As a nation fights its internal threats, as it falls into the tremors of war and discord it has the possibility of losing much of itself in the flow of blood and turmoil and is often at the hazard of not ever being able to stand back up on its feet.
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Strength for the final explosion
In the case of the American Civil War, however, the glory that it has ultimately brought to its people is of a different kind. Even though the Civil War burst upon the United States, with almost the suddenness of the meteor’s glare, almost like an eruption of a volcano where pent up fires had, for ages, been gathering strength for the final explosion (Abbott, p. 14) it created eternal figures, events, heroes and lessons for the history and people of the United States of America. The heroes created by it have been immortalized forever and names resound with millions of Americans who reenact replica wool uniforms, Springfield rifled muskets discuss “the War” and pay homage to names such as Lincoln, Robert Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and “Stonewall” Jackson (Catton, p. 1). Its eminence lies perhaps in the scope of the conflict fought on a continental scale. The grand scale upon which it was fought added to the historical drama and element of the war. Once it was over, men wrote of battles and sieges and restoration and reconstruction soon after. Further few years down the line, however, experts began to appear, disclosing insight and the social, economic, and industrial causes and consequences of the war (Thorpe, p. 4).
Chaos in a country
At a time of political, social, and economic chaos in a country, its greatest threat to its solidarity can often become its people. It was the same case in the American Civil War, where the divided opinion of two sides of democratically elected and politically sound governments clashed, leading to one of the greatest wars to be fought in American history. The war brought a climax to ideological warfare between Federalist and Anti-Federalist factions even before the ratification of the Constitution (Sidlow and Henschen, p. 60). As a result of it, the greatest issue that could have ailed a nation as big in its size and diversity was brought to terms. The war could have been avoided if the Southern states would have compromised on the slavery issue; however, it was in the interest of future stability that the war established strong and disciplined grounds where the issue of state vs. national supremacy was concerned. The incidents and the bloodshed of war made sure that the people of the United States would not confront themselves in the future with the conflict and chaos when it came to the division of powers. The Civil War helped establish a truly federal nature of the United States Constitution, making it possible for social and political differences to find themselves aligned in the name of the federation.
The issue of slavery
Although through the eyes of relativity, no war would ever completely benefit its people, especially a civil war, since war only brings destruction. However, in the long-term impact, wars are often inevitable and necessary in some cases. It also brought along with it a rhetorical and historical landmark: the emancipation of slaves. The issue that provoked the war was the issue of slavery. It took the shape of national versus state supremacy. The conflicts, upon which civil rights and civil liberties of the African-Americans stand today, were contested in that very war. To the commemorators of ethnic and racial justice, the American Civil War is a counteraction to the denial of rights to African Americans. It created a cause for social unity for the African-Americans to be treated as equals and not chattel.
Despite the chaos and spoils of war and its implications, the Civil War stands at a unique position in American history. It stands as a symbol of emancipation, of making America land of the ‘free’ and home of the ‘brave’, and celebrates the true spirit of democracy, freedom, and justice.
Abbott, John S. C. The History of the Civil War in America; Comprising a Full and Impartial Account of the Origin and Progress of the Rebellion, of the Various Naval and Military Engagements, of the Heroic Deeds Performed by Armies and Individuals, and of Touching Scenes in the Field, the Camp, the Hospital, and the Cabin. New York: H. Bill, 1863.
Catton, Bruce. The Civil War. New York: American Heritage Press, 1971.
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Sidlow, Edward, and Beth Henschen. America at Odds. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth, 2003.
Thorpe, Francis Newton. The Civil War: The National View. Phildelphia: G. Barrie, 1906.