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The American Civil War


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Title: The American Civil War

The American Civil War
  • Jan 2011 C. Corning

Civil War
  • Definition
  • What other Civil Wars have you studied? Common

Characteristics of a Civil War
  • An organized military action 1,000 battle
    deaths/year and 5 of deaths inflicted by the
    weaker party.
  • At least two factions within a single
    country/nation-state one of which is the
    national government which are divided over
    religious, ideological, political, economic
    and/or social issues.
  • The war occurs in the country in which the
    opposing factions originate and the primary
    leadership of each faction is from that country.

Why Study the American Civil War?
  • The Civil War remains the deadliest and most
    destructive of all Americas wars.
  • The first modern war on the continent (and maybe
    the world).
  • Only conflict in U.S. history fought entirely on
    the nations soil.
  • Strengthened the power of the Federal Government.
  • Forever destroyed the institution of slavery in
    the U.S.

Causes of the American Civil War
  • Economic and social differences between the North
    and the South.
  • States versus federal rights.
  • The fight between Slave and Non-Slave State
  • Growth of the Abolition Movement.
  • The election of Abraham Lincoln.

  • Economic and social differences between the North
    and the South
  • The southern economy became a one crop economy,
    depending on cotton and therefore on slavery.
  • On the other hand, the northern economy was based
    more on industry than agriculture. In fact, the
    northern industries were purchasing the raw
    cotton and turning it into finished goods.
  • This disparity between the two set up a major
    difference in economic attitudes.

  • States versus federal rights.
  • Many States Rights proponents felt that the U.S.
    Constitution ignored the rights of states to
    continue to act independently.
  • They felt that the states should still have the
    right to decide if they were willing to accept
    certain federal acts. This resulted in the idea
    of nullification, whereby the states would have
    the right to rule federal acts unconstitutional.
  • The federal government denied states this right.
    However, proponents such as John C. Calhoun
    fought vehemently for nullification. When
    nullification would not work and states felt that
    they were no longer respected, they moved
    towards secession.

  • The fight between Slave and Non-Slave State
  • Missouri Compromise passed in 1820 made a rule
    that prohibited slavery in states from the
    former Louisiana Purchase the latitude 36 degrees
    30 minutes north except in Missouri.
  • Wilmot Provision in 1846 which would ban slavery
    in the new lands. However, this was shot down to
    much debate.
  • The Compromise of 1850 was created by Henry Clay
    and others to deal with the balance between slave
    and free states, northern and southern interests.
    Many of these states were formed in territory
    won in the Mexican-American War (1846 1848).
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. It created two new
    territories that would allow the states to use
    popular sovereignty to determine whether they
    would be free or slave.

  • Growth of the Abolition Movement.
  • Increasingly, the northerners became more
    polarized against slavery. Sympathies began to
    grow for abolitionists and against slavery and
  • Major events included
  • the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle
    Tom's Cabin,
  • The Dred Scott Case
  • John Brown's Raid
  • Passage of the Fugitive Slave Act that held
    individuals responsible for harboring fugitive
    slaves even if they were located in non-slave

  • The election of Abraham Lincoln
  • When Lincoln was elected in 1860, South Carolina
    issued its "Declaration of the Causes of
    Secession." They believed that Lincoln was
    anti-slavery and in favor of Northern States
  • Before Lincoln was even president, seven states
    had seceded from the Union South Carolina,
    Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia,
    Louisiana, and Texas.

The Birth of the Republican Party
  • Question Why do new political parties form?
  • By the end of the 1850s the nations political
    landscape had shifted. New concerns increase
    in immigration, Whig party split over the issue
    of slavery and a weak Democratic party. (Review
    pg 320)
  • Nativism Know Nothing Party
  • Free-Soil Party no more extension of slavery
    (however not a party of abolitionism).
  • Discontented Whigs formed the Republican party
    (sound familiar? Ie the Tea Party?).

Events Leading up to Secession
  • Slavery begins to dominate most political
  • Dred Scott Decision (1857) Roger Taneys
    Majority Opinion Constitutional Rights Do Not
    Extend to Blacks
  • He was the Chief Justice blacks cannot be
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates 1858 Illinois Senate
  • Douglas (D) supported popular sovereignty
    (believed that slavery would die out)
  • Lincoln (R) slavery was immoral, fear that it
    would spread to new territories
  • Harpers Ferry (VA) John Brown Oct 1859 slave

Lincolns Election
  • 1860 Presidential Election three candidates
    Lincoln (R), Douglas (D) and Breckinridge (D)
  • Lincoln won but with less than half of popular
    vote not a strong mandate no electoral
    votes from the South
  • The South felt that they had no voice in national
  • South Carolina seceded from the Union on Dec 20,
    1860, followed by Mississippi and Florida in Jan
  • Later Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas
  • Feb 1861 delegates from these states met
    formed the Confederate States of America (The
  • Constitution similar but protected and
    recognized slavery
  • Jefferson Davis - President

The Beginning
  • After the seven southern states seceded and
    formed the Confederacy, soldiers began to take
    over federal buildings in their states
    government buildings and military installations.
  • Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor Confederates
    demanded surrender, Lincoln only sent food,
    Confederates attack April 12, 1861.
  • Lincoln responded by calling for 75,000 troops
  • April 17th Virginia seceded (unwilling to fight
    against other southern states) and brought
    ironworks and factories to the Confederate side.
  • By May Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina
  • Western counties of Virginia secede from VA and
    become West Virginia (1863 statehood special
  • Four remaining slave states Maryland, Delaware,
    Kentucky and Missouri remain in the Union.

Military History
  • Northern and Southern Resources page 339
    unevenly matched (although it could be argued at
    the beginning of the war that the South had
    better military leadership!)
  • Strategy both sides thought it would be a quick
  • Union pursued what became known as the Anaconda
    Plan three prong strategy
  • Navy Blockade Southern ports
  • Union riverboats and armies move down Mississippi
    Rv why?
  • Union armies capture the Confederate capital
    Richmond, VA
  • Confederacy mainly defensive strategy

  • How to read a military history map the key is
  • Pages 340, 358, 361, 363,
  • First Battle of Bull Run July 21, 1861 about
    25 miles south of Union capital and 100 miles
    north of the Confederate capital.
  • Lasted most of the day, Union winning in the
    morning but the Confederate rallying in the
    afternoon, led by Stonewall Jackson
  • Lincoln responded to the Union lost by calling up
    1 million men for a three year enlistment and
    appointed George McClellan as commander of Union
    Army (aka Army of the Potomac).

Battles in the West
  • Feb 1862, the Union army led by Ulysses S. Grant
    invaded western Tennessee - within 2 weeks
    captured Ft. Henry on the Tennessee River and
    Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.
  • March 1862, Grant camped his army near a
    Tennessee church named Shiloh, close to the
    Mississippi border.
  • April - Confederate soldiers surprised the Union
    army and inflicted significant casualties before
    the Union army could re-group and force
    Confederate forces to retreat.
  • Both sides became aware of the need for defensive
    measures while in camp, bloody engagement and
    failure of Confederates to hold onto
    Ohio-Kentucky frontier.
  • April Union takes hold of New Orleans why

Battle for the Seas
  • March 1862, the ironclads the Monitor (Union) and
    the Merrimack (Confederate) fought a duel at sea.
  • Ironclad ships could splinter wooden ships,
    withstand cannon fire and resist burning.
  • The Merrimack attached three Union ships, the
    Monitor responded the attack and in the end the
    battle was a draw.
  • The Confederate submarine CSS Hunley (named for
    one of its financiers, Horace Lawson Hunley) was
    intended for attacking the North's ships, which
    were blockading the South's seaports. The sub was
    extremely hazardous to operate, and had no air
    supply other than what was contained inside the
    main compartment. February 17, 1864, it sank
    the USS Housatonic off Charleston Harbor.

The War for the Capitals
  • The third prong of the Union strategy was to
    capture the Confederate capital. Problem Gen
    McClellan was slow to act and did not move
    against Richmond until the spring of 1862.
  • McClellan moves South and into the armies of
    Robert E. Lee Seven Days Battles (June 25
    July 1, 1862). McClellan moved away from
    Richmond and headed towards the sea.
  • Lee captured the advantage of momentum and moved
    against the Washington D.C. On August 29 and 30,
    his troops won a big victory at the Second Battle
    of Bull Run. A few days later Lee takes his army
    across the Potomac River into Maryland.
  • McClellan ordered his army to intercept and the
    two armies fought at Antietam on Sept 17th
    bloodiest single day battle in US history.
  • Union victory but Lee is able to retreat and
    Lincoln fires McClellan.

The Politics of War
  • At the beginning of the war, the Southern states
    expected Britain to support them why?
  • However Britain pursues a policy of neutrality
    India and wheat.
  • The abolition movement pressured Lincoln to
    resolve the question of slavery
  • Although Lincoln did not agree with slavery, he
    felt that the federal govt did not have the
    power to abolish it where it already existed.
  • My object in this struggle is to save the
    Union, and is not either to save or destroy
  • Just as Union soldiers could confiscate
    Confederate supplies, Lincoln also authorized the
    army to emancipate slaves.
  • Since England support abolitionism, this was also
    a diplomatic move.
  • gg

Emancipation Proclamation 1863
  • Excerpt on page 346 the proclamation only
    applied to those slaves within States that were
    in a state of rebellion.
  • It did NOT free any slaves immediately because it
    only applied to those slaves in Confederate
    areas, outside Union control.
  • Did not apply to those areas of the south under
    Union military control nor to slave states who
    did not secede.
  • Reactions turned the fight into a moral
    struggle and allowed free blacks to enlist in the
    Union army. ( Blacks already were used in the
    Confederate army as labor.)
  • Democrats concerned that it would antagonize the
  • Confederacy saw this as confirmation of their
    fears about federal govt.
  • Now there was no opportunity for compromise to
    end the war.

Problems Associated with Civil Wars
  • How to deal with dissenters?
  • Neither side is homogenous there were
    Confederate sympathizers in the North and the
    same in the South. How did each govt handle
    their critics?
  • Lincoln often suspended habeas corpus suspected
    Confed. sympathizers were arrested and held
    without trial he also sent federal troops
    against civilian populations and seized telegram
  • What was the constitutionality of his actions?
  • Jefferson Davis also had to suspended many civil
  • Lincolns actions set a precedent for the
    expansion of Presidential power in a time of war.
    (WWII, Vietnams, Iraqi War)

Problems Associated with Civil Wars
  • How to Find Soldiers for Your Army?
  • Volunteers initially usually a good number but
    usually not enough to staff a full military
    fighting force
  • Conscription the draft that forces certain
    members of the population to serve in the Army
  • Union men 20 45 years old passed in 1863
    however 92 of Union forces were volunteer
  • Draft riots in New York immigrants not our
  • Breakdown of social stablility
  • Confederate men 18 35 years old (later 17
    50) passed in 1862, rich mans war but poor
    mans fight - ??

Other Wartime Issues
  • African-American Soldiers
  • Slave Resistance in the Confederacy
  • Inflation and Shortages in the South
  • Northern Economic Growth
  • Health and Sanitation issues disease, Dorothea
    Dix, Clara Barton (trained nurses)
  • Prisoners of War Andersonville, prisoner
    exchange, treatment of Black Union soldiers

Battle of Antietam
  • Articles Thesis
  • Impact of the Battle on the rest of the war
  • Legacy of the Civil War

Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg
  • Battle of Gettysburg (Penn.) July 1863 three
    day battle. Lee, Jackson, A.P. Hill, James
    Longstreet and Jeb Stuart vs. George Meade and
    David Gregg (map pg 361)
  • Result Both sides suffer massive casualties
    (close to 30), Lee forced to retreat south
    (never to penetrate North again)
  • Nov 1863 Lincolns Gettysburg Address Four
    score and seven years (page 361)
  • Vicksburg Campaign (Miss) April to July 1863
    Grant set up a seige, by July the Confederate
    commander surrendered and the Confederacy was cut
    in two.

Civil War 1863- 1865
  • Confederacy is weak low on food, supplies, guns
    and ammunition holding on long enough for an
    armistice, rather than a surrender.
  • Deteriorating civilian morale, some planters
    continue to grow cash crops to sell North,
    increasing desertions, discord within the Confed.
    govt, growth of peace movements
  • March, 1864 Grant becomes the commander of all
    Union armies and appoints William Sherman as
    commander of the western division.
  • Both focused on total war, with the goal of
    destroying the Souths will to fight/support the

Beginning of the End
  • Grant occupies Lee in Virginia while Sherman
    focused on Georgia, the last strong hold of the
    Confederacy (pg 363)
  • Grant was willing to suffer high casualties in
    order to force Lee into surrender The Butcher
  • Shermans March Fall of 1864 he abandons his
    supply line and marches his army through Georgia,
    living off the land and creating a wide path of
    destruction culminating in the burning of Atlanta
    in November.
  • Then the Army turned north to help Grant, 25,000
    former slaves following, greater destruction in
    South Carolina
  • 1864 Presidential election pg 364

Surrender at Appomattox
  • Sherman approaching Richmond from the South,
    Grant and Sheridan from the West
  • Grant wins against Lee at Petersburg, President
    Davis and his cabinet abandon Richmond and set it
    on fire
  • Lee and Grant met to arrange a Confederate
    surrender on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court
  • At Lincolns request, the terms were generous
    Lees soldiers were paroled and sent home with
  • The war was over.

Legacy of the War
  • Political Changes
  • Economic Changes
  • Social Changes
  • Assassination of Pres. Lincoln April 14, 1865
    John Wilkes Booth (Southern sympathizer) killed
    him in the Fords Theater in Washington, D.C.
    Andrew Johnson becomes President

  • Reconstruction the period during which the
    United States began to rebuild after the Civil
    War, 1865 1877.
  • Lincolns Reconstruction Plan wanted a lenient
    plan, to make it as quick and painless as
    possible, 10 plan to reinstate a new state govt
    and gain representation in Congress
  • Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Virginia first
  • Radical Republicans disagreed with the plan and
    wanted to punish the former slave holders, and
    give former slaves full citizenship and the right
    to vote
  • Pass Wade-Davis Bill Congress, not the
    President, responsible of the reconstruction
    Lincoln pulled a pocket veto.
  • Johnson intended to deal harshly with the
    Confederate leaders

Johnstons Plan
  • The remaining Confederate states (Alabama,
    Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina,
    South Carolina and Texas) could be readmitted to
    the Union if
  • Each state withdrew its secession
  • Swear allegiance to the Union
  • Annul Confederate war debts
  • Ratify the 13th Amendment
  • Johnson wanted to prevent high-ranking
    Confederates and wealthy Southern landowners from
    taking the oath for voting privileges.
  • Radicals Republicans were upset because Johnson
    failed to address the needs of former slaves
    land, voting rights and protection under the law.
    But the white Southerners were relieved.

The Southern Response
  • The remaining Confederate states quickly agreed
    to Johnsons terms. All the states (except for
    Texas) held conventions to draw up new state
    constitutions, set up new state governments and
    elect new representatives to Congress.
  • Congress in Dec 1865 refused to seat the Southern
  • The moderate Republicans enlarged the Freedmens
    Bureau in Feb 1866 to assist former slaves
  • April 1866 the Congress passed the Civil Rights
    Act of 1866 which gave African-Americans
    citizenship and forbade discriminatory laws
    (black codes).
  • Johnson vetoed the Freedmens Bureau Act and
    Civil Rights Act.

Congressional Reconstruction
  • Congress is unhappy with the Presidents plan and
    the radical and moderate Republicans worked
    together to shift the power over the
    Reconstruction program to the Congress.
  • 14th Amendment in 1866 passage in 1868 (all
    Southern states except for Tennessee reject it).
  • Reconstruction Act of 1867 did not recognize
    any State Govts formed under Lincoln or
    Johnsons plan (WHAT??) except Tenn because it
    had ratified the 14th Amendment
  • The act divided the other 10 former Confederate
    States into 5 military districts, each headed by
    a Union General. The voters white and
    African-American men would elect delegates to
    conventions to draft new state constitutions and
    elect representatives to Congress (sound
  • States had to ratify the 14th Amendment and
    ensure the African-American men could vote in
    order to be readmitted to the Union.

Reconstruction Terms
  • 15th Amendment
  • Public Works Program
  • Scalawags
  • Carpetbaggers
  • Black migration to southern cities
  • Segregation
  • 40 Acres and Mule
  • Restoration of Plantation System, Sharecropping
    and Tenant Farming

Collapse of Reconstruction
  • White Southerners were divided about the reaction
    to the role of African-Americans in government.
    Most Southerners wanted to move on and restore
    political, economic and social stability however
    a minority of Southerners were very unhappy and
    used violence against African-Americans
  • Ku Klux Klan (KKK) started as a social club for
    Confederate soldiers, started in Tennessee in
    1866, by 1868 in every southern state.
  • The KKK used both the threats of physical
    violence and economic pressure to prevent the
    African-Americans from making progress
  • By May 1872, the Amnesty Act was passed which
    allowed former Confederate leaders to hold
    federal and state offices most of whom would
    vote Democratic.

The Pendulum Swings the Other Way
  • The Republicans suffer a serious of political
    scandals which eventually divide the Republican
  • The Panic of 1873 what was the effect on the
    Republican party?
  • Supreme Court began to undo some of the more
    radical social and political changes made by the
    Radical Republicans.
  • Northern voters began to grow weary of the
    problems in the South and of the Reconstruction
  • Redemption Process (1869 1875) Democrats
    regaining control of Southern state governments.
    Federal Troops removed home rule

Legacy of Reconstruction
  • Was the Reconstruction process a success or a
    failure? (pg 400)
  • Legacy? Short-term? Long-term? (pgs 400 401)