In what ways and to what extent did constitutional and social developments between 1860 and 1877 amount to a revolution?

Essay by sammyluvHigh School, 11th grade April 2004

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In 1861 the bloodiest and one of the most important revolutions in American History

began, The Civil War. Socially this war had been brewing since the beginning of slavery.

This controversial subject had been the object of debate mainly because it required a

balance between free and slave states. Slavery was also a big issue between the

Democrats in the 1860 election because they could not agree on the issue of popular

sovereignty. This eventually led to their splitting which opened up the doors for Lincoln

to take office. After Lincoln was inaugurated in 1860 seven states ceded and later four

more. The south believed they were within their constitutional right to cede. In South

Carolina's Declaration of Causes for Session the state says, "Powers not delegated to the

United States by the constitution...are reserved to the states (Doc A)." This leaves

Lincoln at a quandary over the age old constitutional issue of Nullification and session

debated back in the day of the Virginia Kentucky resolutions and Hartford Convention.

He resolves that it is not within the states power to cede and brings the nation to war. The

eventual victory for the North would bring about one of the greatest changes in history;

the Emancipation Proclamation that forever ended slavery and changed the southern way

of life.

With Slavery no more and a Southern society in ruins more changes had to be made in the

Reconstruction revolution. After Lincoln's and Johnson's plans for reconstruction failed,

the Republicans who now controlled congress took the reigns. Socially there was the

large issue of all these freedmen with nowhere to go, who are now demanding equality. In

a petition written just after the war in 1865 from African Americans to the Tennessee

Convention the blacks say, "If we are called to military duty...should...