
were the two main countries that had particular interest in the wars outcome,
but other nations were as well effected by it. The civil war was a conflict
over way of life. The Southern states depended upon the agriculture of the
slaves, including cotton production . When Abraham Lincoln was elected President
in 1860, his opposition of slavery was seen as a threat to the economic
interests of the Southern states. The South responded by seceding from the union
and founding the Confederate States of America in 1861. The first state to
secede was South Carolina, on December 20, 1860. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama,
Georgia, and Louisiana followed in January, 1861. Texas then also separated on
February 1st. Three days later on February 4th, 1861, delegates from these
states drafted a constitution for the confederacy. Jefferson Davis, was
proclaimed president on February 18th. This was before Abraham Lincoln himself
even became officially proclaimed President. The war began in 1861, when
confederates open fired on Ft. Sumter, gaining control over the Port of
Charleston. On April 15th, Lincoln then called out 75,000 volunteers determined
to surpress the insurrection. It was the beginning of war. Virginia, North
Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas seceded in the Spring of 1861. By now, the
Confederacy had 11 states, and were outnumbered by the union who had 23 states.
Eleven confederate states would stand against twenty-three states of the union.
The south had a population of nine million, and three million of them were
slaves. They were up against the north, who had over twenty-two million people.
The war was well fought by both the North and South, and ended in 1865, with the
North easily overpowering the South. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April
14, 1865, 12 days before the final surrender of the confederacy. The war itself
costed over $20 billion dollars.
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Civil War Southern States Way Of Life Confederate States Jefferson Davis South Carolina American Civil War Volunteers Grave Abraham Lincoln
The war did not address once and for all one
of its main causes - the race issue. In the post-war reconstruction period
between 1865-1877, Northern reformers sought to give the freed blacks not only
protection but power in the Southern states. However, the effects of their
programs, which were also negative in intent, was to increase Southern white
hostility toward the blacks as well as the North. The abandonment of the
reconstruction left the blacks with their future scrapped out.. Despite the
blacks being free from oppression back then, they were still the lasting
casualties of the war. Only long term national progress and prosperity could
begin to offset their harsh lot in both the South and North.
In conclusion, the civil war had the legacy of a truly modern war, over
600,000 dead, and over a million American casualties for a cause until this day
stirs the American nation deeply