The Impact of the Social Changes of the Civil War

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The Impact of the Social Changes of the Civil War

As the United States began to establish itself as a country, more and more problems began to surface within the nation. A perfect example of this would be the American Civil War, which significantly affected society. This brought about many changes within America such as women’s rights movements and decisions regarding African American freedom. Also many of the problems are country had previously left unresolved were soon to be resolved too. The social changes of the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era greatly affected the years that followed it as well.

The American Civil War was different from many of the wars the United States had fought in at this time. Mostly this nation had only helped out in wars for other countries, or to just become one country itself. By the mid-1800s though, the separate areas of the U.S. had begun to develop diverse ideas regarding many important decisions. The separate areas of the Unites States quickly shifted into the North or the South. One of the matters in particular that the North and the South greatly disagreed on was slavery. [Slave owners] feared that the activities of abolitionists would make it more difficult to run their plantation system. Where possible they wanted to see an expansion of slavery into other areas. (Simkin 2)

While the North believed it should be abolished, the South felt that the African American slaves were important to their economy. (Simkin 1-3) As the tensions rose between the North and South, the South began talks of seceding from the North and forming their own country. After Abraham Lincoln was elected president, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas decided to secede. In doing so, they formed their own government and renamed themselves the Confederate States of America. They elected their own president, and eventually the Civil War as the United States knows it started. (Davis 143-145) After about four years of fighting, the Civil War finally ended in about 1865. Although the Northern states won, there were many predicaments still unsettled. Even though Abraham Lincoln had freed the slaves in the North, the Confederate States were still getting by with slavery. Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation of Proclamation had a dramatic impact on the lives of African American slaves throughout the United States. As Frederick Douglass says in The Civil War: Opposing Viewpoints, “But read the proclamation for it is the most important of any to which the president of the United States has signed his name,” (Dudley 181). Just by demanding that all slavery be abolished in certain areas, this considerably changed the ways of the African American people. With this new feeling of freedom, many African Americans began to fight for other rights to accompany this. (Dudley 180-183) No longer having to provide slave work for whites, the African Americans began to become more knowledgeable about the privileges that they would be able to have. They began to fight for the right to vote and the right to land. Among fighting for specific civil liberties such as those, African Americans also fought for equality between both races. Without the drive of these forerunners in the fight for equality, many slaves would not have the opportunities that they did after the Civil War. They were able to obtain more of the same rights as white people of that time and also to use these privileges wisely. (Dudley 180-183) With many new amendments appearing in favor of African Americans, the different races in America began to become more equal. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments all expanded the rights of African Americans by declaring such statements as all slaves had to be freed. The Fifteenth Amendment also gave African Americans the right to vote which greatly affected the way blacks were portrayed at this time. By earning the right to vote, they were...
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