In 1860 the average American believed that they were living the happiest and luckiest a person could be. They were generally living better than their fathers, and looked forward to their children prospering more than themselves. However, at the time America had developed into two very different societies between the North and the South. These changing societies were beginning to adjust to the start of the industrial revolution in separate ways.
In the North slavery had died out as it did not pay. However, in the South in had begun to prosper greatly. This was due to the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 which allowed large amounts of cotton to be raised using slave labour. The North was in favour of the abolition of slavery, this was partly to help ease their conscience. Also they knew that financial loss would not really be felt in the North if the abolition went through. The issue of slave abolition was one important during the civil war and in one of Lincoln 's speeches he summed up the feeling of the nation "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free"
On March 4th 1861 Abraham Lincoln was made President of the United States. However, on December 20th South Carolina seceded from the Union. By February 8th Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas had set up a new nation called the Confederate States of America with Jefferson Davis as their President.
When the war began it was a slight shock to both sides, this was due to neither one truly wanting, or believing, that they 'd fight. In the North, it was viewed that the talks of fighting was just a counter in politics, and threats were used to get what you want, calling their bluff. The South on the other hand didn 't realise that the Federal Union meant so much to the North, and presumed that the North would be happy to be rid of slave owners and any obligations to