A war between citizens of the same nation
Secession Events & Causes of Civil War
The Kansas - Nebraska Act
The Kansas - Nebraska Act of 1854 not only
allowed the establishment of Kansas and Nebraska as two separate territories, but was the product of a dispute over another issue of slavery. After much contemplation, Stephen A. Douglas initiated a plan to find a solution to the situation at hand by first suggesting to abandon the Missouri Compromise and replace it with popular sovereignty. This angered the Northerners, but gained much support from the south. Thus, Congress passed the bill to repeal the Missouri Compromise, replacing it with the Kansas - Nebraska Act of 1854. Regardless, the bill still resulted in deep divisions within the House.
The Peculiar Institution refers to the African
American slavery spreading around the world, namely in the United States. During the time that this practice was legal (250 years), approximately 645,000 African Americans were imported. The controversy associated with slavery divided the nation and began to split the country into two groups; north and south; free and slave.
The secession was the act of a withdrawal from the Union and this act was started by South Carolina on December 20, 1860. Even after this act many still hoped to preserve the Union. Even though some states wanted to preserve the Union by February 1861, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida had joined South Carolina in the secession. Delegates from each state met together and decided to call themselves the Confederates while making Jefferson, a senator from Mississippi, their president. Many Southerners believed that they were justifying the acts of secession by the theory of states’ rights.
Once news of the Kansas-Nebraska Act
had spread to the proslavery and antislavery groups, supporters from each began to journey into Kansas in hopes of increasing their side’s chances to win in the upcoming election. During this process, the two groups were doing everything they can to win the election, and eventually, things had gotten out of hand. In one episodes, abolitionist John Brown killed five proslavery settlers in defense of his belief, resulting in his own death.
The election of 1860 sparked much controversy and had a key role in initiating the Civil War. The presidential candidates were Stephen Douglas for the Northern Democrats, John Breckinridge for the Southern Democrats, and Abraham Lincoln for the Republicans. The republican’s platform was that slavery should remain where it currently existed, but be excluded from the territories. Lincoln won the election with 180 out of 303 electoral votes, and 40% of the popular vote, though he was not on the Southern ballot. His win enraged the South and divide the country even more.
General Pope’s troops, along with McClellan’s, were the first to engage in battle with Stonewall Jackson’s troops at Manassas, the same ground in which the First Battle of Bull Run was fought. However, instead of leading the Union into success like Lincoln had hoped, Pope proved to be an equally unable general as McClellan, whom he had replaced. Due to this, the Jackson was able to lead the Confederates into victory.
The first attempt at capturing Richmond under the control of General George B. McClellan failed miserably due to McClellan’s inability to follow Lincoln’s orders. So, another call for volunteers was made, and the Union tried a second time, hoping for success under Major General John Pope.
Second Battle of Bull Run
Compared to the First Battle of Bull Run, the Second Battle of Bull Run was much larger, as well as the number of casualties. For the Union, there was around 14,000 who were killed or wounded, and for the Confederates 8,000. The Second Battle of Bull Run was also Confederate triumph over Union forces. This left the city of Richmond in peace. The battle also helped the Confederates draw nearer to the Union’s capital, Washington, D.C.
The Battle of Chancellorsville started out as the Union’s attempt at outflanking the Confederate army. However, Lee effectively halted Hooker’s plan by dividing his army, leading the Union troops into defensive positions, which Lee fought back with another division of his army. This would lead Lee into his most successful victory yet, but the biggest loss of the Confederate army.
Major General Joe Hooker replaced General Burnside after Burnside resigned from his position. Being the third replacement in a row, Lincoln hoped for Hooker to be the right choice. So, Hooker planned to outflank the Confederate Army and avenge the Union’s losses. Lee, on the other hand, was on a spree of wins, determined to bring home another one.
Battle of Chancellorsville
The Battle of Chancellorsville resulted in 14,000 Union casualties and 10,000 Confederate. Although the Confederates proved triumphant once again, they had lost one of their strongest assets, General Stonewall Jackson. This loss proved to have made the Confederacy weaker in future battles.
After Grant succeeded
in capturing the Confederate capital of Richmond, Lee decided that there was no longer any hope for the Confederacy. So, he and his troops traveled to a village in Virginia called Appomattox Court House to finally bring the long-awaited closure Lincoln had been hoping for. The terms that the Confederates were given by Grant were generally simple. They were required to draw back their arms in order to receive their permission to go home. In addition, they were allowed to keep their horses and were provided with a three-day supply of food for hungry troops. Soon after this history-changing event, North Carolina’s forces also surrendered.
Surrender at Appomattox & Terms of Surrender
Life during the Civil War did not only affect soldiers, but American families and civilians as well. It was not a rare occurrence to see brother vs. brother on the battlefield due to the divided sides of the once united nation.
During the Civil War, women were required to take new responsibilities in addition to their daily workload. They took on jobs as teachers, office workers, and even farmworkers. They also assisted in the making of supplies from woven blankets to ammunition needed for soldiers and armies. Woman also served as spies in order to obtain important information from the other side that might be used to their advantage. Two of these iconic spies are Harriet Tubman, who worked for the North, and Bell Boyd, who gathered information for the Confederacy. If they got caught, they were viable to face serious charges. Others worked as nurses who cared for soldiers wounded in battle, despite society’s stereotypes regarding females.
African Americans also experienced drastic changes in their way of life. In 1862, a law was passed that allowed the participation of African Americans in the Union army. However, they were categorized into regiments that were specifically only for African Americans, though their commanders were all white. They received lower pay than white soldiers, but their performance was not affected by this. In fact, 10 percent of the Union and 15 percent of the navy were made up of African Americans. One of the most famous African American regiments was the 54th Massachusetts, who served the Union devotedly and proved to be vital assets to the army.
Life During the Civil War