The American civil war was a war that was fought between the years1861-1865. This war was between the united states called the ‘union’ and eleven slave states in the south. The eleven southern states claimed that they had a right to secede from the federation, and went ahead and formed the ‘confederate states of America’. The United States administration under president Abraham Lincoln was opposed to slavery, especially if the slave industry was practiced in territories owned by the United States of America. This was the reason that prompted the commencement of the civil war on 12 April 1861. The American civil war went on until 1865 when it was unanimously declared through the emancipation proclamation that stated that all slaves in the confederate states were free. Through state action and through the thirteenth amendment to the American constitution all slaves in the union and the Border States were freed.
The American civil war transformed societies not only in the ‘union’ but also in the confederate states as well as in Canada. This was because all persons of all walks of lives in the three regions were affected. It is claimed that the civil war claimed more than 600,000 lives. On top of this, millions of people were wounded; more millions were left homeless especially in the confederate states, as well as massive destruction of properties in the confederate states.
The American civil war also led to wide changes in the American as well as the Canadian way of life. Since slavery, was the backbone that had supported the south’s political and social elites, the destruction of it thus meant a backdrop in economic activities?
To the average southerner the results of the war were poverty, homelessness, and emotional trauma as almost all economic and agricultural infrastructures was destroyed. In addition, the south would have to adopt the north’s mode of production specializing in mechanics and industrialization.
On the part of the federal state, the outcome of the war led to the creation of what was presumably a stronger and centralized national government. In addition, the federal state saw the outcome of the war as having liberalized (freed) the people and this would lead to a more democratic state. In addition to this, the war led to the emergence of a federal income tax system.
From all those who fought in the war there were mixed responses since there were those who believed that the war was justified, since it was intended to bring peace and harmony between people of all walks of life. However, there were those who felt that that was not the right way to go about it. Among these were soldiers especially of Canadian origin who had been drafted into the army through trickery or kidnapping. In addition, the effects of the war led to a much bigger debate on freedom especially from the black community in America who were still prejudiced in their country of birth yet their ancestors had fought for their liberty when they signed the declaration of independence and adopted the American constitution.
The process of reconstruction took place between the years 1865 and 1877. The reconstruction process was an attempt by the United States to resolve issues arising from the effects of the American civil war. Thaw reconstruction was an attempt to return the seceded confederacy states back into there union. It also took into issue matters of the constitution as well as the legal state of the Negro.
The American civil war is one of the most significant happenings of the United States of America in the 19th century. The effects of the American civil war were not localized into the United States but they had far-reaching impacts on other states in the years that followed.
- American civil war: retrieved on August 14, 2007 available at: www.wikipedia.org
- Scott Walker (2005), Hell's Broke Loose in Georgia: Survival in a Civil War Regiment: University of Georgia Press, Georgia