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The American Civil War

RESOURCE: The American Civil War

Advantage of the Union (North)
• population – 22 million
• 90% of ind. goods, esp. munitions
• efficient railroad system
• controlled the navy, which could be used to blockade southern ports and shut down the southern economy
• but would have to fight an offensive war (long supply lines, unfamiliar territory…)
• capable military leaders including Ulysses S. Grant

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Confederate (South) Advantages and Disadvantages
• Confederates had excellent generals too -Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jackson
• Defending is always easier than attacking – (familiar w/climate and territory, possible psychological advantages)
• Farmers fight better than factory workers
• Profitable eco. based on cotton exports
• But disadvantages…a smaller pop. of 9 million (inc. 3.5 million slaves)
• had to import ind. goods; very little munitions production

Great Britain and the Civil War
• The South was looking for an alliance with Great Britain (since GB industry was dependent on “King Cotton”)…but GB was wary of events and did not want to become involved:
• Great Britain had stockpiled cotton as the conflict was escalating; they had also found other sources (Madras, India)
• Most British workers who lost their jobs in cotton factories had been able to find work in the new munitions factories that were mostly supplying the N.
• Most British citizens resented slavery
• British crop failures had led to increased grain trade w/ the North

Tensions between Great Britain and South
• A Br. ship. the Trent, was intercepted by the N. on its way to GB from the S.; it was carrying S. “ambassadors”…the N. resented Br. interference, leading some to call for war; Lincoln simply defused the situation by releasing the ship and the southern “agents”
• GB had also sold several ships to the S., namely the Florida and the Alabama – they had sunk many n. ships

Emancipation Proclamation
• It freed the slaves only in states that have seceded from the Union.
• It did not free slaves in border states

Gettysburg – The Turning Point
• Lee realized that the South was in dire straits and decided that it was crucial to attack the North on its own territory
• July 1-3, 1863 – BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG, Pa.
• Confed. bombardment; Union held firm
• on July 3, General Pickett led 15,000 Confed. Troops across open fields – Union mowed them down (= “Pickett’s     Charge”)
• Lee was defeated and retreated to Virginia
• Gettysburg is the largest battle in the history of the Western hemisphere.
• Over 100, 000 people died in 3 days àIt was the last time the South invaded the North.

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Gettysburg Address
“That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. “

Key Events
• July 4, 1863 – another Union victory – VICKSBURG
• won by U.S. Grant, cut South in 1/2 and gave the Union control of Mississippi River
• Grant was then given control of all Union armies à began a “scorched earth” policy to defeat the South
• General Sheridan decimated Va.’s Shenandoah Valley
• General Sherman given task of taking Atlanta; his “March through Georgia” saw total destruction from Atlanta to Savannah

Blacks in the Military
• After the Emancipation Proclamation blacks began to join the Union Army
• Initially they were only used for manual labor
• Eventually, Blacks saw live combat
• 54th regiment out of Massachusetts

South Surrender
• April 3, 1865 – Grant took Richmond Va. – final blow to Lee’s army
• Lee surrenders on April 9, 1865 at APPOMATTOX COURTHOUSE
• All Confed. troops forced to take an oath of loyalty to U.S.
• Otherwise, terms of surrender were lenient
• Lincoln didn’t want a humiliated South and further conflict
• Issue of states’ rights now “solved”- fed. government had asserted its status

Post War Economic Developments
• Without Southerners in federal government many changes occurred that benefited the North:
• Homestead Act passed by Congress in 1862 – encouraged W. expansion w/o slavery
165 acres given to anyone who would farm it 5 yrs.
• Union-Pacific Railway was authorized – great trade potential, focused on the Northern States.
• Tariffs were put in place to protect Northern industry
• Congress established a single federal currency – same value in all states – known as “Greenbacks”
• To cover war debts, Union gov’t issued war bonds and intro’d income tax
• A further illustration of fed. government power, Lincoln’s gov’t restricted civil liberties so nothing would detract from  Union war effort (suspended Habeas Corpus)
• Free press/ speech also interrupted
• 1864 Election – only in Union
• Pitted Republican Lincoln against Democrat General McClellan à Lincoln won easily, assuring that war will continue (N. Democrats wanted an end

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Effects of Civil War
• creation of a single unified country
• abolition of slavery
• increased power to fed. gov’t – killed the issue of states rights
• U.S. now an industrial nation
• stronger sense of nationalism
• All US lands increasingly opened to settlement
• South was economically and physically devastated, w/ the plantation system crippled…thus Reconstruction (rebuilding the U.S.) – but a deep hatred of the North remained..

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