Between 1861 to1865, the 11 confederate states of America known as ‘the Confederacy’ decided to secede from the federal government known as ‘the Union’ Which had 25 states rallying behind it. Abraham Lincoln had been duly elected as the American president in 1860, a win that was a bitter taste for the Confederates to swallow. These disagreements in secession attempts saw the plunging of the United States into one of the bloodiest wars in the annals of history: The Civil War.
Pressure builds up
South Carolina backed off from the Union leading to six Southern states following in similar declarations by February 1861.They formed ‘the Confederacy’ with Montgomery, Alabama as a temporary capital and adopted a provisional constitution. Conferences were convened to solve the impasse but all the efforts proved futile.
After the election of Abraham Lincoln in March 4, 1861, the president emphasized the binding nature of the Constitution as opposed to the Confederation’s articles at his inauguration. He pronounced any actions of secession as illegal and that force would be applied to protect what they considered as federal property (Draper, 1867-1870).The Confederacy sent a delegation to go and negotiate for the purchase of the federal properties. Lincoln shot down this move claiming that the Confederacy was not a sovereign government (Potter, 2008).The failure of these efforts lead to the attack on Fort Sumter and consequently its capitulation.
This prompted Lincoln to marshal volunteers for a reprisal attack. These plans to engage in combat lead to an alliance of four more states (Tennessee, North Carolina, Arkansas and Virginia) with the Confederacy. The battle continued with the Union embracing the ‘Anaconda Plan’ as proposed by the U.S. commander general, Winfield Scott. The plan aimed to cripple the economy of the Confederates by blockading the key ports and later on capturing the Mississippi River (Peskin, 2003).This blockading tact lead to the Battle of Iron clads which involved a war of ships between the Union and the Confederacy. Military supremacy in ship battles lead to the defeat of the CSS Virginia belonging to the Confederates by the USS Monitor of the Union. (McPherson, 2003).
Battle of the Titans-Eastern and Western Blocs
Later in the Battle of Bull Run, the Union troops were stopped by the Confederate troops ending the battle. A fear that permeated the Union lead to the passing of the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution by the U.S. congress on July 25, 1861, which reassured the slave states that the war aimed to protect the Union rather than to halt slavery (Navarro,2008). More battles like the Battle of Seven Pines were fought resulting into the embarrassing defeat of the Union troops.
The defeat of the Union military was not longstanding as they mounted a force that thrashed the emboldened Southern commanding General Lee at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862(McPherson,2003 pp.538-544).This marked a bloody battle that would be indelibly a mark in the annals of American military history. On December 13, 1862, the Battle of Fredericksburg ended with the defeat of the Northern military by the famed Southern commanding General Lee at the helm of the Southern troops. Another battle, the Battle of Chancellorwise humiliated the Northern military might leading to a reshuffle in the rank of commanding General (McPherson,2003 pp.639-641).However, on July1 to July 3, 1862; General Lee suffered defeat at the bloodiest battle of all: The Battle of Gettysburg. This battle ceased the scramble for the Eastern bloc of the U.S. resulting into a shift of gears to the Western bloc.
This contention between the Union and the Confederates was hopeless and seemed never-ending as more battles were initiated in the Western bloc. The battle of Pea Ridge saw the Confederates being driven away from Missouri State; the Battle of Perryville was a victory of the Northerners against the Confederates who wanted to reclaim Kentucky State; the Battle of Chikamunga though, proved to be a victory of the Confederates. Two battles in the Western bloc category guaranteed the control of the Mississippi River by the Union and the last battle in this bloc, the Battle of Chattanooga, pushed the Confederates outside of Tennessee easening entry into the hub of the Confederates: Atlanta.
The conquest of Virginia led to the raising of a white flag on April 9, 1865 by the Confederates since some of General Lee’s troops had abandoned the army while others died. This marked the cessation of the Civil War which left an indelible mark in the memory of the United States of America.
Economic-One of the primary reasons for the Civil War was slavery. A key driver of the Southern economy, slavery seemed to be a practice that they could not compromise. Slaves brought both direct and indirect benefits to the Confederates who sold them and used them to provide agricultural labor. Abolitionists of the North were of a contrary opinion regarding slavery since they considered it barbaric. They aided slaves who managed to escape the Southern borders. Anti-slavery states allied themselves with the Union which was the federal government that also endorsed anti-slavery ideals. As a result, the Southern states dwindled in numbers which aroused panic since they would lack mileage in government representation.
Political-Furthermore, the issue of rights proved to be a bone of contention between the Union and the Confederates. The Union claimed de facto leadership by virtue of being the federal government. Therefore, the Confederates felt threatened in terms of the equilibrium of rights between the Northerners and the Southerners. In a bid to protect themselves against tax laws that were skewed, they resorted to secession from the North. Well, this move did not please the bearer of the leadership mantle: The Union. With President Abraham Lincoln as the sworn head of state, a move by the South to separate lead to a series of battles that would later be renowned as The Civil War that resulted into serious repercussions.
Like any war, loss of life is part and parcel of the aftermath effects. According to Nofi (1995), the number of victims of the Civil war is not known. However, he reports that general figures given for the Confederacy is between 75,000-92,000 while that of the Union is between 95,000-140,000.Deaths caused by disease is approximately 250,000(Union) and 59,000(Confederacy). Both the Northern and Southern blocs suffered an economic loss. According to the 1860 valuation, the physical and human capital is estimated to be way over $6.6 billion. As a result, inflation skyrocketed leading to a rise in the consumer price index.
In addition, liberty was a gift to the slaves as slavery was null and void. This led to an exodus of the black slaves to the west in states like California. Agrarianism was the foundation cornerstone for the South economy but was rivaled by the private sector as far as building the economy is concerned. The Northerners who emerged the victors of the Civil War relied on the private sector to expand the U.S. economy on the later part of the 19th century. The botched attempt by the Southerners to secede from the North in order to protect its agrarian economy led to a face out of the agrarian practice.