The American Civil War

Essay by sssssss April 2009

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The American Civil War, and the issues that followed it, were some of the single most important factors in producing the America we know today. For better, or for worse, America changed. Such is the path to maturity and adulthood, both for people, and for nations. The Civil War has shaped America into what we know today. If it was not for the Civil War, slavery would still be a part of the American culture in the south. The war was a significant event in shaping American history.

On November 6, 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States -- an event that outraged southern states. The Republican party had run on an anti-slavery platform, and many southerners felt that there was no longer a place for them in the Union. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina seceded. By February 1, 1861, the states Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas had split from the Union.

The seceded states created the Confederate States of America and elected Jefferson Davis, a Mississippi Senator, as their provisional president.

In his inaugural address, Lincoln proclaimed that it was his duty to maintain the Union. He also declared that he had no intention of ending slavery where it existed, or of repealing the Fugitive Slave Law. However, Lincoln's statement did not satisfy the Confederacy. On April 12 they attacked Fort Sumter, a federal stronghold in Charleston, South Carolina. Federal troops returned the fire. The Civil War had begun.

Immediately following the attack, the states Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee severed their ties with the Union. To retain the loyalty of the remaining Border States, President Lincoln insisted that the war was not about slavery or black rights. It was a war to preserve the Union. His words were not simply...