What Was The American Civil War All About?

This was a civil war in the USA between the Union or ‘The North’ and the Confederacy or ‘The South’. At the time 1860, there were 32 million Americans four million of them were black slaves mostly in the South.

1. What Really Caused the Civil War?

The main cause of the war was the expansion of slavery, and the slaves were bought in to work the lands for no pay and often really substandard living conditions. To get a general idea watch ‘ Gone with the Wind’ an old-dated movie that does explain the times quite well.

Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 US presidential election by campaigning for the abolition of slavery. This was upsetting to some of the Southern States who used slave labor free and relied heavily on its continuance. Seven Southern States threatened to remove themselves and form their own Confederacy, and by doing this retain the life they had become used to being waited on hand and foot by slaves. When everything is done for you for free there is quite a lot at stake and the Southerners did not want change. Ultimately no compromise with the North was reached and both sides prepared for war.

2. Learn About the American Civil War

In April 1861 fighting broke out in Fort Sumpter South Carolina and the Confederacy took control of territory across eleven states out of thirty-four

States that remained loyal to the Government and were known as the Union. Men were conscripted to join the Army and four years of battle took

place, mostly in the South. During 1861-1862 the Union made gains. In 1862 President Lincoln issued a proclamation making the end to slavery a goal worth fighting for. In 1863 there were further developments when the Union seized Vicksburg, splitting the Confederacy in two at the Mississippi River. In 1863 at the height of the war General Robert E, Lee led his troops to the Battle of Gettysburg. Meanwhile in the North General Grant had Command of all the Union armies enforcing a naval blockade of Confederate Ports, and a 10-month siege of Petersburg took place.

3. American History

History States during 1861-1862 the Union made some permanent headway and seized New Orleans in 1862. The Civil war is studied and written about extensively and was one of the first wars to employ industrial warfare. There was mass production of weapons, and the war ended with a massive death toll of 620,000 and 750,000 soldiers. The war ended on April 9 1865 when General Lee surrendered to the Union at the Battle of Appomattox Court House. As the war ended a lot of the infrastructure of the South was destroyed, taking a terrible toll on the people.

Confederacy collapsed and slavery was abolished.

4. Slavery

Slavery was the issue that divided the country in two and raised many issues. The South fought the war to defend their way of life, and because slavery had become a part of this life that is what they were defending. Southerners believed that freeing the slaves would destroy the South’s economy, due to investment in slaves and fear of integrating them into the population.

5. Abolishing Slavery

In the old days, slavery had been around for thousands of years and was considered normal. Before this time it was never really debated as people just accepted it for what it was, normal, The Civil War changed that and turned it into an issue that had to be debated. In the time leading up to the Civil War, there were many anti-slavery sentiments expressed by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and others. But, no one took a lot of notice, and slavery continued. However, by 1840 more than 15,000 people were members of abolitionist societies, so the movement was growing.

6. Establishing New Territory

Another factor leading up to the Civil War from 1803 to 1854 United States was establishing new territory between negotiations to the West of the Mississippi River. By conquering areas of Mexico and West towards California, this land was settled with the use of slaves as labor.

Before the Civil War, the South used Federal Laws to enforce and extend slavery at a national level. The Confederate Constitution required slavery to be legal in all the claimed territories. Owners of slaves liked slave labor and did not favor mechanical devices, as the slaves were more cost-effective

7. Nationalism

The South and the North were both moving towards their own form of Nationalism and the North rejected any suggestion of splitting the North from the South. Ultimately the South did not understand how hard the North would fight to keep the country unified. When President Lincoln was elected the people of South Carolina wanted the South to consider secession, they went as far as to adopt a declaration. The cotton states of the South followed suit. Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas seceded in early 1861. The Southern States knew that it would be hard to survive if slavery was abolished by the North. They believed that slavery was a constitutional right. The Southern States agreed to form a new Federal Government.

8. Secession

The Southern States took control of federal properties without much resistance from President Buchanan who was finishing his term in March 1861. As the Southerners resigned their Government seats the Republicans were able to pass new laws that were previously blocked. A significant law passed was The Revenue Act of 1861, income tax was first introduced, and this helped to finance the war. President Lincoln proposed a National referendum on the Missouri Compromise which was basically a vote on slavery, but the Southern slave states rejected it.

9. President Lincoln

President Lincoln was sworn in on March 4, 1861. The American Civil War was looming, but President Lincoln argued that any secession was legally void. He went on to say that he would use force to maintain possession of Federal Property. He did not mention the US bullion lost from mints in Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. He ended his speech by asking for the restoration of the union binding the two regions.

The South sent delegations to the White House offering to pay for federal properties and to enter into a peace treaty. the entreaties were rejected as invalid.

10. American History Civil War

Lincoln was unable to defuse the crisis. William Seward was the new secretary of state who had his own ‘axe to grind’ having been defeated by Lincoln in the Republican Presidential nomination and was bitter about the defeat. William Seward had delusions of grandeur and viewed himself as the de facto president of the USA. The American Civil War was fast becoming a reality with President Lincoln determined to hold all remaining forts. Fort Sumpter is located in Charleston Harbor and the garrison had recently moved there, and Fort Sumpter was attacked on April 12-13 and started The American Civil War in 1861. At first, it was a small rebellion but by May 1861 Lincoln called for additional volunteers as the conflict escalated.

There were frequent battles throughout the American Civil War and over the four-year period of the war 237 battles were fought and there were a lot of casualties. All wars are damaging, but this was a war marked by numerous casualties. During the first twelve months of the war, both sides had a lot of volunteers, more than they could train. Then numbers dropped off due to a lack of enthusiasm. Conscription was used meaning that as young men turned of age they were called up. The Confederacy passed a law in 1862 for young men aged 18 to 35 to be called up for war. European Immigrants joined the Union Army. In 1863 in New York there was a draft riot of Irish men ( immigrants) who had signed up as citizens in order to vote not realizing that they could be drafted to serve their new country. They were duly conscripted to the war effort. These draft laws were extremely unpopular, and some men from the North fled to Canada to evade the draft, around 120,000 while others deserted along the way, and who could blame them, no one wants to go to war.

According to history, 500 to 1,000 women enlisted disguised as men. Women also served as nurses and in other capacities.

Presidential Assassination

According to President Lincoln, the American people had established a republic, and it was important to maintain it without it being overthrown.

Five days after Lee’s surrender President Lincoln was assassinated. The reconstruction or rebuilding era commenced in the South, and slaves were freed and civil rights were granted to them.

President Lincoln the 16th President of the United States was buried in the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetry, Springfield Illinois on May 5, 1865.

To learn about the American Civil War is so very interesting when you look and see how far we have come. There is a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington DC, and you will see it when you go for a visit.

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