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African Americans: Participation in the Civil War

According to Olivia Mahoney ‘In 1776, slaves composed forty percent of the population of the colonies from Maryland south to Georgia, but well below ten percent in the colonies to the North’, (p. 41) hence the North failed to develop slavery as successfully as the South did. Meanwhile, the need for slaves grew rapidly the further years in the South. However, that was not the only reason for the inside state confrontation.

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So, in the northern states the Civil War (1861-1865) began with the succession of the Confederate states from the Union. With the outbreak of the Civil War within the United Stated the slaves were more than ready to get to action, fight equally with white soldiers, and accept the “institution of slavery” passively due to the reason that they were so tired and ‘African Societies were never free from influences that originated outside of the continent’. (Robin D.G.K. p.6)

Hence, certainly, they wanted to fight against those who had enslaved them and their relatives. However, African Americans had to overcome a lot of challenges and difficulties like withstanding the battles before they were admitted to enlistment and actually proving to the white soldiers that they can fight, too. Being so devoted to the idea of emancipation they even disguised themselves in order to have a chance to fight at first. Therefore, it is completely subjective to claim that the Civil War was none of their (African Americans) business.

In order to explain the role of African Americans in the sectional conflict it is desirable to understand the essence of the actual conflict itself. This was a pitfall that had been waiting for the American nation for many years, though being perfectly disguised.

Surprisingly for Americans the country turned into a very contradictory piece of geographical, economical, and cultural history. Gradually it had been growing into the controversial state, Namely, America was both the free-loving country and a slave-holding society. This is, to my mind, the prior fact for the outburst of the sectional conflict. Besides, it must be mentioned that the great challenge for the US was the nation being diverse.

Moreover, there was one uncommon feature the state possessed those years: the overriding difference between North and South, namely it was slavery.

There was a situation when the Northerners began to condemn slavery; this is when the actual sectional conflict began. The reason for that was the utmost importance of the “peculiar institution” for the Southern economy. They used to be the best and the only mean for whites to gather cotton crops. While the Northerners began to deny the responsibly of the slaves for the economy backwardness, they were the ones to gather huge profits from the crops’ selling and, hence, became the leading and increasing economically powered.

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Not only due to the economical reasons had the conflict taken place. Also, the whites feared that blacks would compete with them in case the slavery abolishment, while the southern whites defended slavery for the sake of saving the white supremacy.

In conclusion, it is to be said the African Americans were doing their utmost in order to prevent slavery during the Civil War. Moreover, despite other reasons for the war’s outbreak Americans had, emancipation was the first and the foremost reason for African Americans to stand up and fight.

References

Olivia M., & Eric, F. A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln. Chicago Historical Society, 1990. Print.

Robin D. G. K., &Earl Lewis. To Make Our World Anew: Volume I: A History of African Americans to 1880. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.

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