Economics of the Civil War
The American Civil War was the most deadly and debatably the most important event in the nation's history. Sectional tensions preserved in the Constitution blowup into a brutal war that cost over 600,000 lives and slashed a nation into two. Slavery was a main cause of the conflict, and while the Thirteenth Amendment ended the practice at war's end, race relations continued to dominate American politics and society well into the future. The war also increased American economic power until it equaled, and then passed all of the other countries’ economies. After the war, Americans had a new sense of being a part of a single nation instead of a multinational of states with their own institutions and histories. Economically, the war was a advantage for the North and a disaster for the South. The North began the war with many advantages more men, more money, more industrial power, and a wide-ranging railroad system. By the end of the war, the North continued to dominate economically, while the withered South struggled to recover economically and psychologically from the destruction of the war. In addition to losing many of its young men, sons, husbands, fathers, and friends to the conflict, the southern planter upper classes was crushed in the war, and never regained its political power. The Civil War was more than just a sequence of battles. It was a nationwide tragedy that had a weighty impact on all aspects of American society. Men were taken from farms, factories and plantations and sent to fight one another leaving women and children to tend to the home front. A large number if casualties on both sides meant that everyone was directly affected by the bloodshed, even those living far from the scene of battle. In the areas where battles did occur, homes, farms, schools, and bridges were steamrolled. War led to the disturbance of American society on an unparalleled scale. Millions of men made their way to the front and the ones they left behind faced a difficult situation. Farms did not have men to till the soil and factories were left with few workers. Although, demands for food and goods increased as the armies ate their way through the war. Women dealt with the burden of the home-front hardships. Many were forced to manage small farms by themselves. Even though women were excluded from the military and from factory work, they found ways to serve in the North. For example, women made bandages from lint, nursed wounded men back to health, and worried about their loved ones on the fighting front. In the Midwest, thousands of women did the best they could to keep their lives together while men were away, and all dreaded the fateful telegrams with the lists of the dead. The war brought more economic opportunities to northern citizens. Factories producing firearms, shells, bullets, blankets, tents, and shells thrived. Work was easy to come by for most young white men and immigrant men in the North, although inflation during the war made it difficult for workers to earn much money. When the draft pulled white men away from their jobs, immigrants mostly the German and Irish filled in. The Southern society had been more limited than northern society, but the war changed this. In addition to the difficulties of producing food and industrial goods which the South struggled more than the North the majority of the fighting took place in the South and the consequences of war took years to heal. In Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina destroyed during Sherman's marches, the war caused tons of damage to homes, farms, and roads. Most of the the railroad system in the south was destroyed during the war making it difficult to bring food from one area to another. The largest changes to southern society were because of the changing role of slaves. Union armies marched forward especially after the Emancipation Proclamation when slaves were freed. Where ever the Union Army did not reach,...
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