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Civil War - Term Paper Example

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Student's Name: Professor's Name: American Civil War (master narrative) 04 May 2010 Introduction The American civil war is a painful episode in the nation’s history. It was a war that should not have happened but in retrospect, it was perhaps inevitable because of the clash of ideas between the people of the North from those in the South…
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Download file to see previous pages The civil war was also a morality issue. Most stories of the civil war are depicted from the eyes and viewpoint of the whites, either Northern or Southern white people. There are not many books detailing the war from the perspective of the African-American slaves at that time and their roles in the civil war. They had certainly made big contributions to the ultimate victory of the North but these were mostly either not given prominence or just glossed over to a certain extent. The previous kind of master narratives viewed the US civil war as mainly among the white themselves. This paper attempts to explore a narrative within this master narrative. It will detail in the following pages how the issue of slavery took a decisive role in the ultimate victory of the North because of the help from the black slaves who took great risks to choose their freedom. Moreover, this paper will also try to explain and demolish some of the myths surrounding the role of the blacks in the civil war at its most crucial moments when the outcome of the war had hung in the balance (no pun intended). Finally, this paper also talks about how slavery in America really indeed, with the wits and guile of an obscure general named Butler. Discussion The US civil war started when eleven Southern states declared their secession from the United States of America and formed the Confederate States of America. The core of the issue was slavery but even the newly-elected Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, did not call for its outright abolition. In fact, he was very careful to tread on this sensitive issue and declared only that slavery should not be allowed to expand into other states. In other words, slavery will remain in those states where slavery already existed. However, Southern whites took umbrage at this declaration which they considered to be a threat to their way of life that was based on slave labor. The larger narrative of the civil war was that Pres. Lincoln did not take direct steps to abolish slavery precisely to avoid war and preserve the Union. Lincoln gave this reassurance because he knew there will no winners or losers in civil war; there will only be losers on both sides. His phronesis (practical wisdom) and training as a lawyer gave him the ability to weigh several options but all based on constitutionality. But as the South declared hostilities and as the war progressed, his position took a hardline stance as he knew the issue of slavery will rear its ugly head once again if allowed to continue. This issue will never rest until it is extinguished completely and one sure way to do that was win the war decisively. His ultimate objective was to preserve the Union at all costs but somehow later down the road, also find justification for abolishing slavery through legal means. Pres. Lincoln was in a serious quandary as the US Constitution had guaranteed rights to slavery for those states who wanted it (McPherson, 1996, p. 100). He was also personally against slavery and abhorred its practices and evil inhumanity to fellow human beings but he could not just prosecute the war to its bitter end and present it as a war against slavery. There has to be some other solution and it came from a newly-appointed general named Benjamin Franklin Butler; he was a lawyer by profession and given the rank of major general. The narrative – ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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