The American Civil War is sometimes called the War Between the States, the War of Rebellion, or the War for Southern Independence. It began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, and lasted until May 26, 1865, when the last Confederate army surrendered. The war took more than 600,000 lives, destroyed property valued at $5 billion, brought freedom to 4 million black slaves, and opened wounds that have not yet completely healed more than 125 years later.

Causes of the Civil War

The chief and immediate cause of the war was slavery. Southern states, including the 11 states that formed the Confederacy, depended on slavery to support their economy. Southerners used slave labor to produce crops, especially cotton. Although slavery was illegal in the Northern states, only a small proportion of Northerners actively opposed it. The main debate between the North and the South on the eve of the war was whether slavery should be permitted in the Western territories recently acquired during the Mexican War (1846-1848), including New Mexico, part of California, and Utah.

Opponents of slavery were concerned about its expansion, in part because they did not want to compete against slave labor. Economic and Social Factors By 1860, the North and the South had developed into two very different regions. Divergent social, economic, and political points of view, dating from colonial times, gradually drove the two sections farther and farther apart. Each tried to impose its point of view on the country as a whole. Although compromises had kept the Union together for many years, in 1860 the situation was explosive.

The election of Abraham Lincoln as president was viewed by the South as a threat to slavery and ignited the war. During the first half of the 19th century, economic differences between the regions also increased. By 1860 cotton was the chief crop of the South, and it represented 57 percent of all U. S. exports. The profitability of cotton, known as King Cotton, completed the South’s dependence on the plantation system and its essential component, slavery. The North was by then firmly established as an industrial society. Labor was needed, but not slave labor.

Immigration was encouraged. Immigrants from Europe worked in factories, built the railroads of the North, and settled the West. Very few settled in the South. The South, resisting industrialization, manufactured little. Almost all manufactured goods had to be imported. Southerners therefore opposed high tariffs, or taxes that were placed on imported goods and increased the price of manufactured articles. The manufacturing economy of the North, on the other hand, demanded high tariffs to protect its own products from cheap foreign competition.

Before the Civil War, the federal government’s chief source of revenue was the tariff. There were few other sources of revenue, for example, neither personal nor corporate income taxes existed. The tariff paid for most improvements made by the federal government, such as roads, turnpikes, and canals. To keep tariffs low, the South preferred to do without these improvements. The expanding Northwest Territory, which was made up of the present-day states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota, was far from the markets for its grain and cattle.

It needed such internal improvements for survival, and so supported the Northeast’s demands for high tariffs. In return, the Northeast supported most federally financed improvements in the Northwest Territory. As a result, although both the South and the West were agricultural, the West allied itself with the Northern, rather than the Southern, point of view. Economic needs sharpened sectional differences, adding to the interregional hostility. Political Factors In the early days of the United States, loyalty to one’s state often took precedence over loyalty to one’s country.

A New Yorker or a Virginian would refer to his state as “my country. ” The Union was considered a “voluntary compact” entered into by independent, sovereign states for as long as it served their purpose to be so joined. In the nation’s early years, neither North nor South had any strong sense of the permanence of the Union. New England, for example, once thought of seceding, or leaving the Union, because the War of 1812 cut off trade with England. As Northern and Southern patterns of living diverged, their political ideas also developed marked differences.

The North needed a central government to build an infrastructure of roads and railways, protect its complex trading and financial interests, and control the national currency. The South depended much less on the federal government than did other regions, and Southerners therefore felt no need to strengthen it. In addition, Southern patriots feared that a strong central government might interfere with slavery. The Fight Over Slavery Up to 1860 only a few extremists in the South, called fire-eaters, wanted to apply the doctrine of secession to create a separate Southern country.

Moderates of both North and South kept hoping to compromise their differences over slavery, tariffs, and the territories in the forum of the Congress of the United States. Compromise was possible as long as neither side controlled the Senate. With the admission of Alabama in 1819, the Senate became perfectly balanced. However, vast territories in the West and Southwest, acquired through the Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican War, would soon be petitioning for statehood. North and South began a long and bitter struggle over whether the territories would enter the Union as free or slave states.

Missouri Compromise Under the Constitution of the United States, the federal government had no authority to interfere with slavery within the states. Northern opponents of slavery could hope only to prevent it from spreading. They tried to do this in 1818, when Missouri sought admission to the Union with a constitution permitting slavery. After two years of bitter controversy a solution was found in the Missouri Compromise. This compromise admitted Missouri to the Union as a slave state and admitted Maine as a free state to keep the balance in the Senate.

It also provided that slavery would be excluded from the still unorganized part of the Louisiana Territory. A line was drawn from Missouri’s southern boundary, at the latitude of 3630′, and slavery would not be allowed in the territory north of that line, with the exception of Missouri. Compromise of 1850 Agitation against slavery continued in the North. The South reacted by defending it ever more strongly. The Mexican War, by which the United States made good its annexation of Texas and acquired New Mexico, Arizona, California, and several of the present Rocky Mountain states, led to a new crisis.

Antislavery forces demanded that slavery be excluded from any lands ceded by Mexico. Slaveholders pressed for their share of the new territories and for other safeguards to protect slavery. For a time the country seemed to be headed for civil war. Again a solution was found in compromise. The settlement was the Compromise Measures of 1850. Among other things, this compromise admitted California as a free state and set up territorial governments in the remainder of the Mexican cession with authority to decide for themselves whether to permit slavery or not.

Moderates in both North and South hoped that the slavery question was settled, at least for a while. Uncle Tom’s Cabin The year after the compromise a literary event shook the country. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an antislavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, that was published serially in a newspaper in 1851 and in book form the year after. It was widely read in the United States and abroad and moved many to join the cause of abolition. The South indignantly denied this indictment of slavery. Stowe’s book increased partisan feeling over slavery and intensified sectional differences.

Kansas-Nebraska Act In 1854, Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois introduced a bill to organize the territories of Kansas and Nebraska into states. As finally passed, the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and provided that settlers in the territories should decide “all questions pertaining to slavery. ” This doctrine was known as popular sovereignty. Since Kansas and Nebraska were north of the line established in the Missouri Compromise, the act made possible the extension of the slave system into territory previously considered free soil.

Soon, settlers in Kansas were engaged in a bloody battle to decide the slavery issue (see Border War). The passage of the act caused a political explosion in the North. Abraham Lincoln, a longtime member of the Whig Party, represented the view of many thousands when he wrote, in the third person, that “the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused him as he had never been before. ” Antislavery groups met to form a new party, which they named the Republican Party. By 1856 the party was broad enough and strong enough to put a national ticket, headed by John C.

Frmont, into the presidential election. The Republicans lost by a relatively narrow margin. Dred Scott Case In 1857 the Supreme Court of the United States added to the mounting tension by its decision in the Dred Scott Case. In that case, Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom on the grounds that when his master had taken him to free territories, Scott was no longer a slave. In separate opinions a majority of the justices held that Scott did not have the right to file suit in state or federal courts because he was not a citizen of the United States. As a slave, he was considered property.

The justices continued to write that Congress had no power to exclude slavery from the territories. Therefore, the Missouri Compromise and other legislation limiting slavery were unconstitutional. Lincoln-Douglas Debates In 1858 Douglas was running for reelection to the Senate. His opponent was Abraham Lincoln, then the leader of the Republican Party in Illinois. In a series of seven debates, Lincoln and Douglas argued, among other things, the question of the extension of slavery. Douglas stood on his doctrine of popular sovereignty, holding that the people of the territories could elect to have slavery.

They could also elect not to have it. Lincoln, on the other hand, argued that slavery was “a moral, a social, and a political wrong” and that it was the duty of the federal government to prohibit its extension into the territories. Although the Republicans carried the state ticket and outvoted the Democrats, the Illinois legislature reelected Douglas to the Senate. The campaign, widely reported in the newspapers, had an importance far beyond the fate of the two candidates. It demonstrated to the South that the Republican Party was steadily growing in strength and that it would oppose the extension of slavery by every possible means.

The campaign also showed Douglas to be an unreliable ally of the South. He had said repeatedly in the debates that he did not care whether slavery was voted up or down. In addition, Lincoln, hitherto known only locally, gained a national reputation even in defeat. John Brown’s Raid As soon as the 1858 elections were over, political maneuvering began over the 1860 presidential election. Many states were in the process of choosing delegates to the national conventions when news of a raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), swept the nation.

On October 16, 1859, the raiders had seized the federal armory and arsenal there. They surrendered two days later. Authorities found that the raid had been led by John Brown, whose raids and murders in Kansas and Missouri had already made him an outlaw. Brown and his followers had planned to march their army into the South to forcibly free slaves. Brown was arrested, tried, and convicted. When he was executed for his crime, thousands of Northerners hailed him as a martyr, while Southerners became increasingly fearful of armed intervention in their states by Northern abolitionists.

Election of 1860 The slavery question overshadowed all others in the presidential election year of 1860. At the Democratic National Convention, held in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 23, the delegates from the South refused to support Douglas, the leading contender, because of his position on slavery, and they prevented the naming of a candidate. The convention adjourned to meet on June 18 in Baltimore, Maryland. On May 16 the Republican National Convention met in Chicago, Illinois, and passed over the two most popular aspirants, William H. Seward and Salmon P. Chase.

Instead they nominated the lesser known Abraham Lincoln. In Baltimore, at the reconvened Democratic convention after several days of wrangling, the Southern delegates walked out of the convention. Those who remained nominated Douglas. On June 28 the Southern Democrats nominated John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky. The Democratic Party, long a unifying force in the nation, was thus split over sectional differences into two bitterly opposed factions. The Constitutional Union Party, a group of conservatives who condemned sectional parties, placed a fourth ticket, headed by John Bell of Tennessee, in the field.

Because of this division, Lincoln won easily, although he did not receive a majority of the popular vote. The popular vote was: Lincoln, 1,866,452; Douglas, 1,376,957; Breckinridge, 849,781; Bell, 588,879. Lincoln won in the electoral college, where he received 180 votes against 72 for Breckinridge, 39 for Bell, and 12 for Douglas. The South Secedes During the campaign many Southerners had threatened that their states would secede from the Union if Lincoln was elected because they feared that a Lincoln administration would threaten slavery. Few people in the North believed them.

A month before the election, however, Governor William Henry Gist of South Carolina wrote the governors of all the Cotton States except Texas that South Carolina would secede in the event of Lincoln’s election and asked what course the other states would follow. As soon as it was certain that Lincoln had won, the South Carolina legislature summoned a special convention.

It met on December 17, 1860, in Charleston. Three days later the convention unanimously passed an ordinance dissolving “the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States. Similar conventions were held by other Southern states, and similar ordinances were adopted, although not by unanimous votes. The first states to follow South Carolina’s course in 1861 were: Mississippi, January 9; Florida, January 10; Alabama, January 11; Georgia, January 19; Louisiana, January 26; and Texas, February 1. In April, Lincoln called for states to send militias for national service to suppress the rebellion. The upper South refused to send their militias to coerce the seceded states.

Instead they joined the lower South in secession beginning with Virginia on April 17th; Arkansas, May 6; North Carolina, May 20; and Tennessee, June 8. The Confederacy On February 4, delegates from the first six states to secede met in Montgomery, Alabama, to set up a provisional government for the Confederate States of America. Four days later they adopted a constitution modeled to a large extent on the Constitution of the United States.

On February 9 the provisional Confederate Congress elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi provisional president and Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia provisional vice president. Both men were to hold office until February 22, 1862. On that date, after an uncontested election in November 1861, Davis and Stephens were given permanent status. Lincoln’s Inauguration When Lincoln took the oath of office on March 4, 1861, seven states had seceded and organized a working government. Southern leaders believed that their action was lawful, but Lincoln and a majority of Northerners refused to accept the right of Southern states to secede.

The new president announced in his inaugural address that he would “hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government. ” He promised that the government would not “assail” the states of the South, and he pleaded with the Southern people not to act hastily but to give the new administration a chance to prove that it was not hostile. Lincoln seems to have believed that with time, and without an act of provocation, the states in secession might return to the Union, but time ran out. Civil War Begins

As the Southern states seceded, they seized and occupied most of the federal forts within their borders or off their shores. Only four remained in the hands of the Union. Fort Sumter stood guard in the mouth of the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. The other three forts were in Florida: Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, Fort Pickens in Pensacola Bay, and Fort Taylor at Key West. Of the four, Sumter was the most important. Fort Sumter In January 1861 President James Buchanan tried to send troops and supplies to Major Robert Anderson, commander of the garrison at Fort Sumter.

Star of the West, the ship Buchanan sent, was an unarmed merchant vessel. When the shore batteries at Charleston Harbor fired on the ship, it sailed away. Lincoln, during his first full day in office, learned that Anderson had only enough provisions for a month and could obtain no supplies from the mainland. Sumter had become a symbol of the Union. To give it up, Lincoln felt, was to violate his sworn oath to protect the properties of the United States. On the other hand, there was grave doubt that a relief expedition could succeed in supplying the fort. If it failed, it might touch off war.

Early in April, President Lincoln came to a decision. He would send a relief expedition to Sumter, but the ships would land provisions only if they were not attacked. On April 6, he notified the governor of South Carolina of the action he was taking. Three days later the relief ships sailed from New York City. Surrender of Fort Sumter On April 11, 1861, General P. G. T. Beauregard, commanding the Confederate troops in Charleston, served Anderson with a demand that he surrender the fort. Anderson refused, but he stated that lack of supplies would compel him to give up the fort by April 15.

His reply was so hedged with qualifications that Beauregard considered it unsatisfactory, and, at 4:30 AM on April 12, he ordered his batteries to open fire on the fort. For a day and a half, Anderson returned the fire. The relief expedition, weakened by storms and without the tugs it needed, appeared at the bar of the harbor but made no effort to land men. On the second day, with Sumter badly damaged by fire, Anderson surrendered the fort. North and South Mobilize The North responded to the attack on Fort Sumter with shock and anger.

Everywhere people were determined to support the government in whatever measures it might take. On April 15, Lincoln issued a proclamation that called up a total of 75,000 militia from the states. At the same time, calls for troops were sent to the governors of all states that had remained in the Union. On April 19 a second proclamation announced that Southern ports would be blockaded. A third proclamation, dated May 3, called for 42,000 three-year volunteers for the regular army and for 18,000 volunteers to serve one to three years in the navy. The South responded with equal determination.

Virginia and the rest of the upper South seceded. The Congress of the Confederacy authorized President Davis to wage the war now beginning. The border slave states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware never seceded. However, many thousands of men in Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland volunteered for service in the Confederate armies. Both the North and South raised troops as quickly as possible and struggled with the problem of equipping and training them. The states recruited volunteers and organized them into regiments. Officers were elected by the men and commissioned by the governors.

In the beginning the length of service was usually short, but as soon as it became clear that the war would not end with one decisive battle, three-year-enlistments became the rule, although there were many exceptions. In the North the first troops ready for service were sent to Washington, D. C. , and to points along the Ohio River. Confederate troops were concentrated in Tennessee and in northern Virginia, where they could threaten the federal capital. Strategies As men poured into the armies, Northern and Southern leaders discussed strategies that would achieve victory.

These strategies contrasted significantly because the two sides had very different war aims. The Confederacy sought independence and only had to defend itself. The North sought to restore the Union, which meant it had to compel the seceded states to give up their hopes to found a new nation. Northern armies would have to invade the Confederacy, destroy its capacity to wage war, and crush the will of the Southern people to resist. The Confederacy could win by prolonging the war to a point where the Northern people would consider the effort too costly in lives and money to persist.

The South had a compelling example in the American Revolution of a seemingly weaker power defeating a much stronger one. The colonies had been at an even greater material disadvantage in relation to Great Britain than were the Confederate states in relation to the North, yet the colonies won, with the help of France, by dragging the war out and exhausting the British will to win. If the North chose not to mount a military effort to coerce the seceded states back into the Union, the Confederacy would win independence by default.

Lincoln and other Northern leaders, however, had no intention of letting the Southern states go without a fight. The most prominent American military figure in the spring of 1861 was Winfield Scott, the general-in-chief of the United States Army. Physically frail but with a brilliant mind, Scott conceived a long-range strategy to bring Northern victory. Subsequently named the “Anaconda Plan” (after the South American snake that squeezes its prey to death), Scott’s plan sought to apply pressure on the Confederacy from all sides.

A combined force of naval and army units would sweep down the Mississippi River, dividing the Confederacy’s eastern and western states. At the same time, the Union navy would institute a blockade to deny the Confederacy access to European manufactured goods. Should the South continue to resist even after the loss of the Mississippi and the closing of its ports, Scott envisioned a major invasion into the heart of the Confederacy. He estimated it would take two to three years and 300,000 men to carry out this strategy.

Except for underestimating, by about half, the length of time and number of men it would take to bring success, Scott had sketched the broad strategy the North would implement to defeat the South over the next four years. The United States Navy applied increasing pressure along the Confederate coasts, Northern forces took control of the Mississippi River by the middle of 1863, and large armies marched into Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas, eventually forcing a Confederate surrender in the spring of 1865.

The Confederacy pursued what often is termed a defensive-offensive strategy. Simply put, Confederate armies generally adopted a defensive strategy, protecting as much of their territory as possible against Northern incursions. However, when circumstances seemed to offer an opportunity to gain a decided advantage over Northern forces, the Confederacy launched offensives-the three most important of which culminated in the battles of Antietam (Maryland) and Perryville (Kentucky) in 1862, and Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) in 1863.

Effects of Geography Geography played a major role in how effectively the two sides were able to carry out their strategies. The sheer size of the Confederacy posed a daunting obstacle to Northern military forces. Totaling more than 1,940,000 sq km (750,000 sq mi) and without a well-developed network of roads, the Southern landscape challenged the North’s ability to supply armies that maneuvered at increasing distances from Union bases.

It was also almost impossible to make the North’s blockade of Southern ports completely effective because the South’s coastline stretched 5600 km (3500 mi) and contained nearly 200 harbors and mouths of navigable rivers. The Appalachian Mountains also hindered rapid movement of Northern forces between the eastern and western areas of the Confederacy while the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia offered a protected route through which Confederate armies could invade the North. The placement of Southern rivers, however, favored the North.

The Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers provided excellent north-south avenues of advance for Union armies west of the Appalachians. In Virginia, Confederates defended from behind the state’s principal rivers, but the James River also served as a secure line of communications and supply for Union offensives against Richmond in 1862 and again in 1864. Technology Technological advances helped both sides deal with the great distances over which the armies fought. The Civil War was the first large conflict that featured railroads and the telegraph.

Railroads rapidly moved hundreds of thousands of soldiers and vast quantities of supplies; the North contained almost twice as many miles of railroad lines as the South. Telegraphic communication permitted both governments to coordinate military movements on sprawling geographical fronts. The combatants also took advantage of numerous other recent advances in military technology. The most important was the rifle musket carried by most of the infantrymen on both sides. Prior to the Civil War, infantry generally had been armed with smoothbore muskets, weapons without rifling in the barrels.

These muskets had an effective range of less than 90 m (300 ft). As a result, massed attacks had a good chance of success because one side could launch an assault and not take serious casualties until they were almost on top of the defenders. The rifle musket, with an effective range of 225 to 275 m (750 to 900 ft), allowed defenders to break up attacks long before they reached the defenders’ positions. Combined with field fortifications, which were widely used during the war, the rifle musket changed military tactics by making charges against defensive positions more difficult.

It also gave a significant advantage to the defending force. Other new technologies included ironclad warships, which were used by both sides; the deployment of manned balloons for aerial reconnaissance on battlefields, used mainly by the North; the first sinking of a warship by the South’s submarine, known as the CSS Hunley; and the arming of significant numbers of soldiers with repeating weapons, carried mainly by the northern cavalry. The technology for all of these weapons had been present before the Civil War, but never before had armies applied the technology so widely.

Manpower and Finance At the beginning of the war, state militias provided most of the troops for both Union and Confederate armies. Soon large numbers of civilians were volunteering for military service. Throughout the war, the bulk of the forces consisted of volunteers. When the number of volunteers lagged behind the growing battle casualties, both the Northern and Southern governments resorted to drafting men into the armies. The Confederacy passed the first draft act in April 1862. The Union followed almost a year later.

In both North and South, men of certain classes, occupations, and professions were exempted from the draft. Furthermore, a man who was drafted in the North could avoid military service by making a money payment to the government and in both the North and South, a draftee could hire a substitute to go to war for him. Opposition to the draft was general throughout the country. In New York City the publication of the first draft lists caused four days of violent rioting in which many were killed and $1. 5 million worth of property was destroyed.

Although the draft itself did not produce a sufficient number of soldiers, the threat of being drafted led many to volunteer and collect a bounty, which was paid to volunteers. Some soldiers were unscrupulous enough to enlist, desert, and reenlist to collect the bounty more than once. The Civil War, like all wars, called for great sums of money to pay troops and supply them with equipment. At the outset of the war the Confederacy depended on loans, but this source of finance soon disappeared as Southerners began to be affected financially by the cost of the war and unable to buy bonds.

The South never really tried heavy taxation because the government had no means to collect taxes and people in the South were reluctant and often unable to pay them. Instead it relied on paper money, freely printed. Backed only by the possibility of Southern victory, the money dropped in value as the war went on and as its outcome became more uncertain. The Confederacy suffered greatly from severe inflation and debt throughout the war. The Confederate rate of inflation was about 9000 percent, meaning that an item that cost $1 in the Confederacy at the beginning of the war would have cost $92 at the end of the war.

In contrast, the North’s rate of inflation was only about 80 percent. As the value of money declined, prices rose accordingly. The Union financed its armies by loans and taxes to a much greater degree than a military conflict between the United States of America (the Union) and the Confederate States of America (the Confederacy) from 1861 to 1865. The American Civil War is sometimes called the War Between the States, the War of Rebellion, or the War for Southern Independence.

It began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, and lasted until May 26, 1865, when the last Confederate army surrendered. The war took more than 600,000 lives, destroyed property valued at $5 billion, brought freedom to 4 million black slaves, and opened wounds that have not yet completely healed more than 125 years later. Causes of the Civil War The chief and immediate cause of the war was slavery. Southern states, including the 11 states that formed the Confederacy, depended on slavery to support their economy.

Southerners used slave labor to produce crops, especially cotton. Although slavery was illegal in the Northern states, only a small proportion of Northerners actively opposed it. The main debate between the North and the South on the eve of the war was whether slavery should be permitted in the Western territories recently acquired during the Mexican War (1846-1848), including New Mexico, part of California, and Utah. Opponents of slavery were concerned about its expansion, in part because they did not want to compete against slave labor. Economic and Social Factors

By 1860, the North and the South had developed into two very different regions. Divergent social, economic, and political points of view, dating from colonial times, gradually drove the two sections farther and farther apart. Each tried to impose its point of view on the country as a whole. Although compromises had kept the Union together for many years, in 1860 the situation was explosive. The election of Abraham Lincoln as president was viewed by the South as a threat to slavery and ignited the war. During the first half of the 19th century, economic differences between the regions also increased.

By 1860 cotton was the chief crop of the South, and it represented 57 percent of all U. S. exports. The profitability of cotton, known as King Cotton, completed the South’s dependence on the plantation system and its essential component, slavery. The North was by then firmly established as an industrial society. Labor was needed, but not slave labor. Immigration was encouraged. Immigrants from Europe worked in factories, built the railroads of the North, and settled the West. Very few settled in the South. The South, resisting industrialization, manufactured little. Almost all manufactured goods had to be imported.

Southerners therefore opposed high tariffs, or taxes that were placed on imported goods and increased the price of manufactured articles. The manufacturing economy of the North, on the other hand, demanded high tariffs to protect its own products from cheap foreign competition. Before the Civil War, the federal government’s chief source of revenue was the tariff. There were few other sources of revenue, for example, neither personal nor corporate income taxes existed. The tariff paid for most improvements made by the federal government, such as roads, turnpikes, and canals.

To keep tariffs low, the South preferred to do without these improvements. The expanding Northwest Territory, which was made up of the present-day states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota, was far from the markets for its grain and cattle. It needed such internal improvements for survival, and so supported the Northeast’s demands for high tariffs. In return, the Northeast supported most federally financed improvements in the Northwest Territory. As a result, although both the South and the West were agricultural, the West allied itself with the Northern, rather than the Southern, point of view.

Economic needs sharpened sectional differences, adding to the interregional hostility. Political Factors In the early days of the United States, loyalty to one’s state often took precedence over loyalty to one’s country. A New Yorker or a Virginian would refer to his state as “my country. ” The Union was considered a “voluntary compact” entered into by independent, sovereign states for as long as it served their purpose to be so joined. In the nation’s early years, neither North nor South had any strong sense of the permanence of the Union.

New England, for example, once thought of seceding, or leaving the Union, because the War of 1812 cut off trade with England. As Northern and Southern patterns of living diverged, their political ideas also developed marked differences. The North needed a central government to build an infrastructure of roads and railways, protect its complex trading and financial interests, and control the national currency. The South depended much less on the federal government than did other regions, and Southerners therefore felt no need to strengthen it.

In addition, Southern patriots feared that a strong central government might interfere with slavery. The Fight Over Slavery Up to 1860 only a few extremists in the South, called fire-eaters, wanted to apply the doctrine of secession to create a separate Southern country. Moderates of both North and South kept hoping to compromise their differences over slavery, tariffs, and the territories in the forum of the Congress of the United States. Compromise was possible as long as neither side controlled the Senate. With the admission of Alabama in 1819, the Senate became perfectly balanced.

However, vast territories in the West and Southwest, acquired through the Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican War, would soon be petitioning for statehood. North and South began a long and bitter struggle over whether the territories would enter the Union as free or slave states. Missouri Compromise Under the Constitution of the United States, the federal government had no authority to interfere with slavery within the states. Northern opponents of slavery could hope only to prevent it from spreading. They tried to do this in 1818, when Missouri sought admission to the Union with a constitution permitting slavery.

After two years of bitter controversy a solution was found in the Missouri Compromise. This compromise admitted Missouri to the Union as a slave state and admitted Maine as a free state to keep the balance in the Senate. It also provided that slavery would be excluded from the still unorganized part of the Louisiana Territory. A line was drawn from Missouri’s southern boundary, at the latitude of 3630′, and slavery would not be allowed in the territory north of that line, with the exception of Missouri. Compromise of 1850 Agitation against slavery continued in the North.

The South reacted by defending it ever more strongly. The Mexican War, by which the United States made good its annexation of Texas and acquired New Mexico, Arizona, California, and several of the present Rocky Mountain states, led to a new crisis. Antislavery forces demanded that slavery be excluded from any lands ceded by Mexico. Slaveholders pressed for their share of the new territories and for other safeguards to protect slavery. For a time the country seemed to be headed for civil war. Again a solution was found in compromise. The settlement was the Compromise Measures of 1850.

Among other things, this compromise admitted California as a free state and set up territorial governments in the remainder of the Mexican cession with authority to decide for themselves whether to permit slavery or not. Moderates in both North and South hoped that the slavery question was settled, at least for a while. Uncle Tom’s Cabin The year after the compromise a literary event shook the country. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an antislavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, that was published serially in a newspaper in 1851 and in book form the year after.

It was widely read in the United States and abroad and moved many to join the cause of abolition. The South indignantly denied this indictment of slavery. Stowe’s book increased partisan feeling over slavery and intensified sectional differences. Kansas-Nebraska Act In 1854, Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois introduced a bill to organize the territories of Kansas and Nebraska into states. As finally passed, the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and provided that settlers in the territories should decide “all questions pertaining to slavery. ” This doctrine was known as popular sovereignty.

Since Kansas and Nebraska were north of the line established in the Missouri Compromise, the act made possible the extension of the slave system into territory previously considered free soil. Soon, settlers in Kansas were engaged in a bloody battle to decide the slavery issue (see Border War). The passage of the act caused a political explosion in the North. Abraham Lincoln, a longtime member of the Whig Party, represented the view of many thousands when he wrote, in the third person, that “the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused him as he had never been before.

Antislavery groups met to form a new party, which they named the Republican Party. By 1856 the party was broad enough and strong enough to put a national ticket, headed by John C. Frmont, into the presidential election. The Republicans lost by a relatively narrow margin. Dred Scott Case In 1857 the Supreme Court of the United States added to the mounting tension by its decision in the Dred Scott Case. In that case, Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom on the grounds that when his master had taken him to free territories, Scott was no longer a slave.

In separate opinions a majority of the justices held that Scott did not have the right to file suit in state or federal courts because he was not a citizen of the United States. As a slave, he was considered property. The justices continued to write that Congress had no power to exclude slavery from the territories. Therefore, the Missouri Compromise and other legislation limiting slavery were unconstitutional. Lincoln-Douglas Debates In 1858 Douglas was running for reelection to the Senate. His opponent was Abraham Lincoln, then the leader of the Republican Party in Illinois.

In a series of seven debates, Lincoln and Douglas argued, among other things, the question of the extension of slavery. Douglas stood on his doctrine of popular sovereignty, holding that the people of the territories could elect to have slavery. They could also elect not to have it. Lincoln, on the other hand, argued that slavery was “a moral, a social, and a political wrong” and that it was the duty of the federal government to prohibit its extension into the territories. Although the Republicans carried the state ticket and outvoted the Democrats, the Illinois legislature reelected Douglas to the Senate.

The campaign, widely reported in the newspapers, had an importance far beyond the fate of the two candidates. It demonstrated to the South that the Republican Party was steadily growing in strength and that it would oppose the extension of slavery by every possible means. The campaign also showed Douglas to be an unreliable ally of the South. He had said repeatedly in the debates that he did not care whether slavery was voted up or down. In addition, Lincoln, hitherto known only locally, gained a national reputation even in defeat. John Brown’s Raid

As soon as the 1858 elections were over, political maneuvering began over the 1860 presidential election. Many states were in the process of choosing delegates to the national conventions when news of a raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), swept the nation. On October 16, 1859, the raiders had seized the federal armory and arsenal there. They surrendered two days later. Authorities found that the raid had been led by John Brown, whose raids and murders in Kansas and Missouri had already made him an outlaw. Brown and his followers had planned to march their army into the South to forcibly free slaves.

Brown was arrested, tried, and convicted. When he was executed for his crime, thousands of Northerners hailed him as a martyr, while Southerners became increasingly fearful of armed intervention in their states by Northern abolitionists. Election of 1860 The slavery question overshadowed all others in the presidential election year of 1860. At the Democratic National Convention, held in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 23, the delegates from the South refused to support Douglas, the leading contender, because of his position on slavery, and they prevented the naming of a candidate.

The convention adjourned to meet on June 18 in Baltimore, Maryland. On May 16 the Republican National Convention met in Chicago, Illinois, and passed over the two most popular aspirants, William H. Seward and Salmon P. Chase. Instead they nominated the lesser known Abraham Lincoln. In Baltimore, at the reconvened Democratic convention after several days of wrangling, the Southern delegates walked out of the convention. Those who remained nominated Douglas. On June 28 the Southern Democrats nominated John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky.

The Democratic Party, long a unifying force in the nation, was thus split over sectional differences into two bitterly opposed factions. The Constitutional Union Party, a group of conservatives who condemned sectional parties, placed a fourth ticket, headed by John Bell of Tennessee, in the field. Because of this division, Lincoln won easily, although he did not receive a majority of the popular vote. The popular vote was: Lincoln, 1,866,452; Douglas, 1,376,957; Breckinridge, 849,781; Bell, 588,879. Lincoln won in the electoral college, where he received 180 votes against 72 for Breckinridge, 39 for Bell, and 12 for Douglas.

The South Secedes During the campaign many Southerners had threatened that their states would secede from the Union if Lincoln was elected because they feared that a Lincoln administration would threaten slavery. Few people in the North believed them. A month before the election, however, Governor William Henry Gist of South Carolina wrote the governors of all the Cotton States except Texas that South Carolina would secede in the event of Lincoln’s election and asked what course the other states would follow. As soon as it was certain that Lincoln had won, the South Carolina legislature summoned a special convention.

It met on December 17, 1860, in Charleston. Three days later the convention unanimously passed an ordinance dissolving “the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States. ” Similar conventions were held by other Southern states, and similar ordinances were adopted, although not by unanimous votes. The first states to follow South Carolina’s course in 1861 were: Mississippi, January 9; Florida, January 10; Alabama, January 11; Georgia, January 19; Louisiana, January 26; and Texas, February 1. In April, Lincoln called for states to send militias for national service to suppress the rebellion.

The upper South refused to send their militias to coerce the seceded states. Instead they joined the lower South in secession beginning with Virginia on April 17th; Arkansas, May 6; North Carolina, May 20; and Tennessee, June 8. The Confederacy On February 4, delegates from the first six states to secede met in Montgomery, Alabama, to set up a provisional government for the Confederate States of America. Four days later they adopted a constitution modeled to a large extent on the Constitution of the United States.

On February 9 the provisional Confederate Congress elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi provisional president and Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia provisional vice president. Both men were to hold office until February 22, 1862. On that date, after an uncontested election in November 1861, Davis and Stephens were given permanent status. Lincoln’s Inauguration When Lincoln took the oath of office on March 4, 1861, seven states had seceded and organized a working government. Southern leaders believed that their action was lawful, but Lincoln and a majority of Northerners refused to accept the right of Southern states to secede.

The new president announced in his inaugural address that he would “hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government. ” He promised that the government would not “assail” the states of the South, and he pleaded with the Southern people not to act hastily but to give the new administration a chance to prove that it was not hostile. Lincoln seems to have believed that with time, and without an act of provocation, the states in secession might return to the Union, but time ran out. Civil War Begins

As the Southern states seceded, they seized and occupied most of the federal forts within their borders or off their shores. Only four remained in the hands of the Union. Fort Sumter stood guard in the mouth of the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. The other three forts were in Florida: Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, Fort Pickens in Pensacola Bay, and Fort Taylor at Key West. Of the four, Sumter was the most important. Fort Sumter In January 1861 President James Buchanan tried to send troops and supplies to Major Robert Anderson, commander of the garrison at Fort Sumter.

Star of the West, the ship Buchanan sent, was an unarmed merchant vessel. When the shore batteries at Charleston Harbor fired on the ship, it sailed away. Lincoln, during his first full day in office, learned that Anderson had only enough provisions for a month and could obtain no supplies from the mainland. Sumter had become a symbol of the Union. To give it up, Lincoln felt, was to violate his sworn oath to protect the properties of the United States. On the other hand, there was grave doubt that a relief expedition could succeed in supplying the fort. If it failed, it might touch off war.

Early in April, President Lincoln came to a decision. He would send a relief expedition to Sumter, but the ships would land provisions only if they were not attacked. On April 6, he notified the governor of South Carolina of the action he was taking. Three days later the relief ships sailed from New York City. Surrender of Fort Sumter On April 11, 1861, General P. G. T. Beauregard, commanding the Confederate troops in Charleston, served Anderson with a demand that he surrender the fort. Anderson refused, but he stated that lack of supplies would compel him to give up the fort by April 15.

His reply was so hedged with qualifications that Beauregard considered it unsatisfactory, and, at 4:30 AM on April 12, he ordered his batteries to open fire on the fort. For a day and a half, Anderson returned the fire. The relief expedition, weakened by storms and without the tugs it needed, appeared at the bar of the harbor but made no effort to land men. On the second day, with Sumter badly damaged by fire, Anderson surrendered the fort. North and South Mobilize The North responded to the attack on Fort Sumter with shock and anger.

Everywhere people were determined to support the government in whatever measures it might take. On April 15, Lincoln issued a proclamation that called up a total of 75,000 militia from the states. At the same time, calls for troops were sent to the governors of all states that had remained in the Union. On April 19 a second proclamation announced that Southern ports would be blockaded. A third proclamation, dated May 3, called for 42,000 three-year volunteers for the regular army and for 18,000 volunteers to serve one to three years in the navy. The South responded with equal determination.

Virginia and the rest of the upper South seceded. The Congress of the Confederacy authorized President Davis to wage the war now beginning. The border slave states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware never seceded. However, many thousands of men in Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland volunteered for service in the Confederate armies. Both the North and South raised troops as quickly as possible and struggled with the problem of equipping and training them. The states recruited volunteers and organized them into regiments. Officers were elected by the men and commissioned by the governors.

In the beginning the length of service was usually short, but as soon as it became clear that the war would not end with one decisive battle, three-year-enlistments became the rule, although there were many exceptions. In the North the first troops ready for service were sent to Washington, D. C. , and to points along the Ohio River. Confederate troops were concentrated in Tennessee and in northern Virginia, where they could threaten the federal capital. Strategies As men poured into the armies, Northern and Southern leaders discussed strategies that would achieve victory.

These strategies contrasted significantly because the two sides had very different war aims. The Confederacy sought independence and only had to defend itself. The North sought to restore the Union, which meant it had to compel the seceded states to give up their hopes to found a new nation. Northern armies would have to invade the Confederacy, destroy its capacity to wage war, and crush the will of the Southern people to resist. The Confederacy could win by prolonging the war to a point where the Northern people would consider the effort too costly in lives and money to persist.

The South had a compelling example in the American Revolution of a seemingly weaker power defeating a much stronger one. The colonies had been at an even greater material disadvantage in relation to Great Britain than were the Confederate states in relation to the North, yet the colonies won, with the help of France, by dragging the war out and exhausting the British will to win. If the North chose not to mount a military effort to coerce the seceded states back into the Union, the Confederacy would win independence by default.

Lincoln and other Northern leaders, however, had no intention of letting the Southern states go without a fight. The most prominent American military figure in the spring of 1861 was Winfield Scott, the general-in-chief of the United States Army. Physically frail but with a brilliant mind, Scott conceived a long-range strategy to bring Northern victory. Subsequently named the “Anaconda Plan” (after the South American snake that squeezes its prey to death), Scott’s plan sought to apply pressure on the Confederacy from all sides.

A combined force of naval and army units would sweep down the Mississippi River, dividing the Confederacy’s eastern and western states. At the same time, the Union navy would institute a blockade to deny the Confederacy access to European manufactured goods. Should the South continue to resist even after the loss of the Mississippi and the closing of its ports, Scott envisioned a major invasion into the heart of the Confederacy. He estimated it would take two to three years and 300,000 men to carry out this strategy.

Except for underestimating, by about half, the length of time and number of men it would take to bring success, Scott had sketched the broad strategy the North would implement to defeat the South over the next four years. The United States Navy applied increasing pressure along the Confederate coasts, Northern forces took control of the Mississippi River by the middle of 1863, and large armies marched into Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas, eventually forcing a Confederate surrender in the spring of 1865. The Confederacy pursued what often is termed a defensive-offensive strategy.

Simply put, Confederate armies generally adopted a defensive strategy, protecting as much of their territory as possible against Northern incursions. However, when circumstances seemed to offer an opportunity to gain a decided advantage over Northern forces, the Confederacy launched offensives-the three most important of which culminated in the battles of Antietam (Maryland) and Perryville (Kentucky) in 1862, and Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) in 1863. Effects of Geography Geography played a major role in how effectively the two sides were able to carry out their strategies.

The sheer size of the Confederacy posed a daunting obstacle to Northern military forces. Totaling more than 1,940,000 sq km (750,000 sq mi) and without a well-developed network of roads, the Southern landscape challenged the North’s ability to supply armies that maneuvered at increasing distances from Union bases. It was also almost impossible to make the North’s blockade of Southern ports completely effective because the South’s coastline stretched 5600 km (3500 mi) and contained nearly 200 harbors and mouths of navigable rivers.

The Appalachian Mountains also hindered rapid movement of Northern forces between the eastern and western areas of the Confederacy while the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia offered a protected route through which Confederate armies could invade the North. The placement of Southern rivers, however, favored the North. The Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers provided excellent north-south avenues of advance for Union armies west of the Appalachians.

In Virginia, Confederates defended from behind the state’s principal rivers, but the James River also served as a secure line of communications and supply for Union offensives against Richmond in 1862 and again in 1864. Technology Technological advances helped both sides deal with the great distances over which the armies fought. The Civil War was the first large conflict that featured railroads and the telegraph. Railroads rapidly moved hundreds of thousands of soldiers and vast quantities of supplies; the North contained almost twice as many miles of railroad lines as the South.

Telegraphic communication permitted both governments to coordinate military movements on sprawling geographical fronts. The combatants also took advantage of numerous other recent advances in military technology. The most important was the rifle musket carried by most of the infantrymen on both sides. Prior to the Civil War, infantry generally had been armed with smoothbore muskets, weapons without rifling in the barrels. These muskets had an effective range of less than 90 m (300 ft).

As a result, massed attacks had a good chance of success because one side could launch an assault and not take serious casualties until they were almost on top of the defenders. The rifle musket, with an effective range of 225 to 275 m (750 to 900 ft), allowed defenders to break up attacks long before they reached the defenders’ positions. Combined with field fortifications, which were widely used during the war, the rifle musket changed military tactics by making charges against defensive positions more difficult. It also gave a significant advantage to the defending force.

Other new technologies included ironclad warships, which were used by both sides; the deployment of manned balloons for aerial reconnaissance on battlefields, used mainly by the North; the first sinking of a warship by the South’s submarine, known as the CSS Hunley; and the arming of significant numbers of soldiers with repeating weapons, carried mainly by the northern cavalry. The technology for all of these weapons had been present before the Civil War, but never before had armies applied the technology so widely. Manpower and Finance

At the beginning of the war, state militias provided most of the troops for both Union and Confederate armies. Soon large numbers of civilians were volunteering for military service. Throughout the war, the bulk of the forces consisted of volunteers. When the number of volunteers lagged behind the growing battle casualties, both the Northern and Southern governments resorted to drafting men into the armies. The Confederacy passed the first draft act in April 1862. The Union followed almost a year later. In both North and South, men of certain classes, occupations, and professions were exempted from the draft.

Furthermore, a man who was drafted in the North could avoid military service by making a money payment to the government and in both the North and South, a draftee could hire a substitute to go to war for him. Opposition to the draft was general throughout the country. In New York City the publication of the first draft lists caused four days of violent rioting in which many were killed and $1. 5 million worth of property was destroyed. Although the draft itself did not produce a sufficient number of soldiers, the threat of being drafted led many to volunteer and collect a bounty, which was paid to volunteers.

Some soldiers were unscrupulous enough to enlist, desert, and reenlist to collect the bounty more than once. The Civil War, like all wars, called for great sums of money to pay troops and supply them with equipment. At the outset of the war the Confederacy depended on loans, but this source of finance soon disappeared as Southerners began to be affected financially by the cost of the war and unable to buy bonds. The South never really tried heavy taxation because the government had no means to collect taxes and people in the South were reluctant and often unable to pay them.

Instead it relied on paper money, freely printed. Backed only by the possibility of Southern victory, the money dropped in value as the war went on and as its outcome became more uncertain. The Confederacy suffered greatly from severe inflation and debt throughout the war. The Confederate rate of inflation was about 9000 percent, meaning that an item that cost $1 in the Confederacy at the beginning of the war would have cost $92 at the end of the war. In contrast, the North’s rate of inflation was only about 80 percent. As the value of money declined, prices rose accordingly.

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