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Reaction To Civil War Essay

1958 words - 8 pages

Reaction Paper

Even though the emancipation of slaves was one of the consequences of the Civil War, the general ideas about freedom and liberty did not apply to African-Americans during the nineteenth century. I agree with this statement because although the Civil War eventually abolished slavery, the ideas, and meaning of freedom and liberty, were not necessarily universal. With the rising of the Abolitionist Movement many changes came to the United States. Slavery was banned in the North-West territories with the Ordinance of 1787 and by 1804 most of the Northern states passed laws that would eventually abolish slavery. In the South however, slavery not only remained legal, but it ...view middle of the document...

“In the eye of the southerners, Lincoln victory placed their future at the mercy of a party avowedly hostile to their region’s values and interests” (Foner p496) “Rather than accept minority status in a nation governed by opponents, deep south political leaders boldly struck for their nations independence. At stake they believed was not only an election but a way of life.” (VOF p287) The Republicans tried to extend their party to the South by appealing to the non-slaveholders, so in the following month of Lincoln’s election, seven states seceded from the Union. South Carolina was the first to secede, which harmonized with the overall scheme since it did have the highest population of slaves, matched with “a long history of political radicalism.” (Foner p497) As more and more of the South started to embrace the idea of seceding they began to equate their struggle with the fight for American Independence. The Union began to quiver, claiming that secession was not an available venture, and when that proved unsuccessful, the union attempted to compromise with the seceding states of the South. The South rejected, although many people in the South believed that these compromises would prevent civil war. Alexander H. Stephens was a political leader in Georgia, who initially opposed secession, but when appointed vice president of the Confederacy, he delivered a speech on the necessity of severing the ties with the Union, and how their America would be a better America. “Stephens would write a long book arguing that the Civil War was caused not by slavery, but by a constitutional question--the South’s existence on a preserving state sovereignty against an overly powerful national government..” (VOF p291) In Lincoln’s inaugural address he denied the intention of interfering with slavery. Prominent leaders in both the North and the South claim that slavery was not the cardinal motive yet the threat of Civil War still loomed over the heads of the Union and the Confederacy. The Civil War would be recognized as the first “Modern War” with the advances in technology, and those advances would prove to be considerably deadlier than wars that preceded it. The first critical brawl was the first Battle of Bull Run, which took place in Virginia and resulted in a desperate retreat by the Union. The blood count was over 800. A number which was far surpassed as the war went along. The Civil War presented many changes to America. The most significant was the essential destruction of slavery. Nearly 4 million slaves from the south were granted their freedom. As slavery began to diminish, blacks were gradually considered to be allowed to enlist in the war and fight for the Union, and most were determined to take full advantage of the opportunity. Emancipation began to seem like a valid idea because “Since slavery stood as the foundation of the southern economy, emancipation would weaken the South’s ability to sustain the war.”(Foner p515) In the summer of 1862 Lincoln...

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