American Civil War

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The American Civil War

In 1860, arguably the world's greatest nation was locked in Civil War. The war divided the country between the North (Union) and South (Confederate). The war lasted five years and by 1865 the Confederate forces were truly beaten. Out of this horrendous war though, where some 600,000 men died grew a greater sense of nationalism than is today, unrivalled around the world. The American Civil War is interpreted differently by many historians but most see the catalyst as slavery, the motivation as economic, the outcome was a unified national identity.

Slavery was a major issue that triggered the American Civil War. Slavery started out, as a few individual slaves coming from England that were generally white. This changed however, and soon the Southern slave traders began 'stealing' blacks to take back to the South. The slaves were forced to work 16-hour days, slave women were only seen as breeders and there were no laws against the rape of a female slave. In 1860 slaves accounted for one third of the South's population and even still they had no rights (see appendix one). The Unionist North many people believed it was immoral to own another human being. These people were called Abolitionists. The South relied strongly on the slave trade and when the North spoke of abolishing it, the South spoke of forming there own country, The Confederate states of America. The South began to see that the North was going to take action against the South's inhumane slave policy. In early 1860, South Carolina formed under a new flag, Confederate States of America flag, so that they could continue to operate their slave trade. What followed was an ordinance of succession which saw the other slave populated states also swear an oath to the Confederate States of America, also so that they could continue their slave trade. This situation was found to be unworkable and it divided the country in two. So in the words of Abraham Lincoln, 'A house divide against...
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