Free «The American Civil War» Essay Sample

The American Civil War

Causes of the American Civil War

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 contradicted the Missouri Act of 1820. It led to the splitting of the Whig Party into two factions. One supported the southerners and came to be known as a Democratic Party, while the other, which was for the northerners, became a Republican Party. Most of the Missouri inhabitants wanted their neighbors to be slave states. It resulted in tension among several states, which culminated in the Civil War, which erupted between the anti-slavery and pro-slavery settlers in Kansas. In 1857, Dred Scott, a slave, accused his master’s widow. He claimed that his master had escorted him to free soils. The court ruled against Scott, and it aroused anger in the North. In 1959, John Brown raided a government arsenal in Virginia and seized weapons to aid Southern slaves to escape. Although he was arrested and tried for treason, it prepared the South for the future war. Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1960 through the Republican Party. He was a threat to the South. As a result, seven Southern states separated from the Union and formed Confederate States (Keene, Cornell, and O’Donnell 565). Therefore, the cause of the American Civil War can be summed as the perception that the northerners planned to impose their values on the southerners.

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The Connection between the American Civil War and Slavery

Abraham Lincoln started the war to prevent the fall of the Union. According to Keene Connell, and O’Donnell, the states fought to have their own rights, which would not be influenced by the whims of the federal government (566). Confederate soldiers fought to have an independent country that supported slavery. Moreover, northerners had never aimed to free slaves or for the freedom of the blacks, but struggled for slavery. However, the Emancipation Proclamation made the North fight to free slaves and end slavery in the Union. At the end of the Civil War, slaves were released in both states.

The North’s Advantages in the American Civil War

President Abraham Lincoln had big support of the North during his elections. Due to it, he waited until that region was well prepared to start the war. The North had a large population of twenty-one million people, while the South had only nine million inhabitants, out of which four million were slaves. It enabled the former to have the manpower for the war. The North had industrial advantages over the South, with more than seventy percent of all railroads in the country (Keene, Cornell, and O’Donnell 595). Moreover, it had a stable functioning government with a strong navy and army. The latter enabled the North to have control over the sea and import gunpowder and firearms.

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The South’s Advantages in the American Civil War

The greatest advantage that the South had over the North was that it was fighting to defend its territories (Keene, Cornell, and O’Donnell 574). Most of the military training colleges were in this region. Hence, the South had a large army with trained officers equipped with necessary skills to survive in the war. Besides, due to the Southern landscape consisted of many mountains and rivers, the rebels could take up a defensive position against the Northern invaders and harass them. Southern soldiers had a fighting spirit since they fought to maintain their way of life. The Southern whites had a sense of unity as compared to the Northerners, who were divided based on the issue of slavery.

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Events that turned the tide of the American Civil War in 1863

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which stated that slaves in rebellious states were to be freed and enrolled into the United States Army to serve and receive payments (Keene, Cornell, and O’Donnell 615). It meant the eradication of slavery within the Union. As a result, most slaves escaped from their masters and joined the latter to fight for their freedom. These events straightened the Union both politically and militarily. Thus, the Emancipation Proclamation changed the initial aim of the Civil War. Slavery was a major issue that led to the war, Abraham Lincoln’s aim was to maintain the Union. The Proclamation changed the goal of the war as a fight for the Union into a struggle to free slaves. It did not end the war, but transformed it. Thus, through the Proclamation the war for the Union became a war for freedom in 1863.

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Abraham Lincoln became a president thanks to the support of the Republican Party, which promoted anti-slavery policies. It meant that he was against slavery too. Although in his campaign, Abraham Lincoln had vowed not to abolish slavery because it contributed to the economy of the South greatly, he stopped its expansion on some territories. His aim of starting the war was to maintain the Union because its breakage would be a betrayal to the Republic’s founders. Therefore, he used his power as a leader to ensure that the unity of the states was achieved regardless of the situation at hand. The issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 indicated that Abraham Lincoln was against slavery because it led to the freedom of slaves. Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest American leaders, who had ever lived. It took him a great deal of courage to develop a stand considered by the majority as a real threat to the well-being of society.

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