The American Civil War: Causes, Impact, and Legacy
The Civil War was a significant event during the years of 1861 through 1865. The Civil War was a war that was fought for many reasons. One was to give equal rights to all, and another was to put a stop to slavery.
Causes of the Civil War
The Civil War started in April 1861 and came to an end in 1865. The war was between the Southern and Northern States. This war claimed the lives of as many as 620,000 soldiers; millions were hurt, which was 2 percent of the American population in 1861. Americans thought the Civil War would help, but instead, it produced a lot of problems. The North believed the war was a “War of Revolution,” while the South believed it to be a “War of Rebellion.” The cause of the Civil War was economic, political, and social differences. Slavery was another reason why the Civil War had begun.
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The Northern region was well established and depended on factories and other industrialized businesses rather than agricultures and plantations, which made many of the new immigrants settle north, while the Southern region was on a system of large-scale farming, which was things like tobacco and cotton while they benefited from agriculture rather than industrialization. After the Cotton Gin was invented, that really made the South depend on the labor of the black slaves.
Impact and Significance of the Civil War
The first three postwar amendments made social and political changes in history. Those amendments were the 13th Amendment, the 14th Amendment, and the 15th Amendment. “In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all persons held as slaves within any State, or part of a State, shall then forever free. But the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery.” (ushistory.org) The 13th Amendment had passed the Senate, but the House was a different story. They didn’t allow the Amendment to be passed. In 1868, the 14th Amendment was sanctioned, which allowed citizenship to anybody who was born or a citizen in the U.S., which also included former slaves. The Amendment was rejected by nearly all the Southern states but was ratified by the required three-fourths of the states. This was known as the Reconstruction Amendment, “which forbids any state to deny any person life, liberty or property, without due process of law or to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.’ (14th Amendment to the Constitution 2000). Congress passed the 15th Amendment on February 26, 1869, but it didn’t take place until February 3, 1870, which then gave any black male the right to vote.
The U.S. Congress passed the Kansas- Nebraska Act in 1854, which opened all new territories to slaves. During the Civil War, many states were becoming either free or slave states. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was the border between Missouri and Kansas, which became an issue. This caused pro-slavery supporters to believe that with Kansas becoming a free state, the Union would gain an unfair advantage in the war with the Confederacy. This caused anti-slavery populations to rise in Kansas and pro-slavery populations to rise in Missouri. This tension between the two regions caused a lot of deaths, which made Kansas known as ‘Bleeding Kansas.” (The Kansas-Nebraska Act [ushistory.org])
The Civil War lasted longer than it was supposed to, but the war was unavoidable due to the differences between the Northern and Southern states economically, socially, and politically differences. More Americans were killed in the Civil War than in any other war, and this was the bloodiest. It got African Americans their freedom, and this is something that will always be remembered in history.
- 14th Amendment to the Constitution Was Ratified. (2000, April 24). Retrieved from http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/recon/jb_recon_revised_1.html [bookmark: _Hlk34057982]
- History. com Editors. (2019, September 19). Civil War. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/american-civil-war-history
- McPherson, Dr. J. (n.d.). A Brief Overview of the American Civil War. Retrieved February 28, 2020, from https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/brief-overview-american-civil-war
- Our Documents – 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865). (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2020, from https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=40
- Our Documents – 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Voting Rights (1870). (n.d.). Retrieved February 28, 2020, from https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=44
- UShistory.org. (n.d.-b). The Kansas-Nebraska Act [ushistory.org]. Retrieved February 28, 2020, from https://www.ushistory.org/us/31a.asp