In May of 1861 five states in the upper south United States seceded from the Union and joined the seven states already seceded and created the Confederate States of America. This was the beginning of the Civil War; it was the Union against the Confederates. Many People believed that the war would be over quickly they thought it was more of an uprising then a full on war. Nobody expected it to last four years and take so many lives. The Civil War was a serious test for the new democracy of the United States, it tested the strength of the government and all of the people involved. This would be a defining moment for the United States.
One of the reasons for the south secession was the fact that the north was going to abolish slavery and the south still strongly believed in slavery. It was a very strong part of there work force, most of the income was from agriculture and the slaves worked the fields for the farmers. Then in early 1863 Lincoln passd the Emacipation Proclamation this stated that all slaves in the south were free and were welcome in the north. The north hope this would bring African American workers north and they would fight the war with the north.
Another leading cause of the war was the election of president Lincoln he won the election but did not get a single electoral vote from the south. Lincoln was a strong abolishionist and he thought that if slavery was going to stay it should not be allowed in any new states joining the union. This angered the south and they felt that they had not been fairly represented in the election. This fueled many in the south to question if they should stay with the north. There were many important battles in the war but the first was the first battle at Bull Run.
The Union sent a group of volunteer soldiers and they were not ready to fight them lacking training and they were disorderly on the battlefield. The confederate’s army was better prepared for the battle and they had a constant flow of troops coming in so they forced the Union soldiers to retreat. There were nearly 5,000 casualties, this showed that this was going to be long and drawn out. Many civilians came out to watch this battle because they thought that it would be a good form of entertainment, they soon learned that this was not true and that this war would be a bloody one.
The Union also learned that they would not win this war easily and that they needed prepare for this battle. The Confederates had an immediate advantage in the standpoint of strategy because most of the nation’s best military school was in the south, so they get the best trained officers and generals. The Union however had more problems with there generals, President Lincoln had chosen several different generals to lead the Union forces before he finally settled with Ulysses S. Grant.
After the first battle he ordered the south to be cut off from trade outside countries hoping that there economy would slowly die. While the Confederates were using a tactic called attrition which meant they want they wanted the north to lose moral and quit the war. One of the most famous battle of the civil war was the battle of Gettysburg the three day battle included more the 150,000 troops and more then 50,000 casualties with the union finally winning the battle.
When this battle was over president Lincoln made one of the most famous speeches in history The Gettysburg Address it was to dedicate the battlefield as a cemetery. After losing to battles to Lee the victory at Gettysburg was a turning point for the union forces. This lead to another victory for the Union when the took the city of Vicksburg a vital southern city. The south was slowly losing moral. In 1865 the south was beginning to crumble, General Sherman had taken many key cities in the south and was advancing to the north while General Grant was moving his forces south at a rapid pace.
The moral of the Confederate troops was so low that they would just start deserting the battle they were in and flee on foot. This had made the army much smaller, they were finally losing the war when they were cornered they tried retreating but they didn’t make it far. General Lee finally realized that he could not win the war so he agreed to meet with General Grant. They meet in a small court house in Appomattox, Virginia, where General Lee formally surrendered to the Union Forces. After four years and over 500,000 Americans dead the war was over.
Right before the end of the war the President passed the thirteenth amendment which made slavery illeagal in all states. But in April of 1865 President Lincoln was assonated in a theater by John Wilkes Booth. The president was just starting his second term in office and was happy to see the war ending. The American people were in shock and mourned his death, he had a 14 day long funeral precession and people came from all over to honor him. Human life was not the only cost of the war; many cities in the south where the battles took place were basically destroyed.
Miles upon miles of rail road, acres of farm land and countless buildings were left ruined in the wake of the war. The government came up with two plan for reconstruction of the south because the was left tem with little money. The first plan was Lincoln’s plan it said that it pardoned all Confederate soldiers who now honor the Union and it said states could hold elections and have full participation in the government. The other plan was Johnson’s plan is stated that that all the states had to void session and honor the thirteenth amendment and all southerners would be pardoned.
The south was happy to be allowed back with little consequences and to receive help. The civil war was on of the most important points in American history is proved that our government was strong and here to stay. Through out the entire war congress and the other branches continued to function with out problems. They showed that even under dire circumstances like war in your back yard the American people can be strong. Many people today still honor the soldiers who lost there lives by holding civil war reninactments and the sites of famous battles.
The largest one is when they reninact Gettysburg they do it every summer and include more then 3,000 people. When the Union won the war it proved a point, it showed that a sound government and solid leadership is best. The entire time the American people stood behind President Lincoln and General Grant. The confederates didn’t have a full government established and they had problems getting descions made and problems solved quickly. America is now a stronger nation because of this war with its self.