The Civil War was a defining point in American History. Not only did a young nation come close to dividing itself, but the nations of the world watched in hungry anticipation hoping that this experiment with this new found democracy would fail. The war itself lasted 4 long years and turned out a seasoned and newly strengthened people. They would need this new found strength to battle through some of the most critical times in the history of the world.
I believe that the most important thing to understanding the Civil War is to realize that Slavery was just a part of the reason it came about. Since the inception of the Constitution there were issues that were not only under debate at the time, but even in the afterglow of forming a Union, they were still smoldering. Those issues included slavery but were mainly based on the sovereignty of states. Before the United States of America was formed the 13 original colonies were independent entities. They governed themselves and had their own set of laws and boundaries. This did not die easy. They had also been ruled by a king that they considered to be a despot. The last thing they wanted to do when they gained their independence was to turn into what they had just left. We can see this in their newly written Constitution. Probably 80% of the Confederate Soldiers were fighting for the freedom of their states. Slavery was at the heart of the issue because of the dependency of the southern states economy on slave labor. I do not mean to take away from slavery as an important issue, but we never take the time to regard the other reasons that the Civil War began.
Found on Footnote.com
In January of 1863 the Civil War did change. With the Emancipation Proclamation slavery was not only solidified as an important part of the American struggle but it rose to the top of list. Legally the slaves were free. Abraham Lincoln was hated by and many or more people than revered him. He struggled with the deaths of so many Americans on both sides as was so poetically expressed in THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, one of the greatest speeches of all time.
In 1865 the war finally came to an end with Robert E Lee surrendering to Ulysses S Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. There were a few pieces to take care of in the coming months and the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery would be ratified in December. Unfortunately Abraham Lincoln would not live to see that day come to pass. He was assassinated while attending a play at the Ford Theater on April 15th 1865. The United States lost one of it's finest men that night.
Found on Footnote.com
The United States of America had fought among themselves but the Union remained. Working together they repaired the outward devastation, and the healing of inner wounds inflicted, began. As the country faced the remainder of the 19th century and came into the 20th, a new strength of unity would emerge in the advancements of the American People. They were destined to both then and now, leave their mark of liberty and democracy on the world.A COMPREHENSIVE VIEW OF THE CIVIL WAR can be seen here.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Posted by The History Man at 9:09 AM