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The american civil war
The American Civil War was caused by the conflict between the Northern and Southern states. To begin with, the North and South had many differences. Then there were issues that exacerbated the situation, bringing the country in war.
The North and South was characterized by many differences. The North was known for trade, industry and manufacturing (Perry, 1989). The South was recognized for agriculture (Perry, 1989). In addition, there were issues that furthered the difference between the two. These included tariffs, states’ rights and slavery (Perry, 1989). The latter eventually caused the war to occur.
The issue over tariffs revealed two different stands from the North and the South. The North agreed with the imposition of tariffs because it was a means of protecting local businesses from foreign industries (Perry, 1989). The South disagreed with the imposition of tariffs because it would result in the price increase of imported goods (Perry. 1989).
The states’ rights also brought opposing viewpoints from the North and the South. The premise of states’ rights presumes that all the powers that are not directly placed under the authority of the federal government are considered as the powers of the state governments (Perry, 1989). The aforementioned principle was supported by the South because it was a means to preserve their interests. The southerners upheld that the moment Congress passes a law that the citizens of a state consider as unconstitutional, the state would have the power to alter it (Perry, 1989). Majority of the northerners fully support the Union and disagreed with states’ rights. They believed that if every state is given the license to determine whether or not a law is constitutional, the Union would be threatened (Perry, 1989).
The biggest problem between the North and South was the issue of slavery. Some citizens believed that slavery should indeed be abolished in America (Perry, 1989). Caucasian southerners strongly disagreed. Because slaves were needed in agricultural endeavors, the southerners oppose the suggestion of the abolition of slavery (Perry, 1989).
Furthermore, Caucasian southerners considered the slaves as property (Perry, 1989). They insisted individuals should be able to bring their property in any place they go to. This meant taking their slaves in “new territories” (Perry, 1989, p. 507). These southerners also wanted these territories to be slave states when they become part of the Union (Perry, 1989). However, the North would not entertain the fact that there would be more slave states than them in Congress (Perry, 1989). Meanwhile, the South wants Congress to support its interest in the new territories (Perry, 1989). The conflict over slavery intensified, and the result of the election led to the secession of the Southern states.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president (Perry, 1989). He was a Republican, and the Republican Party was created with the purpose of abolishing slavery (Perry, 1989). Upon Lincoln’s election as president, the Southern states started to secede from the Union (Perry, 1989). The first seven states which seceded from the Union eventually consisted the Confederate States of America, also known as the Confederacy (Perry, 1989). The Confederacy was led by Jefferson Davis (Perry, 1989). President Lincoln did not want to wage war, but was prompted to do so because of the Fort Sumter incident (Perry, 1989). On April 1861, the Confederate forces fired on the federal fort (Perry, 1989). The Civil War began as a response to the event.
Both the North and South had their advantages in the war. On one hand, the North, being the center for manufacturing, had better war equipment than the South (Perry, 1989). On the other hand, the South had better officers, in terms of experience and morale (Perry, 1989). In the beginning of the war, the South were more successful in the earlier battles (Perry, 1989). This is because the South had an able commander in General Robert E. Lee (Perry, 1989). The Northern troops were initially unsuccessful in proceeding to Virginia and reaching the Confederate capital (Perry, 1989). Nonetheless, the Union troops proved to be more victorious due to a better strategy. They blocked the southern ports; therefore, the supplies meant for the Confederate Army did not reach their destination (Perry, 1989). This was instrumental in weakening the Confederate effort. Also, the Union forces took over the Mississippi River, which resulted in the division of the Confederate territory into two (Perry, 1989). After four years of war, the Confederacy surrendered April 9, 1865 (Perry, 1989).
The Civil War ended in favor of the Union, and the Confederacy did not gain their independence after they seceded. The outcome of the war also worked in favor of the slaves. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 (Perry, 1989). This declaration stated that the slaves which are situated in those states that are in war with the Union shall be freed (Perry, 1989). When the Union forces arrived and settled in Confederate states, numerous slaves found the courage to leave their masters (Perry, 1989). Some slaves, went their own ways, while many slaves joined the war by fighting with the Union army (Perry, 1989). Consequently, the Thirteenth Amendment was proposed by Congress in 1865 (Perry, 1989). This amendment sought to end slavery for good (Perry, 1989). It was ratified and was included in the Constitution later that year (Perry, 1989).
The Civil War caused major devastation in the South. The war that spanned four long years ruined both land and infrastructure (Perry, 1989). Millions of dollars were lost, caused by both the damages and the freedom of slaves (Perry, 1989). Because the South was in such dire condition, member of the Congress sought to reconstruct the South. However, these congressmen wanted to see if the former Confederate states would improve their attitude towards African-Americans (Perry, 1989). Two amendments were included in the Constitution for the welfare of African-Americans: the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments (Perry, 1989). In 1870, all the states which seceded from the Union became a part of it again (Perry, 1989).
The Civil War may not have been victorious for the Confederacy, but it did win a major victory for the United States. The issue of slavery brought the nation apart, and the success of the Union troops proved crucial keeping the Union intact.
Perry, M. (1989). A History of the World. Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin.
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