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US foreign policy and history - Essay Example

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The American Civil War of 1861 - 1865 remains the most severe military action the US has been involved in. That war between the North and South would have great consequence upon the political, economic, military, and social life of the country…
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US foreign policy and history

Download file to see previous pages... The American Civil War of 1861 - 1865 remains the most severe military action the US has been involved in. That war between the North and South would have great consequence upon the political, economic, military, and social life of the country.Although these consequences have been discussed by several generations of American and foreign historians, the debate is still far from being over.Politically, the War resolved arguably the key problem that persisted since the American Revolution of 1776: it proved that the republic is capable of coping with both external and internal threats. Until the War many predicted that the US would follow the same pattern many republics did in the 18th and 19th centuries: either collapse into tyranny or suffer a series of overthrows and devastating civil wars. The victory of the North in the War unified the nation and convincingly proved the United States' viability as a federal republic: since the War ended in 1965, no state has attempted secede from the federation (McPherson, 1989). Besides, the War eliminated any doubts regarding supremacy of the Federal government over the states' authorities. Another critically important outcome of the Civil War was abolishment of the slavery. The 13th Amendment, establishing the Freedmen's Bureau (March 1865) which provided food, medical aid, and education to freed people, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 which granting citizenship to blacks and authorized the federal government to protect their rights, and the 14th Amendment - these critically important documents have become the direct outcome of the Civil War. Evidently, the emancipation of 4 million slaves strongly affected economic life, social relations, and military institutions - literally each sphere of life - but in the first turn this accomplishment of the victors should be addressed as a political issue due to the following reasons. In the middle of the 19th century, the United States was powerful enough to equally compete with many European countries and be regarded as an influential international force. However, legalized slavery - an ugly anachronism of the Dark Ages - seriously undermined the country's reputation in the eyes of European countries (Brinkley et al, 1991). Although the legislative amendments failed to immediately win equal rights for black citizens, emancipation of slaves raised international prestige of the United States as a civilized country.
One of the most often admitted reasons for the Civil War was determination of the South to preserve their traditional agrarian society based upon labor of slaves. Although the system brought large profits to the Southern slavocracy, it represented a huge contrast with the capitalist North were wage labor prevailed, which slowed down development of capitalism in the United States (McPherson, 1989). The Northern victory removed that harmful contrast, finally caused the Industrial Revolution in the South, and turned the American economic system homogeneous thus opening the way for further development of capitalist relations in the country.
The War also stimulated the Northern industry. Producers of arms, munitions, canneries and meat packers made striking profits during the four years of war. A number of farmers had to take weapons and change their traditional occupation while the army required a lot of farm products -that combination of circumstances stimulated development of the farm machine industry and growing prosperity of Northern farmers. However, when the War was over, the farmers found out that rapid onset of new technical devices coupled with availability of new lands in the South dropped prices for the agricultural production. Many authorities admit that precisely at that time American farmers lost much of their former independence (Brinkley et al, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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