United States Civil War

United States Civil War

Since the thirteen American states had regained their independence, the war has begun to some extent in the middle of the country. Social, land, economic, and racial issues eventually exacerbated in the great political and also class struggle of the North and South of the country. The turning point was the Civil War of 1861-1865, which is considered the bloodiest war of the entire time of the existence of the United States. 650,000 Americans died during the conflict (Edwards 48). It is more than during World War I, II, Vietnam, and Korean wars combined. The war laid the foundations for a new America with its new political structure, economy, and mentality of the citizens.

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The American Civil War was a conflict between the northern states and 11 slave states of the South, which separated from the United States of America and rebelled to preserve the slavery regime. The war started from the battle for Fort Sumter and ended when the last troops of the Confederates surrendered. About 2,000 battles happened during this historical period (Capek 82). The war was the largest in terms of human losses in the United States.

The Civil War is a confrontation between the two systems – slavery and free labor. The first system was supported by the southern states, the political elite of which was slaveholders. Racist beliefs were prevailing in the South. The types of work performed by dark-skinned people were considered unworthy of a white man, even the poor. The northern states supported contrary beliefs. Slavery was prohibited by their constitution. Free farmers built up the agriculture fields.

In the North, the progressive community tried to help the slaves. For example, the people issued anti-slave literature and organized an illegal escape of slaves to free states. The Missouri Compromise did not eliminate controversy but only delayed the conflict between the North and the South. The positions of slaveholders were becoming stronger every day in Congress, the federal government, and the Supreme Court of the United States. The party of slaveholders, the so-called Democratic Party, had a great influence.

Given the favorable circumstances, South planters adopted the “Kansas – Nebraska” Bill. According to it, the question of the fate of these new states, whether they would become slaves or free, was transferred to the decision of the population of these territories. In 1857, the US Supreme Court considered the case of the dark skin slave Dread Scott. He moved with his owner to the North and demanded to consider him a free person. However, the US Supreme Court stated that the migration of a slave to a free state does not result in emancipation from slavery (Reid 120). In 1854, the Republican Party emerged, which was supported by the industrial bourgeoisie, farmers, and the working class. Abolitionism is a broad movement for the abolition of slavery that started developing all over the country. In 1860, a candidate from the Republican Party, lawyer, and publicist, as well as supporter of the abolition of slavery, Abraham Lincoln, won the presidential election.

A revolutionary situation began to emerge in the United States by the mid-1850s. The Civil War in Kansas in 1854-1856, the rebellion of John Brown in 1859, as well as the strengthening of the movement for the abolition of slavery, signaled the approach of an acute conflict (Grayson 139). The election of A. Lincoln, a convinced opponent of slavery, caused a revolt in the southern states. In the South, slavery played a large role in the economy. The authorities of the southern states had secretly agreed to leave the union if the candidate of the Republican Party wins in the election. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas left the United States and created the Confederation headed by Jefferson Davis, a rich planter and former Defense Minister. Later on, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina joined the Confederation. The Confederation was the union of the southern states of the United States created to preserve the socio-economic system and slavery. President Lincoln urged the Confederates to return to the US. However, they refused the reunion since they wanted to keep the slavery regime in their states. The Confederates realized that it would be impossible, as sooner or later, the president may abolish slavery.

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President A. Lincoln admitted the non-recognition of the Confederacy. The soldiers of Confederate states captured several forts and arsenals. The day of the attack on the fort (April 12, 1861) is considered the day of the beginning of the Civil War. The conflict was an organized armed struggle for state power between different social groups and political parties within the country (Reid 184). The Unionists had been fighting for a complete victory – the destruction of the Confederacy. The Confederates had been defending their existing confederacy. The first major battle took place near the Bul-Ran River, 25 miles south of Washington, on July 21, 1861. 33,000 soldiers of general Irvine McDowell confronted 32,000 Confederates led by Pierre Boregar and Joseph Johnston (Edwards 91). Two divisions of the unionists led by McDowell crossed the river and got to the enemy’s left flank. The attack turned out to be unexpected, and the Confederates retreated.

The northern states had a huge advantage over the southern states by population. The number of residents in the North accounted for 22 million against 9 million residents in the South (Capek 206). However, the northern states were not strong in military service. In addition, part of the command personnel of the North Army was on the side of the rebels. In other words, spies and saboteurs of the South commanded the army of the North. As a result, the residents of the North had to recruit their staff and prepare a reliable command structure in the course of the war.

The troops of the North often failed in the first stages of the war – from 1861-1862. Only the talented generals of the northern states, V. Grant and B. Butler, succeeded in achieving some success. However, their achievements were reduced to zero due to the defeat of the North Army under the command of McClellan on the main front in Virginia. In the summer of 1862, the troops of the North were defeated in the attack on the capital of the Confederation, the City of Richmond. In May 1862, A. Lincoln’s government passed the Homestead Act of Congress. It gave every American or immigrant who wanted to work on the land the opportunity to get 160 acres almost free of charge from the state fund (Cook 74). After five years of residence and work on the land, the holder became the owner. A. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation (22 September 1862), obliging the rebellious planters to free their slaves from the 1st of January 1863. The decision to abolish slavery was of great significance. Almost 400,000 African-Americans voluntarily entered the North Army on January 1, 1863 (Edwards 117). A revolt of slaves started in the South.

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In early July 1863, the Confederacy Army suffered a brutal defeat at Gettysburg (Pennsylvania). Military benefits were already on the side of the North. In the autumn of 1864, the troops of the North under the command of General V. Grant started the attack against the capital of the Confederacy, the City of Richmond. The defeated troops of Confederates retreated to the south. In the summer of 1864, general W. Sherman began his famous “March to the sea”. His 100 000 army stuck the division support areas of the Confederates in the south, and on September 2, they captured Atlanta, the center of the military industry of the South, and finally reached the Atlantic Ocean by the end of the year (Grayson 53). Most Confederate troops were defeated and demoralized. In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited slavery throughout the United States. The troops of the North captured Richmond on the 3rd of April, and on the 9th of April, the main forces of rebels in Virginia capitulated (Capek 80). A few weeks later, the remnants of the South troops stopped fighting.

On April 14, 1865, a tragic event occurred in the history of the United States. During the celebration of the victory of the North in the Civil War in Washington, in the theater of Ford, President A. Lincoln was fatally wounded by J. Booth. The president died from the wound the same night. A. Lincoln made a significant contribution to the course of the Civil War. He concentrated all his activities on preserving the unity of the country, its economic prosperity, and the abolition of slavery.

The Civil War of 1861-1865 was the bloodiest in the history of the United States. The main results of the victory of the North in the Civil War were the preservation of the unity of the country, abolition of slavery, providing African-Americans with the right to vote, approving democracy, providing farmers, workers, and immigrants with free land in the West, approval of the farmer’s path to the development of American agriculture, creation of a single internal market, as well as the rise of power of the North bourgeoisie in the United States. The victory of the North opened up opportunities for economic development, which contributed to the country’s leading position in the world.

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