The Civil War Was Fought To Resolve Some Basic Issues That Had Divided The Country Since Its Founding. What Were They? How Well Did The Civil War And Reconstruction Period Resolve Them?
American Civil War, which took place between 1861 and 1865, was one of the bloodiest wars in the history of America, in which over 650,000 people lost their lives (Martin 15-16). The Civil War resolved some fundamental issues that led to the war such as slavery and states’ rights. However, other problems like hostile attitudes between Northerners and Southerners remained unaffected by the bloodshed and violence (Martin 65-100). It is important to note that until the Civil War, slavery had thrived in the United States for over 250 years. Most of the population of American South states were slaves. Slaves provided cheap labor for the production of cotton, tobacco and rice. This generated billions of dollars of revenue not only for slaveholders, but also for the world economy. In fact, when the war started, there was an excess of four million African American slaves in the U.S. (Martin 65-100).
The end of the Civil War and the subsequent Reconstruction Era saw the prohibition of slavery in America. This was done by passing the 13th Amendment of the Constitution in 1865, which banned involuntary servitude and slavery within American boundaries (Martin 65-100). However, it is vital to mention that even when slavery was banned, African Americans still faced severe discrimination, especially from southern whites who despised them and did not accept them socially as equals. In addition, whites continued to suppress blacks and keep them close to bondage through passing of the Black Codes by the government of southern states in addition to the formation of white supremacist terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan (Martin 65-100). Though slavery did not end in America immediately, with time, it was eradicated and, therefore, I would say that the Civil War and the Reconstruction period did a fair job in putting an end to slavery in the United States.
Another issue that was resolved following the end of the Civil War was the conflict between states and the federal government over powers and rights. Southern states supported the rights of states because they wanted to maintain slavery. They felt they had a right to secede from the federal government following the abolition of slavery in order to be able to make their own laws. This was strongly opposed by the then President Lincoln. However, following the Civil War, the federal government pronounced itself superior to individual states, thus ending the debate on states’ rights completely (Martin 65-100).