The Civil War
Us Info | 2012-10-12 16:11
This war ranks higher than that of #3 because #3 left one question unanswered after the drafting of the Constitution: if all men are created equal, why are blacks bought and sold, families of them broken up, and in other ways inhumanely treated for the purpose of using them like farm animals? Why aren’t blacks allowed to vote? Are they, at long last, men?
In order to circumvent this last question, most white citizens, especially in the South, actually argued that black people were not humans, but slightly subhuman. They weren’t even counted in censuses until 1787, and even then, only 3/5 of all blacks would be counted in a given area. The causes of the Civil War, or more properly, the War over States’ Rights, include much more than slavery, but the sustenance or abolition of slavery was the result everyone watched for, and what all the politicians fought for. At no other time in American history was the nation more polarized over any issue. In hindsight, fighting over it was the only resolution. No compromise could avail itself forever.
Many war experts consider it the first modern war, not because of the Gatling gun, but because of musket rifling and the Minie ball. As said in #10, 600,000 Americans died. This was horror on a scale no American ever saw before or since. Most of the common soldiers enlisted and fought for the money and three square meals a day. This was a job, and the promise of adventure, for the price of possible death or injury. By the time it was over, Richmond had been bombed into a moonscape, General Sherman had burned Atlanta to the ground, and the President was killed.
But with the unconditional surrender of the South, the Union was able to welcome back all seceded states, per Lincoln’s wishes, and permanently outlaw slavery of any kind. The Constitution was amended to this effect, Blacks were given the right to vote and hold office, and a nation much more similar to that of the present finally existed in the Western Hemisphere.
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