Ulysses S. Grant Abraham Lincoln Robert E. Lee
Before 1860, reference to the nation generally began "these United States are," but after 1865 it became more frequently "the United States is." In that change, one might well see the most important outcome of the American Civil War. The question of the nature of the Union, which had been debated since its inception, was settled; the nation was one and indivisible. As such the United States joined a worldwide movement to create large, consolidated nation-states. The cost had been great, in both human and financial terms, but the war had done more than defeat secessionist rebellion. It had set the nation on a new course. States rights, as an alternative to nationalism, had been dealt a fatal blow. The tariff and internal improvements were law and would remain so. Slavery was abolished, free labor was triumphant, and industrial growth and material progress seemed to lie ahead. The war, therefore, represented more than a victory for the armies of the Union. The real victor had been the Union itself. Never again would the supremacy of national laws be seriously questioned. The Civil War gave birth to the modern United States. Indeed, it ended an era and began another.
Brinkley, Alan (2007). American history: A survey. New York, New York: McGraw Hill.
Civil War 1861-1865
1860 Seven states in the Deep South launch the first wave of secession.
1861 Confederates fire on Fort Sumter, Lincoln calls for troops, and the Civil War begins. Four more states in the upper South secede in a second wave of secession. South wins First Battle of Manassas in Virginia.
1862 Union advance against Robert E. Lee in Peninsula Campaign stalls.
South wins Second Battle of Manassas. South is rebuffed at Battle of Antietam in Maryland. President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation. Congress passes Pacific Railroad Act, chartering transcontinental railroad. Morrill Act establishes land-grant universities. Homestead Act provides free land in the West. Militia Act initiates Union conscription.
1863 After winning Battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville,
South invades Pennsylvania and loses Battle of Gettysburg. Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant take Vicksburg on the Mississippi River. Enrollment Act centralizes mobilization effort.
1864 William T. Sherman achieves fall of Atlanta and leads "March to the Sea."Lincoln defeats former general George McClellan in presidential election.Grant?s army approaches Richmond through the Wilderness and lays siege to Petersburg, Virginia.
1865 Fall of Petersburg prompts Lee?s surrender at Appomattox Court House.Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth assassinates Lincoln.
1863 Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln announces his Ten-Percent Plan for Reconstruction.
1864 Arkansas, Tennessee, and Louisiana establish governments.
1865 Freedmen's Bureau created. Thirteenth Amendment ratified. Lincoln's assassination. Andrew Johnson launches presidential Reconstruction.
1865?66 Southern states institute Black Codes.
1866 Congress passes Civil Rights Bill over Johnson's veto. Ku Klux Klan founded. Congress approves the Fourteenth Amendment. Tennessee readmitted to Congress. Republicans sweep midterm congressional elections.
1867 Congressional Reconstruction begins with the Military Reconstruction Act. Congress passes Tenure of Office Act. Thaddeus Stevens's land reform proposal defeated.
1867-68 Southern states hold constitutional conventions.
1868 Fourteenth Amendment ratified. House impeaches President Johnson; Senate acquits him. Seven more southern states readmitted to Congress. Ulysses S. Grant elected president.
1869 Congress approves the Fifteenth Amendment. Transcontinental railroad completed. Democratic Redeemers begin to win power in the South.
1870 Fifteenth Amendment ratified. Last three southern states readmitted to Congress.
1870-71 Congress passes the Enforcement Acts.
1872 Credit Mobilier scandal exposed.
1873 Panic of 1873 launches economic depression. Supreme Court decides Slaughterhouse Cases.
1874 Democrats win control of House for first time since 1856.
1875 Civil Rights Act passed. Mississippi Redeemers institute the "Mississippi Plan."
1876 Disputed Hayes-Tilden presidential election produces political crisis.
1877 Compromise of 1877 leads to inauguration of Rutherford B. Hayes.President Hayes withdraws all federal troops from the South. Last remaining Republican governments in the South fall.
Globalization: It is useful to view this war to preserve the Union as part of a larger global trend to consolidate and centralize nation-states. This also occurred in Europe, Russia, and Japan.
Politics and Citizenship: Lincoln was a masterful political leader, perhaps America's greatest president. His use of federal power, and some abuses of that power, and conceptions of democracy as expressed in his "Gettysburg Address" have helped define modern America.
Slavery and Its Legacies: The Civil War ended slavery in America; however, it is important to note the active role that slaves themselves took to ensure that outcome, both in the Union and the Confederacy.
War and Diplomacy: The Civil War had an extraordinary impact on all aspects of American life. The Union victory was a victory of the Hamiltonian over the Jeffersonian vision for America, an end to the question of federal supremacy, and the end of slavery although a caste system based on race remained.
George, J. & Brown, J. (2007). AP achiever: Advanced placement american history exam preparation guide. McGraw Hill.
The American Civil War was the largest military conflict in the Western world between the Napoleonic Wars and World War I. It cost 600,000 American lives, more than in World War I and World War II combined. Its social consequences were especially far-reaching. The war resulted in the emancipation of four million enslaved African Americans. It also brought vast changes to the nation's financial system, fundamentally altered the relationship between the states and the federal government, and became modern history's first total war. It is truly the central event in American history.
The election of a Republican president opposed to the expansion of slavery into the western territories led seven states in the lower South to secede from the Union and to establish the Confederate States of America. After Lincoln notified South Carolina's governor that he intended to resupply Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, the Confederacy fired on the installation, leading the President to declare that an insurrection existed in the South.
Early in the war, the Union succeeded in blockading Confederate harbors, and by mid-July 1862 it had divided the Confederacy in two by wresting control of Kentucky, Missouri, and much of Tennessee, as well as the Mississippi River. In the Eastern Theater in 1861 and 1862, the Confederacy stopped Union attempts to capture its capital in Richmond, Virginia. In September 1862 (at Antietam in Maryland) and July 1863 (at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania), Robert E. Lee tried and failed to provoke European powers intervention in the war by winning a victory on Northern soil.
After futile pleas to the border states to free slaves voluntarily, Lincoln in the summer of 1862 decided that emancipation was a military and political necessity. The Emancipation Proclamation transformed the war from a conflict to save the Union to a war to abolish slavery. It also authorized the enlistment of African Americans. During the war Congress also adopted policies that altered American society. The Homestead Act, which offered free public land to western settlers; and land grants, that supported construction of a transcontinental railroad. The government also raised the tariff, enacted the first income tax, and established a system of federally-chartered banks. The Union lost about 360,000 troops during the Civil War and the Confederacy about 260,000. This is almost as many soldiers as have died in all other American wars combined, and in December 1865, the 13th Amendment to the constitution ended slavery in the United States.
The Civil War
As the Civil War rages, all eyes turn to Vicksburg, where limited war becomes total war. Professor Miller looks at the ferocity of the fighting, at Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, and at the bitter legacy of the battle -- and the war.