The American Civil War was a watershed instant in our country’s history. Ten thousand battles were fought across the globe between 1861 and 1865 (Hall et al., 2019). The war settled critical questions unaddressed by the revolution. The first was whether the United States was a soluble confederation of independent nations or an undivided country with a sovereign federal government (Allin, 2019). Second, whether this nation, born of a declaration that all men were equally entitled to freedom, would continue to exist as the world’s largest slave states country (Hall et al., 2019). The American Civil War was challenged in the United States between the Union “the North” and the Confederacy “the South.” At the end of the Civil War in 1860, four million Americans were enslaved blacks, nearly all who lived in the South.
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Advantages The North and South Had at The Outset of The Civil War
At the start of the Civil War, the North had several advantages over the South. The North had a larger population, a more substantial industrial base, wealth, and a more established government (Allin, 2019). The northern population, which immigrants and a larger population had bolstered, could resupply their military forces with new troops. The workforce being diverted to the war effort harmed the southern states’ industrial production. The North had enough workforce to continue producing rifles, cannons, and gunboats (Allin, 2019). The South States, also known as the Confederates, benefited from the ability to fight a defensive war rather than an offensive one (Hall et al., 2019). The South needed to defend and preserve their new borders, but didn’t have to be the imperialists against the Union.
At the end of the war, the North emerged victoriously, also referred to as the Union. The North’s agriculture was even more prosperous and more diverse than the South’s (Hall et al., 2019). The Union had a larger navy, which hindered the Confederacy’s attempts to trade with Europe. The North’s offensive war strategy was costly in terms of casualties, as it destroyed a large portion of the Confederate army (Allin, 2019). The South also benefited from the fighting taking place within Confederate territory. Following this gave the Confederate troops an advantage because they were more familiar with the terrain than the North. In addition, the South or the confederates were waging a defensive war (Allin, 2019). All the South had to do was repel the Northern invasion.
Abraham Lincoln’s Position on Secession
Seven southern states seceded from the Union shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected president in November 1860. The secessionists contended that each state had the right to secede from the Union (Williams, 2019). Lincoln opposed the secession claiming that they did not have that right. Lincoln’s opposing reasons were that secession was unlawful and states could not separate physically (Williams, 2019). Lincoln also added that if a government allowed secession, it would disintegrate into anarchy and encourage them to be friends rather than enemies (Williams, 2019). Secession would devastate the world’s only living democracy, proving once and for all to future Americans and the rest of the world that a people’s government cannot survive.
President Lincoln’s Leadership Legacy
March 4, 1861, was the day of Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration ceremony. Briefly, after the White House reception, the new Sixteenth President of the United States received an important message from Major Robert Anderson (Williams, 2019). Anderson was the commander of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Anderson cautioned that the Fort required supplies, particularly food and water (Williams, 2019). Unless the troops were provided for quickly, the newly constituted Confederacy would compel the troops and the two companies operating to surrender to the newly constituted Confederacy (Williams, 2019).
This circumstance left the incoming president and the Union in a difficult position. Lincoln did not want to launch a war, let alone one over an old fort that the federal government had never finished building after the War of 1812 (Allin, 2019). However, Lincoln did not want to give up the symbol that had come to signify the North (Allin, 2019). As a result, Lincoln chose to shift the emphasis from “symbolism” to “humanitarianism” and force the Confederates but not the Union to determine the question of war solely on that basis.
President Lincoln presented a plan to the Cabinet on March 29. Only the Secretary of State, William H. Seward, opposed, but later ultimately realized Lincoln’s rationale was sound. Satisfied with the Cabinet’s support, Lincoln ordered three ships to sail from New York to Charleston. On April 6, Lincoln scripted the government’s strategies to South Carolina’s governor, Francis Pickens. Lincoln stated that the US Navy would resupply Sumter, but the three ships were unarmed and coming in peace to offload only food and water with no reinforcements or weapons (Williams, 2019). This concern engulfed more than just the fate of the United States.
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Effects of The Civil War
More than a million people were killed or injured as a result of the Civil War. Following the Civil War, tensions between whites and blacks continued to rise in the United States. Hall et al. (2019) argue that moral prominence in American society has waned due to the long-running war. The United States lost its greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated in the head by an extreme named John Wilkes Booth after the Civil War ended (Williams, 2019).
According to Burke (2019), slavery was abolished, citizenship was awarded to all persons born in the United States, and the women’s rights movement gained traction due to the Civil War. When it became apparent that states could not simply opt to quit the Union, the idea of the states as a single entity became more dominant (Burke, 2019). The American Civil War will be remembered in generations with its effects still experienced.
Allin, L. C. (2019). The Civil War and the period of decline: 1861-1913. In America’s Maritime Legacy: A history of the US merchant marine and shipbuilding industry since colonial times (pp. 65-110). Routledge.
Burke, D. M. (2019). The transformation of Middle America during the era of the Civil War. Reviews in American History, 47(2), 221-228. Web.
Hall, A. B., Huff, C., & Kuriwaki, S. (2019). Wealth, slave ownership, and fighting for the Confederacy: An empirical study of the American Civil War. American Political Science Review, 113(3), 658-673. Web.
Williams, F. J. (2019). Look at Lincoln: Leadership: In Turbulent Times. Civil War book review, 21(1), 2. Web.