Election of 1860
Abraham Lincoln was selected as the Republican candidate to run for president in 1860. He disagreed with slavery and claimed that a government that is divided would not last. Stephen Douglas was the Democratic candidate, and wanted to use popular sovereignty to resolve the issue.
The Peculiar Institution
During the 17th and 18th centuries, slavery was introduced to America. An estimated 645,000 Africans were imported over a course of 250 years when slavery was legal. It had created controversy and debates, and eventually a divide in the nation.
Secession Events and Cause of the Civil War
After Lincoln had won the election, he and the Republicans vowed not to disturb slavery where it had already existed. However, many people in the South did not find reliance in the party. It was on December 20, 1860, about six weeks after the election, that South Carolina held a convention in Charleston’s Succession Hall and voted to secede.
President Stephen Douglas took into account that Southerners did not want Kansas and Nebraska to become free states. They did not want any more free states due to the fact that it would give the North more members in Senate. He thought that if he let the people in Kansas and Nebraska decide what they wanted using the power of popular sovereignty. However, many Northerners disliked this idea and protested.
With the establishment of the Kansas- Nebraska Act, people from the North and South had flooded into Kansas so they could overturn the quantity of votes. There was more violence throughout slavery. In the fall of 1855, John Brown and his sons had attacked and killed five proslavery settlers.
Dred Scott Decision
Dred Scott was an enslaved African American that went with his owner to Wisconsin, a free state. When his master died, Scott tried to sue for his freedom. Scott had said that he should be free because of the fact that he had once lived on free soil. He went to court only to be denied his freedom by Chief Justice Taney. This had proved that the Constitution protected slavery. which angered many Northerners.
Robert E. Lee
January 19, 1807 - October 12, 1870
An outstanding general and genius strategist, Robert Edward Lee was the heroic leading Confederate general during the American Civil War. He had been born on January 19th, 1807, in Stratford Virginia. Lee was born to a prominent Virginia family, his father serving as governer to the state in which he was born, and even having fought under generals George Washington and Nathaniel Green in the American Revolution.
In 1828, Robert Lee graduated from West Point Military Academy at the top of his class, and had been one of six cadets to have graduated without a single demerit. Lee had even wrapped up his studies with perfect scores in artillery, infantry, and cavalry. He had been known for his attention to detail, and in the early part of his career he had served as a military engineer, his duties varying from budgeting to constructing designs for buildings. During the war with Mexico, Lee proved himself as a daring soldier and brilliant tactician. He was showered with praise from his superior, General Winfield Scott, and was held up as a hero.
When the Civil War had broken out, Robert E. Lee had been torn on the decision of which side to fight for. President Lincoln had asked him to take command of the Union forces, but Lee did not believe in slavery or secession. He was also against the war altogether. It was when Virginia seceded that Lee had made his choice. His loyalty to his home state caused him to be the South's most brilliant strategist.
"It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow too fond of it."
During the Civil War, women in both the North and South became teachers and office workers, and they even managed farms. They had also did much to help the soldiers and the armies, like rolling bandages, weaving blankets, and making ammunition. Women had also raised the funds needed for supplies, and collected food, clothing, and medicine for the troops.
Despite disapproval from doctors who did not want them to witness the horrors of battle, thousands of women served as nurses during the war. Some women acted as spies, gathering information from the enemy to pass on to their side. Harriet Tubman had been a spy for the North. Other women had disguised themselves as men and became soldiers. One of those women was Loretta Janeta Valazquez, who had reportedly fought for the South at the First Battle of Bull Run and at Shiloh.
The life a Civil War soldier was not a walk in the park. Letters to their families and friends revealed what they saw and how they felt, which almost always either boredom, discomfort, sickness, fear, as well as horror. Most of the time, they lived in camps, which were fairly awful to their health and well-being. Despite camps having had its pleasant moments of songs and stories, letters from home, and baseball games, a soldier's life was often dull, and a routine of drills, bad food, marches, and rain. The many horrors on the battle field caused many man to run away. About 1 of every 11 Union soldiers and 1 of every 8 Confederate soldiers deserted military life because of terror, starvation, or disease.
Arguably, Rebel soldiers had it worse than Yankees. They had suffered from a lack of food and supplies because of the Union's stategy to cut off some of their resources. At the beginning of the Civil War, men in both the North and the South had rushed to volunteer for the armies. Their enthusiasm for thrills on the battle field did not last.
Life During the Civil War
When the war had begun, more than 3.5 million enslaved people lived in the Confederacy, making up more than 30 percent of the region's whole population as well as the majority of its workforce. Because of the high possiblity of slave rebellion, white Southerners refused to use African Americans as soldiers, for the reason that they would then have weapons. Instead, enslaved workers labored on plantations and in vital iron, salt, and lead mines. Some also worked as nurses in military hospitals and cooks. However, near the end of the war, the Confederate military got desperate, and the Confederate Congress passed a law in 1856 to enlist enslaved people.
As for the North, at the dawn of war African Americans were not permitted to serve as soldiers, which had disappointed many free African Americans who had volunteered to fight. Although being apart of the army was not a possibility, being apart of the navy was. African Americans who had escaped from slavery helped as guides and spies because of their knowledge of the South.