There are several events that redefined the future of the United States from 1400 to 1865. One of them was the Civil War that took place during the early 1860s. Many scholars acknowledge that this upheaval was catalyzed by the burning issue of slavery. The war was between the Confederate States of America and the United States. During the period, it was evident that eleven Southern states had already withdrawn from the United States of America union in order to engage in slavery. The Civil War remains an important historical moment since it led to the establishment of a united country and promoted new laws and frameworks. Such regulations continue to support the welfare of every American citizen today. This paper discusses, evaluates, and analyzes the implications of this turning point.
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The Civil War: A Significant Moment in U.S. History
I believe that the American Civil War was a defining moment in the history of the United States. This is true since it changed the way many citizens envisioned their country (Hummel, 2013). After the end of the conflict, the United States of America was now seen as an indivisible nation. The problem of autonomous states that wanted to be recognized was addressed. Consequently, the United States was created as a sovereign state governed by appropriate laws and regulations (Important from Montgomery, 1861). Many historians also acknowledge that the event catalyzed the establishment of new values that would define the country for many years.
The passage of several constitutional amendments after this upheaval made the United States stronger than ever before. For instance, the XIII, XIV, and XV bills were passed to ensure that all states were combined to form a single state that focused on the rights of all people. Murphy (2015) argues that such amendments led to the abolishment of slavery, equal protection, and provision of voting rights. From this analysis, it is evident that the selected turning point created the best environment for nurturing democracy and strengthening the United States. If it were not for this war, chances are high that the country would have disintegrated even further. This kind of disunity could have given rise to several independent or autonomous states.
Causes and Events
The main trigger of the Civil War was the desire of southern states to retain their autonomy and engage in the illegal trade of slavery. However, several events and causes are known to have catalyzed this war. The first one was the end of the infamous Mexican War. This occurrence led to the passage of the Compromise of 1850 by Congress. This meant that California was now a free state. The second issue was the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (Hummel, 2013). This law empowered and guided abolitionists to address the problem of slavery. A book titled Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet B. Stowe was published in 1852. This text persuaded many northerners to view slavery negatively.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 encouraged the territories of Nebraska and Kansas to decide if they wanted to engage in slavery or not. Violence broke out in Kansas due to this issue. During the same period, Preston Brooks attacked Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate due to the critical issue of slavery. In 1857, the Lecompton Constitution was passed with the aim of allowing the territory of Kansas to embrace the idea of slavery (Reid, 2014). Voters in the region rejected the document in order to ensure that Kansas remained a free territory.
In 1859, James Brown (a radical abolitionist) was hanged for starting an uprising that focused on the issue of slavery. His trial and death are referenced by many historians as one of the movements that set the stage for the infamous warfare. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected to become the country’s president. Following his win, South Carolina and the other six territories (states) decided to withdraw from the Union (Civil War, 1861). As the new president, Lincoln declared that slavery would not be extended to new states that had become part of the Union. A new rebellion emerged in the south as more territories seceded to establish the Confederate States of America. The president and his supporters marched southwards to suppress this uprising. Such an initiative would also result in the Civil War.
Changing the Course of History
Doyle (2017) acknowledges that the Civil War changed the course of American history forever. The first outstanding transformation was that the conflict led to the passage and ratification of the 13 amendments or bills. Such laws were cited to abolish slavery forever. Although many African Americans continued to suffer at the hands of their superiors or landowners, the war created the best environment for promoting civil liberties. The infamous Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was fuelled by this historic conflict. The end of slavery in the 1860s made it easier for many citizens to pursue their economic and social goals.
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The bloody conflict taught every American citizen that fighting was an inappropriate method for solving national challenges. This was the case since over 600,000 people died during the war. Consequently, future challenges and problems in the country would be addressed using evidence-based measures. Another change that reshaped the future of the country was the establishment of a powerful federal government (Sexton, 2017). This move compelled different states to remain part of the Union. The constitution became a significant document that supported the rights of all American citizens. The establishment of the United States as sovereignty was the ultimate price.
Sexton (2017) goes further to indicate that the Civil War was the beginning of a new journey that would eventually bring equal rights and opportunities to many African Americans in the country. Although this goal was not achieved within a short time, the upheaval transformed race relations in the state. It also made it easier for all people to pursue their economic, educational, and career objectives.
Impact on Today’s Society
The Civil War can be described as a major event in the history of the United States that continues to impact the lives of many American citizens today. The idea of racial equality is something that defines America’s modern social and economic issues. This is a debate that has been embraced by citizens for many decades. Most of the liberties and rights empowering many minority groups borrow a lot from the ideologies pursued during the Civil War period (Doyle, 2017). Many minority groups such as lesbians, women, and gays use similar concepts and arguments to fight for their rights. This means that the future of every American society will be dictated by the ideals of this upheaval.
Another impact of this turning point is that it made the United States an industrial nation. Many people appreciate various goods and services produced from different sectors of the economy. Before the Civil War, a number of states in the South mainly focused on agricultural products such as cotton. However, the upheaval opened up such regions to the wave of industrialization (Doyle, 2017). Consequently, the country’s economy grew and diversified within a short period. Consequently, different sectors emerged and thrived, thereby making the country politically stable and improving the lifestyles of many citizens.
The formation of a federal government made it easier for resources to be shared proportionately. Appropriate laws that could support the welfare of every American citizen were also passed. Such achievements continue to dictate or influence the lives of many people in the country. It is also evident that the United States has remained a strong country for many years after the Civil War. This kind of unity made it easier for this state to emerge victorious during the Great War and the Second World War (Sexton, 2017). From this analysis, it is evident that the infamous Civil War is a major event that has impacted every aspect of today’s American society.
The above discussion has indicated that the Civil War is a significant moment in the history of the United States. The reason for this argument is that it led to the establishment of a country composed of like-minded states. The event also encouraged many leaders to abolish slavery. Consequently, it catalyzed numerous changes such as the enactment of new amendments that continue to protect the rights and liberties of many American citizens. This war also promoted positive race relations, economic performance, and desirable living conditions in the United States.
Civil War and its consequences. (1861). Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Web.
Doyle, D. H. (2017). Introduction: The Atlantic World and the crisis of the 1860s. In D. H. Doyle (Ed.), American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe, and the crisis of the 1860s (pp. 1-14). Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press Books.
Hummel, J. (2013). Emancipating slaves, enslaving free men: A history of the American Civil War (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: Open Court.
Murphy, D. J. (2015). Naval strategy during the American Civil War. New York, NY: Pickle Partners Publishing.
Reid, B. H. (2014). The origins of the American Civil War. New York, NY: Routledge.
Sexton, J. (2017). The Civil War and U.S. world power. In D. H. Doyle (Ed.), American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe, and the crisis of the 1860s (pp. 15-33). Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press Books.