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For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War - Essay Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction The American civil war was the most deadly and devastating war in American history. It was fought for four long years (1861-1865) and claimed many casualties as all the rest of the wars ever fought in the country combined…
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For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War
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For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War

Download file to see previous pages... These are questions many historians have been asking themselves and which they try to explain. While the soldiers could be motivated by the same factors that motivate other soldiers such as in the WWI and WWII such as patriotism, nationalism, duty, and honor and for the community, many historians do agree that civil war soldiers were somehow different. These soldiers fought with a passion and were willing to lay their lives unlike other soldiers. Furthermore, they were not trained on combat like other soldiers but they were able to sustain the war and combat. For McPherson this can only be explained by their commitment for “cause and comrades” or their ideologies (28, 173). While “group cohesion and peer pressure were the powerful factors in combat motivation they were not unrelated to the complex mixture of patriotism, ideology, duty, honor, manhood, community or peer pressure that prompted them to enlist in the first place” (McPherson, 13). The aim of this paper will be to discuss the factors that motivated the men to enlist as soldiers, sustaining the army and facing danger during combat. I shall argue that the motivating factors remained the same despite many challenges thus sustaining the army and giving them strength in combat thus the reason why the war lasted for long. Individuals have different reasons fore wanting to join war efforts but the American soldiers acted extraordinarily during the civil war. Most soldiers would give up war if the fruits are not gained but the soldiers in this case continued to fight thus putting their lives on line. Why did they enlist in the first place? In ordinary circumstances the people who engage in war are those trained for combat but in this case ordinary citizens without any knowledge or experience of war were enlisted. According to McPherson (6) the union and the confederacy managed to mobilize 3 million men into war. This was despite the fact that there was no state coercion, discipline was lax, and no role for ethnic and religious hatred, and subordination was unheard of. He attributes this to military rage awakened by Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops (16). This increased the rage and resentment towards the southerners who were calling for secession and tearing the nation’s flag. They were viewed as traitors to their country and the country’s flag. Patriotic feelings in the North were awakened leading men to enroll in the army in large numbers. Men were willing to commit Fratricide for the sake of their country after the attack of Fort Sumter. For the southerners, the rage was enhanced by nationalism. The confederates were willing to enlist in the army to fight for their country against oppression by the North especially after a black was elected as president (Gallagher, 20; Perman & Taylor, 195). Lincoln had vowed to abolish slavery and this was seen as against their rights and liberty as slaves were their property. In essence both North and south were enlisting to fight for their country. Another main reason why soldiers enlisted in the army despite patriotism and nationalism was sense of duty and honor. Many soldiers who wrote to their families during the war insisted on performing their national duty which is to defend their country from traitors. They believed that their form of government was unique and that they had to defend it to avoid a situation of anarchy or lawlessness while the southern soldiers enlisted ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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