August 22, 2012
Civil War Paper
The Civil War was fought between Americans from the North and the South. Many factors led to the eventual conflict, but none was more important than the issue of slavery. While Northerners felt slavery was essentially against what America stood for, Southerners depended on slavery to maintain their economy. The conflict resulted in the South wanting to secede from the Union and exist as a collection of Confederate states acting as their own country. The North (Union) insisted on keeping the United States in-tact and abolishing slavery from the South. After four to five years and a collection of bloody battles, the North won the war despite having military leaders who were not as experienced as the South’s and sustaining more casualties. In the documentary The Civil War, historian Shelby Foote stated, “Any understanding of this nation has to be based…on an understanding of the Civil War . . . The Civil War defined us as what we are, and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things. It is very necessary if you’re going to understand the American character in the 20th century to learn about this enormous catastrophe of the mid-19th century. It was the crossroads of our being.” (Burns & Burns, Episode 1: the cause, 1990) What Foote was referring to in this quote was how the Civil War shaped the United States into the great power it has been known for since the end of the war. After the war ended, America began a period of tremendous growth, led by President Abraham Lincoln that steered America in a direction that has grown into a country of great power. Many Northerners felt forced labor was morally wrong and with the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the re-election of Lincoln as president, slavery was abolished. This decision led to the idea of true democracy, an idea Americans enjoyed going into the 20th century up to present day. The federal...