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Civil War Essay, Research Paper

Civil War

The Civil War started on April 12, 1861. It was a military conflict between the United States of America, which was known as the union and the Confederate States of America know as the Confederacy. It began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, and lasted until May 26, 1865, when the last Confederate army surrendered. The war took more than 600,000 lives, destroyed five billion dollars worth of property and brought freedom to 4 million black slaves.

The main cause of the war was slavery. Southern states depended on slavery to support their agricultural economy. Only a small amount of Northerners were against slavery. However, they were opposed to its expansion, in part because they did not want to compete against slave labor. The main debate centered on whether slavery should be allowed in the Western territories, recently acquired during the Mexican War, which lasted from 1846-1848.

The North and the South had developed into two very different regions by 1860. The North was firmly established as an industrial society. The South remained largely agricultural. At that time the federal government’s main source of its profits was the tariff on imported goods. Southerners, who imported many manufactured goods, opposed tariffs, while the manufacturing economy of the North demanded high tariffs to protect its products from foreign competition. The expanding Northwest Territory was far from the markets its grain and cattle were used at. They built roads and canals for survival and supported demands for high tariffs. In addition, loyalty to one’s state was often the priority over loyalty to one’s country in the early days of the United States. Neither North or the South had any strong sense of the stability of the Union.

In 1861, Seven southern states set up confederacy on February 8, with Jefferson Davis as president, they captured federal arsenals and forts. The Civil War began as Confederates fired on Ft. Sumter in Charleston, SC, on April 12. They captured the fort on April 14. By April 15 there was a new president in office. He was Abraham Lincoln. He asked for 75,000 volunteers to block southern ports on April 19, cutting off exports and aid. The Confederates turned against Union forces at the first Battle of Bull Run July 21. That same year the First transcontinental telegraph was put in operation.

In 1862, the Homestead Act was approved on May 20. This granted free family farms to settlers. The Land Grant Act approved July 7, providing for public land sale to benefit agricultural education. This eventually led to the establishment of state university systems.

In 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, freeing ?all slaves in areas still in rebellion.? The entire Mississippi River was in Union hands by July 4. The Union forces won a major victory at Gettysburg, PA, on July 1-3. Lincoln read his famous Gettysburg Address November 19. Later that year draft riots in New York City killed or wounded about 1,000 men. Rioters protested provision allowing money payment in place of service. Such payments were ended in 1864. In 1864, General Sherman marched through Georgia, taking Atlanta, September 1 and Savannah, December 22.

In the last year of the war, General Robert E. Lee surrendered 27,800 Confederate troops to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, VA, April 9, 1865. J. E. Johnston surrendered 31,200 to General Sherman at Durham Station, NC, April 18, 1865. The Last rebel troops surrendered May 26.

President Lincoln was shot April 14, by John Wilkes Booth, in Ford?s Theater, Washington, DC. He died the following morning. Booth was reported dead April 26. The Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, was ratified December 6. Ending the Civil War.

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