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The American Revolution, Civil War and Reconstruction - Essay Example

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Name Professor Module Date The American Revolution, Civil War and Reconstruction: Determinants and Outcomes The period from the American Revolution through the Civil War to the Reconstruction is characterized by crises and strains as the nation sought to establish its identity and socio-economic and political organization…
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The American Revolution, Civil War and Reconstruction
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Download file to see previous pages The interplay between African American and White elite’ history, alongside women’s movements and status can effectively bring out the themes of changing fortunes in relation to civil rights and dominance during the period under scrutiny. This study discusses the Civil War, the Reconstruction and the plights of African Americans, women and White elites during the period from the American Revolution to the Civil war. The thesis for the study is that the freedom spirit and equality as laid out in the Declaration of Independence were not maintained during this period. THE CIVIL WAR The American Civil War is one of the country’s stand-out points from a historical perspective. It is a fascinating aspect of American history in terms of the factors leading to the war, the course of the war and finally, its outcomes. As McPherson (2) explains, the Civil War broke out due to differences surrounding the right to engage in slavery between the free and slave states. According to Boyer et al. (443), both the North and South were largely unprepared for the war. This is discernible from the small armies existing at the beginning of the war and the lack of supportive structures for war. For instance, both sides lacked proper tax collection mechanisms, poor navies and underdeveloped railway lines. Boyer et al. argue that the first two years of the war involved the two sides heavily overcoming such deficiencies. The North and the South mobilized for war through conscription, rallying and budgetary allocations. The course of war was largely expected to swing in favor of the South (the Confederacy), as opposed to the North (the Union). Parallels with the American Revolution assured this, as the North faced the daunting task of forcing the South back to the Union while the South fought for independence. To subdue the South, the North had to be on the offensive, and that is over vast geographical areas. Although the Union was better equipped for war in terms of military size, railroad development and overall industrial development- its war resources paled in light of the just discussed challenge. The early course of the war made the South to win decisive victories and support (Boyer et al. 450-454). The main determinant of the outcome of the civil war revolved around the war picking the theme of independence especially in the North. This change in theme was to a large extent based on the qualities of the then President, Abraham Lincoln. McPherson (43) argues that, Lincoln’s abilities as a statesman and a politician alongside his steadfast stance on the value of the war, won support from the Northern population and ultimately the war itself. Grant and Reid (40) support this view, arguing that Lincoln made his analysis of the long term future of the USA known to all. He categorically viewed the US as either wholly free or wholly slave, and presented the Republican Party as inclined towards the extinction of slavery. Individuals against the war represented standing for slavery and vice versa. Thus, Lincoln effectively rallied the population, further helped by a stream of victories over the South (41). The exploits of the North’s generals- such as General Sherman- and the reelection of Lincoln effectively saw the North emerge victorious after four years of brutal war. Officially, slavery had ended and the North stepped in to govern the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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