The Civil War in the USA is one of the most significant periods in the history of the country. Karl Marx recognized it as a confrontation of two historical epochs – the capitalist and the feudal, which in spite of the hardships helped to unify the nation.
One of the reasons that provoked the war was the differences between the free and slave states regarding the ways of empowering the national government over the prohibition of slavery within the non-states territories. The overwhelming number of the northern Americans constituted the major political power in the government. The South supported the ideas of dividing the nation on the basis of race differences. The justification of laws that influenced the segregation of blacks appeared in the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1896. They approved the constitutionality of a Louisiana act that required "separate but equal" status for the passengers while using railroads. The segregation spread over the southern states and led to an uprising disturbance of the North thus generating one of the reasons for the war to begin.
The climate differences are also recognized among the causes of the confrontation. The northern soil and climate gave the comfortable establishment basis for the big cities rather than the land under large plantations as it was in the South. There was an opportunity to live in urban areas and develop industries fueled by a big amount of natural resources. The agriculture was profitable for the South, and the profitable climate disposed using slaves to manage the large crops of tobacco and cotton.
Southern economy considered slavery to be rather useful mechanism and, therefore, warmly welcomed Stephen A. Douglas’ Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 that permitted the states to choose whether there would be slavery on their particular territory or not. At the same time, Northern politicians tried to fight against it. After Lincoln headed the government in 1860, eleven states left the Union. Considering it unacceptable, Lincoln declared war for the purpose of preserving the Union (“Causes and effects of the Civil War,” 2015).
In 1862, Abraham Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation that demanded the cease of the Southern states rebellion by January 1st, 1863. In case of the negative answer, the Proclamation would start and the enforced suppression would start. Finally, it was applied only to the South. It should be mentioned that more than 100 antislavery societies fought against slavery. Black people also resisted such an unfaithful treatment both actively and passively. However, the changes for most of them did not come at once, after the Civil War Amendments starting with 1865 year. The legal equality got successfully established by the civil rights movements.
The first amendments made to the U.S. Constitution in 60 years were the 13th (1865), 14th (1868), and 15th Amendments (1870.) The Civil War Amendments ensured the equality for the slaves that got emancipated. The Thirteenth Amendment officially abolished the slavery and prohibits it to this day. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that all people born or naturalized in the US are American citizens embodying African Americans (“Causes and effects of the Civil War,” 2015). The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution forbids each government from not allowing a citizen to have his or her right to vote based on that citizen's race or color.
Reconstruction lasted from 1865 to 1877. Within this period of time, the United States government tried to renovate the nation after the war. The Southern states returned to the Union, and the process of their government was quite successful in passing the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Nevertheless, there were certain inadequacies that failed the whole plan. The slaves remained without any rights to own farms, and stayed illiterate. African-Americans were unprotected and had no other way but to work for whites again. The economy of the South was still ruined when the Reconstruction was stopped, and most of the population was in poverty.
At that time, there existed a slang word “Jim Crow”, denoting any southern law that introduced different rules for blacks and whites. It was a response to Reconstruction. In the depressed 1890s, whites tend to act unfaithfully to the blacks, which was caused the fears to lose their jobs to the latter. In South Carolina, for example, textile workers of different skin color were not allowed to share one room. What is more, many industries did not offer jobs to blacks, and many unions rewrote the rules in order to exclude them (Constitutional Rights Foundation, 2015). The period came to its finish by 1950s when the civil rights movement began.
The aims of the civil right movement included the following: ending segregation, providing the blacks with place to live and giving them places to work, desegregating educational establishments as well as other public places, reversing the “separate but equal”, and obtaining general equality. Most of the requirements were achieved, since the Congress invented a number of Acts that shaped the fate for the minorities of the United States (International Slavery Museum, n.d.) As a result, black people showed themselves in mass media, African American Studies appeared in the education system, non-violence times came back. Civil Rights Act of 1964 replaced ineffective Civil rights Act of 1875 and 1957, and abolished all the segregation, as well as ended discrimination based on gender, religion, national origin and gender, public capabilities and other public accessions. The 24th Amendment signifies that inability to satisfy the required payments of a poll tax does not enable a State or Federal government to deprive people of the right to vote. Voting Rights Act of 1965 cancelled the so-called literacy test and other invalidating factors that prevented the black people from participation in the elections in the South. Congress created these acts and it provided blacks with the legal rights for equality in getting jobs, houses, attending any places they wanted and voting, that played an important role in reunification of the nation.
The Civil War period was quite hard for the United States, but it taught the nation to respect people who are different in color, race, gender, or any other feature. It forced Americans to conquer their fears, hesitations, and proved that proper decisions are significant in saving lives and providing comfortable existence. Even though the majority of black and white people learned to live peacefully next to each other, the Civil War was a bitter lesson for them in reaching understanding and equity.