The civil war is the world's first modern conflict. It introduces new methods and tools of warfare.
The two regions have developed in two different ways.
The South is primarily an agricultural area, with an economy based mainly on the growing of cotton. While the Northern landscape is filled with smoke-belching factories, the South has steamboats preparing to transport bales of cotton to the northern factories and to manufacturers in Europe.
The economic differences alone are not serious enough to cause a war. Raising and harvesting cotton requires an enormous number of field hands. The south meets this demand through the use of slave labor. On huge plantations and small farms throughout the south, approximately four million slaves, held against their will, form the labor force that sustains the cotton industry.
Men and women who call themselves abolitionists are determined to see salvery declared illegal. Their fiery speeches and publications cause bitter feelings in the South, where the antislavery movement is seen as a serious threat tot the economy and way of lfe.
Fuel is added to the fire in 1852, when Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes her antislavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. One of the most influential novels of all time, the book adds to the growing tensions between North and South.
In 1859, tensions come to a head. Abolitionist John Brown attempts to start a slave revolt by leading a raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia.
Then, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln, whom Southerners see as a foe of slavery, is elected president of the United States.
Upon news of Lincoln's election, seven Southern states secede from the United States and form the Confederate States of America. On April 12, 1861, forces of the newly forming Confederate army fire upon and capture the federal garrison at...