The history of the people of the United States of America cannot be written without mentioning the Civil War. While indeed there are several other historical events that have taken place within the territory of the US such as the now infamous and abhorred Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the 1776-83 Revolution that led to the independence of the United States from Britain or even the sending of the first man to the moon in 1969, the Civil War remains the most cardinal point of historical renaissance to the people of America. The Civil War is credited to have shaped the future, existence and ideologies The United States.
It is important to note that the Civil War was responsible for settling two issues that for a long time had remained mysteries among the American people. The first one being whether the many states that had joined together to form the United States of America would crumble or if they would sustain their differences and grow together as one nation. The other mystery was that during independence, a declaration was made that United States was a country where all men were free and enjoyed equal rights to liberty, however the country turned out as the biggest market of slave trade and it was important to know whether the country was going to defy the spirit of its founders and continue thriving in slave trade. The victory by the northerners ensured that the US remained united as one country and that the market of slavery was completely destroyed leading the country back to the ideologies of its founders.
Well, they say nothing good comes easy and definitely the answers to these two mysteries came at price costing more than a half a million lives. This is by far the most destructive war ever in the Western World alongside the Napoleonic Wars and the world Wars.
The American Civil War of 1860 -1865 started because of irreconcilable differences between the free states in the Northern part of the country and the Southerners which were slavery states over the jurisdiction of the Federal (National) government on slavery among some territories that were yet to become states but were soon joining.
During the General Elections of 1860, a newly formed party, The Republican Party fielded Abraham Lincoln (my namesake, 😌lol) as their Presidential Candidate. Lincoln campaigned on the platform of wiping out slavery out of the territories. Immediately Lincoln won the elections, seven states that supported slavery seceded to form Confederate States of America, a new nation. These were South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas. However Lincoln, the president elect and the states at the north blatantly refused to accept the legitimacy of this secession. Their refusal was because they feared that allowing these states to form a new country will erode democracy as the new country would be a safe haven for slavery and that this secession would form a basis in which other states would later on rely on to secede hence splitting the US into small countries.
On April, 12, 1861, the war began in earnest at Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay when the Confederate claimed this fort as their own and their army opened fire on the United States Garrison and lowered the flag of the United States and erected that of the Confederate States of America. The then president Lincoln called on his army to suppress this attack. Four more states of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas seceded to join the Confederation. By the end of 1861, nearly a million people were actively taking part in the war along the 1200 miles stretch between Virginia and Missouri. A lot of wars had already taken place paving way for the creation of West Virginia as a new State in the United States (Union). The Confederation Army lost heavily in Wilson’s Creek in West Virginia, Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, and South Carolina’s Port Royal. At this place, the Union (United States Army) established a blockade and completely closed the Confederate from the entire world. However, the cookies started to crumble in 1862 when the war became lethal and deadly. Lethal wars started in Shiloh Tennessee, Gain’s Mill, Aintmen and Mannassas. This set pace for what happened in the next years where people were butchered mercilessly. There were huge battles in Gettysburg Pennsylvania, Vicksburg Mississippi and even Chickamauga in Georgia. In 1864, the Union’s goal completely changed from attempting to restore the Seceding states back to the Union to completely destroying the Confederation. This was called The Total War of America. During his address at Gettysburg, President Lincoln declared that the new strategy was that of destroying the institution of slavery and restoring a new Union based on freedom and liberty. Robert Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army managed to stop the Union’s Army from Northern Virginia until Ulysses S. Grant took over as the general in chief of the Union Army. This takeover was followed by blood bath in battles of The Wilderness, Spotyslvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. In April 1865, the Union Army completely demolished The Confederation’s Army at Appattomax.
This was followed by a series of conquests by the Union Army which completely destroyed the Confederation’s economic bases in Georgia and South Carolina destroying cotton farms and releasing slaves. The Battle of Nashville become the moment when the Union Army hit the last nail on the coffin of the Confederate Army when they killed and mutilated the soldiers leading to surrender of the Confederate Army.
By the Spring of 1865, all the states in the Confederacy surrendered back to The Union and the President of the Confederation Jefferson Davis was captured in Georgia on May 10, 1865 leading to the end of this half a decade long war. At the end, the Confederation was dissolved and all the seceding states returned to the Union and President Abraham Lincoln declared slave trade as an illegitimate and illegal business in the territories of the United States marking the end of a trade that had existed for many centuries in America.
The Union winning the war is credited as the event that maintained the prosperity of the United States. Had the Union lost the war, it is a fact that United States of America could have remained just but history as more countries would have seceded and at the moment, we could be having many small countries between New York and Los Angeles and the story of USA could have been like that of USSR. And again, these seceding states could not have been as prosperous as the current United States and maybe they could have ended up just like the other middle economies in Latin America. So thanks to the administration of Lincoln, today we have the United States of America.
A point to note, when the Confederation was formed, the remaining part of the United States was referred as The Union. And again, this win was a delivery of Lincoln’s campaign promises. I hope our leaders become like Lincoln in delivering their pre elections promises.