Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The History of the United States Part 4 (1849-1865)

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The History of the United States Part 4 (1849-1865)

The era of 1849 to 1865 represented some of the most important occurrences in American history. Social justice has always been enacted by courageous actions not by centrism or appealing to the center. This time period of American history is one of the most crucial phases of our history in general. This era defined our nation for future generations and expanded the federal government to protect the human rights of black people and other minorities. This epoch of time additionally had heroes who fought back against the tyranny of slavery too. Sojourner Truth spoke truth to power in desiring freedom for black people and women. Harriet Tubman freed any black people who experienced unjust, cruel bondage filled with chains plus torture. Frederick Douglass also spoke up to condemn the hypocrisies of America while believing in fighting for justice. The U.S. Civil War changed America forever. Families were split and battles were bloody and destructive. Black Union soldiers were key in causing a Union victory. The large resources of the Union ultimately defeated the Confederacy. The Confederate enemy promoted racism and slavery (as found in their own wicked state documents), but their evils didn’t prevail.

The Union won the American Civil War by 1865. President Abraham Lincoln evolved to be more progressive as time when on and he gave his eloquent Gettysburg Address in 1863 to advocate for a new birth of freedom for American society. On April of 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was unjustly assassinated by the murdering racist John Wilkes Booth (who was born in the Bel Air, Maryland and his parents were from Britain).  After Lincoln’s death, the era of Reconstruction would transpire. Black people were free from legalized slavery during Reconstruction, but it wouldn’t be until one whole century after the U.S. Civil War ended until Jim Crow apartheid would be obliterated. From the Gold Rush to the birth of new religions in America (like Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, etc.), American culture is fully characterized by dynamic happenings. That is why the flourishing of cultural diversity is the lifeblood of American existence. 1865 defined how we exist today with the expansion of the federal government to legitimately defend human rights and the beginning of a new era of American history. As time went onward, more human beings would fight for their inherit human rights heroically too.

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Further Developments

The time of 1849 to 1865 included some of the bloodiest times of American history. Slavery divided Americans. By the 1840’s, the Northeast had a powerful Industrial Revolution. Railroads, canals, textile mills, small industrial cities, and growing commercial centers existed as a network. Cities like Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia grew into new heights of influence and power. Pennsylvania and other places wanted a higher tariff. The tariff system was very low in 1857. Farming dominated the Midwest. Animal production existed there along with railroads and river systems. They or many Northern industries send food to slave plantations in the south. Industrial cities in the East and industrial cities in Britain plus Europe received imports from the Midwest. Cotton plantations flourished in the South with a very high price on cotton on the world market. Cotton production can wear out the land. So, cotton crops constantly moved west. With the annexation of Texas by 1845, cotton grew there too. In essence, many supporters of the Texas state in its existence wanted the spread of slavery. Virginia and North Carolina had tobacco. The Upper South had slavery in its final era. Slaves were sent in the cotton plantations of the Southwest like in Texas. Urbanization dominated the Northeast. In the Midwest, there were growing urban centers in places like Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Chicago. Slavery was used in America in order for some people to buy new lands and more slaves. Many conservatives have said that most Southern whites owned no slaves and operated farms on a subsistence basis, serving small local markets. Yet, most Southern whites benefited from slavery, most Southern whites (and most whites in America in general) back then believed in the lie that black people were inferior, and most of them did nothing to try to end slavery.

International trade and transportation spread capital among London, Paris, Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia. Longer railroad system could spread long distance supplies like farm and industrial products including passengers. There were few railroads in the South. Many railroad lines in the South moved cotton to the nearest river or ocean port. Steamboats were a powerful transportation system in inland rivers too. Eli Whitney popularized interchangeable parts and textile factors grew.  16% of Americans lived in cities with 2500 or more people. This was a third of the nation’s income came from manufacturing. Water was used as energy to power industries from rivers. Steam engines came into factors as well. By 1860, the railroads had made a transition from use of local wood supplies to coal for their locomotives. Pennsylvania became the center of the coal industry. America was a leader in cotton production and the development of: shoes, woolen clothing, and machinery. Many, if not most, of the factory workers and miners were recent immigrants from Europe, or their children. Throughout the North, and in southern cities, entrepreneurs were setting up factories, mines, mills, banks, stores, and other business operations. In the great majority of cases, these were relatively small, locally owned, and locally operated enterprises.

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New immigrants in the 1840’s and the 1850 have filled factory jobs. This old school era of immigration saw 4.2 million people sincerely coming into America for opportunity, and freedom. Some were Irish as many of them escaped the Great Famine from Ireland to go into America. Most settled in the coastal cities of Boston and New York City. Some were not welcome since most were poor and Roman Catholic. They lived in crowded neighborhoods, dilapidated housing, and some were in low wage plus physically demanding jobs. Many early Americans viewed the Roman Catholic Church as a symbol of European autocracy. I am not a Catholic and we have to have the freedom of religion along with a separation of church and state (so, no one of any religion is discriminated against while no religion can dominate a nation in a theocratic fashion). German immigrants came into America to avoid a looming financial disaster in their nation. German immigrants sold their possessions like the Irish. German immigrants were both Protestant and Catholic, so they didn’t experience the religious discrimination like the Irish did. Many German immigrants settled heavily in Midwest communities instead of the coast like in Cincinnati, Ohio, and St. Louis, Missouri. These locations have a high German population back then and today. German immigrants were mostly middle class, educated, and left for political reasons. Other immigrants like Italian people and Jewish people lived in ghettos or ethnic enclaves. There was the Five Points area in New York City. Many immigrants replaced women workers in places like Lowell, Massachusetts. Many industry bosses exploited immigrants to make them work cheap and experience bad working conditions.

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Debates about Slavery

More political upheavals came about during this era too. Debates existed about what to do about slavery west of the Mississippi river. After 1848, Texas, and new territories of Mexico were acquired after the Mexican-American war via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Missouri was admitted as a state. There was debate on whether the new territory in the Southwest would have slavery or not. Northern Congressmen wanted to limit slavery and Southern Congressmen wanted to expand it into new territories. Congressman David Wilmot promoted the Wilmot Proviso which banned slavery in the new territory won from Mexico. The proposal failed in Congress. It never became law. It was a rally cry from Southerners who cared more for slavery than human justice. Many Southerners back then used “state’s rights” as an excuse to condone oppression against black people. The truth is that human rights are superior to states’ rights. The Wilmot Proviso failed, so Senator Lewis Cass introduced the idea of popular sovereignty in Congress. Popular sovereignty means that the people decide in various lands on whether to have slavery or not. Cass believed that Congress had no power to deal with slavery explicitly, which is ludicrous. The Democrats were divided. Some Northern Democrats wanted people in states to decide on slavery and Southern Democrats wanted states to have slavery based on state constitutions. After Cass' defeat in 1848, Illinois Senator Douglas assumed a leading role in the party and became closely associated with popular sovereignty with his proposal of the Kansas–Nebraska Act.

The 1848 election was important. Democrats and Whigs were divided on what to do with the question of the expansion of slavery. The Free Soilers wanted slavery out of western territories. They supported the Wilmot Proviso. The candidate for the Free Soilers Party was Martin Van Buren of New York. The Whigs and the Democrats back then were cowards and supported the immoral, illogical principle of popular sovereignty (or that states decide whether to have slavery or not). Zachary Taylor was the President after the 1848 election. He was part of the Whig Party and he was a veteran of the Mexican-American war. Zachary Taylor was also a slave owner from Louisiana. He didn’t seek another term since his health was declining and he felt his objectives were gained. The Free Soil Party was a group of anti-slavery Democrats who supported Wilmot's Proviso. The creation of the Free Soil Party foreshadowed the collapse of the Second party system; the existing parties could not contain the debate over slavery for much longer. Slavery ended slowly in the North. By 1800, about 50,000 black people were enslaved in the North. About 1,000,000 people were enslaved in the South. In 1860, there were 18 slaves in New Jersey and none other in other Northern states.

The question of slavery became all the more urgent with the discovery of gold in California in 1848. The next year, there was a massive influx of prospectors and miners looking to strike it rich. Most migrants to California (so-called 'Forty-Niners') abandoned their jobs, homes, and families looking for gold. It also attracted some of the first Chinese Americans to the West Coast of the United States. Most Forty-Niners never found gold but instead settled in the urban center of San Francisco or in the new municipality of Sacramento. California applied for statehood in 1850. The rush was on to see whether it would recognize slavery or not. This could change the balance of power in Congress.  The imminent admission of Oregon, New Mexico, and Utah also threatened to upset the balance. Many Southerners also realized that the climate of those territories did not lend themselves to the extension of slavery. Debate raged in Congress until a resolution was found in 1850.

The Compromise of 1850 was proposed by "The Great Compromiser," Henry Clay and was passed by Senator Stephen A. Douglas. Through the compromise, California was admitted as a free state, Texas was financially compensated for the loss of its Western territories, the slave trade (not slavery) was abolished in the District of Columbia, the Fugitive Slave Law was passed as a concession to the South, and, most importantly, the New Mexico Territory (including modern day Arizona and the Utah Territory) would determine its status (either free or slave) by popular vote. The Compromise of 1850 attempted to disfuse the divisive issue, but the compromise did nothing to immediately free millions of our black Brothers and black Sisters in bondage. This Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act (that punished escaped slaves viciously) continued the oppression against black people and it was a cruel, despicable measure.

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The North vs. the South

Slavery was debated worldwide not just in America back then. One provision of the 1850 Compromise forced northerners to catch and return slaves on sight. This angered abolitionists and northerners in general since they didn't want to be forced to support the evil system of slavery. Some Northerners passed personal liberty laws. These laws nullified the Fugitive Slave Act and made the Northern states to arrest slave catchers for kidnapping. Abolitionists were influenced by the European Enlightenment, the Second Great Awakening, heroic anti-slavery revolts, black people, etc. William Lloyd Garrison wanted outright revolution in government to end slavery. Black Americans hated the Fugitive Slave Act and fought it. Many black people (both enslaved and free) were kidnapped and sent into slavery. Many viewed slavery as an affront to God and/or reason. Some abolitionists were supporters of the temperance movement too. The temperance movement was about fighting alcoholism and it was very much anti-alcoholic drinking.

There were countless stories of heroic resistance to slavery. In 1851, a group of African American free human beings were at a farmhouse in Christiana, Pennsylvania. They were heavily armed and they were there to protect many escaped slaves from a Maryland slave owner. The slave-owner brought a federal official to try to kidnap them. A scuffle existed and the slave owner was killed. White bystanders refused to help the slave hunting party. More than 30 people were tried for conspiracy, but no one was tried for the murder of the slaveowner. No one was found guilty. in Vermont and New Hampton (plus in NYC, in Oberlin in Ohio, and in Baltimore), African Americans and white bystanders opposed officials trying to kidnap escaped slaves. The Underground Railroad existed too. This was a network of pathways where both black and white abolitionists helped escaped slaves to go into the North or Canada. Boats, secret homes, and other locations were used along the routes of the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman was one leader of the Underground Railroad too. She freed herself in 1849 and freed hundreds of black people from bondage. Her nickname was "Black Moses."

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During 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s published Uncle Tom’s Cabin which galvanized the abolitionist movement greatly. The book criticized slavery as evil and unjust. Ironically, the positive character in the book was a black man whose name was Uncle Tom who fought for his freedom. 300,000 copies of the book was sold in one year after it was released. It was popular in the North and angered people in the South. Some debated slavery on constitutional and morality grounds. Black abolitionist Martin Delaney wrote an antislavery novel called Blake. It was about an African American who rebels against injustice. The character Blake was a black man who killed a slave owner and escaped. Southern racists wrote books defending their way of life and slavery. Free Soilers didn’t have a moral objection to slavery based on racial equality. They wanted slavery gone to maintain white dominated society without it. Slavery was anti-democratic by definition, so the South had an economic oligarchy dominating the majority of the land, property, and capital in the South (to the detriment of both black people and poor whites). Racists exploited the Nat Turner uprising of 1831 to promote more strict pro-slavery laws in Virginia and throughout the South. John Calhoun and others were so racist that they called black people savages and denied their human dignity. According to the 1860 U.S. census, fewer than 385,000 individuals (i.e. 1.4% of whites in the country, or 4.8% of southern whites) owned one or more slaves. 95% of black Americans lived in the South, comprising one-third of the population there as opposed to 1% of the population of the North. In the West Coast, new states were forming. President Millard Fillmore sent Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan to establish Japan trade agreements in 1853. A railroad to the Pacific was planned. Senator Stephen A. Douglas wanted a transcontinental railway to go throughout Chicago. Southerners protested and wanted it to go through Texas, Southern California, and end in New Orleans.

Stephen Douglas decided to compromise and introduced the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854. In exchange for having the railway run through Chicago, he proposed 'organizing' (open for white settlement) the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. Douglas anticipated Southern opposition to the act and added in a provision that stated that the status of the new territories would be subject to popular sovereignty. In theory, the new states could become slave states under this condition. Under Southern pressure, Douglas added a clause which explicitly repealed the Missouri Compromise. President Franklin Pierce supported the bill as did the South and a fraction of northern Democrats. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 (which came after the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850) allowed for popular sovereignty in Kansas and Nebraska to decide to have slavery or not.

The act split the Whigs. Northern Whigs generally opposed the Kansas–Nebraska Act while Southern Whigs supported it. Most Northern Whigs joined the new Republican Party. Some joined the Know-Nothing Party which refused to take a stance on slavery. The southern Whigs tried different political moves, but could not reverse the regional dominance of the Democratic Party. Kansas was opened to settlers. Settlers came into the land. Both pro and anti-slavery supported rushed to go into the new territory. Violence existed among both sides. Abolitionists from New England settled in Topeka, Lawrence, and Manhattan. Pro-slavery advocates settled in Leavenworth and Lecompton. Many of them came from Missouri. Missouri was a slave state. In 1855, elections were held for the territorial legislature. While there were only 1,500 legal voters, migrants from Missouri swelled the population to over 6,000. The result was that a pro-slavery majority was elected to the legislature. Free-soilers were so outraged that they set up their own delegates in Topeka. A group of pro-slavery Missourians sacked Lawrence on May 21, 1856. The people who did this were the Border Ruffians. They destroyed homes, burned down the Free State Hotel, and destroyed the presses of the Kansas Free State newspaper.  Violence continued for two more years until the promulgation of the Lecompton Constitution. Leading abolitionist John Brown retaliated. He was from New York and moved his family new Lawrence, Kansas. Brown and his allied executed five pro slavery settlers near Pottawatomie Creek or 20 miles south of Lawrence. Attacks among both sides grew in 1856. President Franklin Pierce wanted Congress to pass Kansas as a slave state. Yet, the people of Congress refused. Kansas would be a free state by 1861.

The violence, known as "Bleeding Kansas," scandalized the Democratic administration and began a more heated sectional conflict. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gave a speech in the Senate entitled "The Crime Against Kansas." The speech was a scathing criticism of the South and the "peculiar institution." Sumner called the Border Ruffians racists in the following terms, "hirelings, picked from the drunken spew and vomit of an uneasy civilization in the form of men." As an example of rising sectional tensions, days after delivering the speech, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks approached Sumner during a recess of the Senate and caned him. Tensions among the North and the South would only increase.

The Whig Party had its last President of Millard Fillmore. He angered the South since he supported California to be a free state. Northerners left the Whig Party because of the Fugitive Slave Act and the popular sovereignty disgrace. The Whig Party soon ended in 1852 even with Winfield Scott, a military man, being a leader of it. The Know-Nothings was a xenophobic party that hated Latinos, Irish, Catholic, German, and other immigrants. They acted secretive. They were divided on the issue of slavery just like the Whigs. They also blamed immigration for the problems of America. The new Republican Party started in 1854-1856 in the North. It had very small support in the South. Most of its early members were former Whigs or Free Soil Democrats. The Republican Party was ideological, with a focus on stopping the spread of slavery, and modernizing the economy through tariffs, banks, railroads and free homestead land for farmers.  The Republicans wanted to contain slavery and expland free states so much that the South would ultimately give up slavery legislatively. That wouldn’t work since the South would never give up slavery except by use of force. Sometimes, force (like freeing slaves, fighting injustice, etc.) is necessary to eradicate evil.

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The 1856 election was divided. Republicans nominated the abolitionist John C. Fremont (a veteran of the Mexican American War) who helped to cause California to be an independent free state. The Democrats nominated James Buchanan from Pennsylvania. The Know-Nothings had former President Millard Fillmore. The Republicans didn't want slavery in western territories. They wanted Kansas to be a free. Buchanan was supported by many southerners and his running mate was John C. Breckenridge. James Buchanan won the 1856 race and Republican Fremont won one third of the popular vote with 11 northern states. In 1857, the Dred Scott decision had the Supreme Court (with the leader of Roger Taney) to deprive Dred Scott of his human rights. It was a disgraceful decision.  Some Northerners wanted the judges to be impeached. Frederick Douglass predicted that the evil decision would cause the end of slavery itself in America. Later, Dred Scott would be totally free before his passing. Frederick Douglass said the following words in 1857:

"...The Supreme Court... [is] not the only power in the world. We, the abolitionists and colored people, should meet this decision, unlooked for and monstrous as it appears, in a cheerful spirit. This very attempt to blot out forever the hopes of an enslaved people may be one necessary link in the chain of events preparatory to the complete overthrow of the whole slave system."

The famous 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates were about many issues. They debated on race, popular sovereignty, the Constitution and on other issues. Abraham Lincoln started his political career when he was 25. He was raised in rural poverty. He was a Whig state legislator in Illinois. He morally opposed to slavery, but he was known for taking a middle course in dealing with slavery. Stephen A. Douglas competed against Lincoln for the Senate seat in Illinois. Lincoln didn't want the expansion of slavery in other territories, but Douglas did. Lincoln was tall being 6 feet four while Douglas was short. Also, Douglas supported the Texas annexation. Lincoln spoke about right and wrong and criticized the Dred Scott decision as completely wrong. In those debates, both men publicly said that they didn't believe in social and political equality with African Americans. Both men are wrong on that issue. Lincoln did say that black people are entitled to the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The debates occurred for weeks. Douglas won the Senate election by a slim margin, but Lincoln's popularity soared. Abraham Lincoln would begin his long journey to President from that time onward.

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"Nothing so charms the American people as personal bravery. Witness the case of Cinques, of everlasting memory, on board the 'Amistad.'"

-John Brown in 1850


John Brown wanted radical action to end slavery. He believed that he was sent by God on a mission to end slavery too. By 1857, he traveled into New England, the Midwest, and Canada to get supporters to form a rebellion against slavery. His plan was a raid at Harpers Ferry in Virginia (now West Virginia). He had 21 men with him including 5 free African Americans. He wanted to free local slaves to cause a revolution and then end slavery in the South. Harpers Ferry had canals and trains. Brown used this plan to escape as well after the actions occurred. The place was near the free state of Pennsylvania and Maryland (where many free black people lived at). Few Americans back then wanted the Harpers Ferry raid to take place including his friend Frederick Douglass. A few white and black abolitionists sent Brown money for guns, but the Ferry raid on late 1859 didn't succeed. Local people surrounded John Brown and his allies in the arsenal. Federal officials arrested Brown and other men. Two of Brown's sons were killed. Many other allies of Brown fled into Canada. Brown and others soon experienced martyrdom by the gallows.

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John Anthony Copeland Jr. was one hero involved in the raid. He was born free in Raleigh, North Carolina. He attended Oberlin College. Oberlin College was a well known educational facility that promoted educational excellence and racial justice. Copeland was a strong abolitionist. He wrote a passionate letter to his parents in late November 1859 as he faced death. He never feared death, but wrote about his faithfulness in the cause of liberation and his honor to Almighty God. His letter has the following words:

"...Dear Parents,

My fate so far as man can seal it, is sealed, but let not this fact occasion you any misery; for remember the cause in which I was engaged; remember it was a holy cause, on in which men in every way better than I am, have suffered & died. Remember that if I must die, I die in trying to liberate a few of my poor & oppressed people from a condition of servitude against which God in hisword has hurled his most bitter denunciations...Good-by Mother & Father, Goodbye brothers & sisters, & by the assistance of God, meet me in heaven. I remain your most affectionate son,

-John A. Copeland..."

Copeland's father was John A. Copeland Sr. and his mother was Delilah Copeland. It takes a lot of courage for men plus women to sacrifice his life for freedom and John Brown deserves credit for his heroism. Other African Americans who joined John Brown (with 16 white men) in the raid were Lewis S. Leary (1836-1859) or Copeland's uncle,  Sheilds Green (1836-1859), Osborn P. Anderson (1830-1872), and Dangerfield Newby (1820?-1859). Southerners hated John Brown. Some Northerners supported him and others didn't. John Brown made an accurate prophecy that, "the crimes of (of slavery) of this guilty land will never be purged away...without very much bloodshed."

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The Election of 1860

The Election of 1860 was one of the most important elections in history. It involved the aftermath of the John Brown raid and slavery. The North and the South disagreed heavily on many issues. By the spring of 1860, Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis convinced Congress to adopt resolutions to restrict federal control over slavery in the territories. Many people opposed this action. The Democratic convention in South Carolina resulted in a split. Southern Democrats wanted protection of slavery and northern Democrats wanted popular sovereignty. Douglas forces won and the delegates from eight southern states left and formed their own separate convention. Northern Democrats choose Stephen Douglas while Southern Democrats chose John Breckenridge from Kentucky. Breckenridge wanted slavery to expand in territories. The Whigs worked with the Know-Nothings to form the Constitutional Union Party. They wanted to heal the split among North and South. John Bell was its party candidate from Tennessee. Bell wanted to support slavery and defend the Union. The Republicans gained strength. Its convention was held in Chicago. It nominated Abraham Lincoln as its candidate. William H. Seward of New York was almost a winner and he was more antislavery than Lincoln. Lincoln was a moderate. Therefore, the 1860 Presidential election had four major candidates of: Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John Bell, and John Breckenridge. Abraham Lincoln used his leadership skills, oratory ability, and political power to win the 1860 Election (on November 6, 1860). Abraham Lincoln had 40 percent of the popular vote and 60 percent of the electoral college. Most southern states didn't have Lincoln's name on their ballots. Breckenridge won most Southern states including Maryland and Delaware. The border states of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee voted for Bell with their economic interests tied to slavery and cotton. Stephen A. Douglas won only Missouri.

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The picture above shows the actual first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln in March 4, 1861. 

The election of 1860 caused a division that ultimately led into the Civil War. The gap between North and South widen. Southerners were outraged that Lincoln won. As soon as Lincoln won the election, South Carolina started to secede soon afterwards. On December 20, 1860 in Charleston, South Carolina, the convention allowed South Carolina to secede. Other states of the Deep South seceded too. Georgia left the Union. In February of 1861, seven seceding states formed the Confederate States of America. It made their Constitution and promoted slavery. Many southerners didn't support the Confederacy and wanted a reconciliation. It was too late. The Former Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis was its President. John Crittenden wanted his compromise in Congress. He was a Senator from Kentucky. He wanted western territories south of the Missouri Compromise to have slavery and federal funds to reimburse slave owners (many escaped slaves left the plantations of the South courageously). Lincoln and Congress opposed this disgraceful proposal. President Buchanan left office and told Congress that he couldn't stop secession. Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated at March 4, 1861. He said that no state can lawful secede from the Union and he wanted a unified nation. Southern states in the Confederacy soon illegally seized federal forts and arsenals in their borders. Only four forts remained in the Union. One of these was Fort Sumter in South Carolina in Charleston. By January 1861, Buchanan sent Union troops to get the fort, but Confederate guns fired on it. Lincoln when he took office didn't want Fort Sumter to surrender to the South.

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The Civil War

The American Civil War was the bloodiest war on U.S. soil. It changed the world forever with the ending of legalized slavery and the growth of the federal government in many positive, strong ways. It started in 1861. On April 12, 1861, after President Abraham Lincoln refused to give up Fort Sumter, the federal base in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. The new Confederate government under President Jefferson Davis ordered General P.G.T. Beauregard to open fire on Fort Sumter. It fell two days later without casualties. It spread the flames of war across America. Then, rallies were held in every town and city in the north and in the south. They demanded war. Lincoln called for troops to retake lost federal property which meant an invasion of the South. Abraham Lincoln called this attack an insurrection and called on 75,000 volunteers to fight the Confederacy. In response, four more states seceded: Virginia (April 17, 1861), Arkansas (May 6, 1861), Tennessee (May 7, 1861), and North Carolina (May 20, 1861). The four remaining slave states of Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, and Kentucky didn’t secede under heavy pressure from the Federal government. Kentucky tried to secede, but failed and remained in the Union. Each side had its strengths and weaknesses. The North had a larger population and a far larger industrial base plus transportation system than the South. The South experienced a defensive war and an offensive war was part of the North. The South had its huge geography, an warm climate, etc. to try to prevent an invasion. The North had to conquer and occupy the whole Confederate States of America to cause a Union victory.

The South wanted to keep the North at bay until the Northern public lost the will to fight. The Confederacy adopted a military strategy designed to hold their territory together, gain worldwide recognition, and inflict so much punishment on invaders that the North would grow weary of the war and negotiate a peace treaty that would recognize the independence of the CSA. The only point of seizing Washington, or invading the North (besides plunder) was to shock the Union (in their minds) into realizing they could not win. The Confederacy moved its capital from a safe location in Montgomery, Alabama, to the more cosmopolitan city of Richmond, Virginia, only 100 miles from the Union capital in Washington, D.C. Richmond was heavily exposed. It was the end of a long supply line. Much of the Confederacy’s power was defensive. The North had much greater potential advantages, but it would take them a year or two to mobilize them for warfare. The North had a huge advantage with population being made up of 22 million people. The Union had mines, factories, and other resources in the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West. The Union had a navy with 250 warships. Virginia's Robert E. Lee was a famous Confederate General. He opposed secession at first, but refused to command Union forces since he lived in Virginia.  Everyone back then expected a short war at first. 

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Early Union Struggles

The War in the East started up. The Union assembled an army of 35,000 men. This was the largest seen in North America up to that point. They were commanded by General Irvin McDowell. These untrained soldiers set out from Washington, D.C. with the idea that they would capture Richmond in six weeks and put a quick end to the conflict. The Civil War started slowly. The Battle of Bull Run (or the Battle of Mananas in the South) took place on July 21, 1861. This was when General Scott sent General Irvin McDowell with more than 30,000 Union troops to fight the Confederacy outside of Washington, D.C. The Confederacy under the leadership of Stonewall Jackson defeated the Union forces. McDowell’s army was completely routed out and they fled back to the nation’s capital. The end of this battle caused many Americans to see that the Civil War would last for an extensive period of time. Major General George McClellan of the Union was put in command of the Potomac following the battle on July 26, 1862. He began to reconstruct the shattered army and turn it into a real fighting force, as it became clear that there would be no quick, six-week resolution of the conflict. General Ulysses S. Grant came into the Mississippi Valley area to fulfill the Anaconda Plan. By February 1862, General Grant directed the attack. He captured 2 Confederate strongholds at Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. He drove Confederates form western Kentucky and much of Tennessee. This boosted Union morale. Yet, by April 1862, Grant fought a terrible battle in southwest Tennessee.

In just 2 days of fighting, almost 25,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded. The Battle of Shiloh shocked both North and South. Days later, Union forces captured the city of New Orleans. This was when Union ships under the command of David Farragut sailed into the Gulf of Mexico. They seized the southern port of New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi River. This was a strategic victory for the Union. Farragut traveled north to try to captured Vicksburg, but he was stopped by Confederate forces more than 50 miles from Vicksburg. On March 9, 1862, there was the historic sea battle of the Monitor vs. Virginia. These iron clad ships met in battle and neither ship won the battle. The Southwest had Civil War battles too for gold and other resources. Many Confederates wanted California. By 1862, battles happened in Arizona and New Mexico. The Confederacy was defeated in late March of 1862 at Glorieta Pass (in New Mexico) by the Union force under Major John Chivington and Lt. Col. Manuel Chavez. The Union worked with a Mexican American militia in Texas to disrupt Confederate supply lines. Both sides had Native American allies.

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Despite pressure from the White House, McClellan did not move until March 1862, when the Peninsula Campaign began with the purpose of capturing the capitol of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia. It was initially successful, but in the final days of the campaign, McClellan faced strong opposition from Robert E. Lee, the new commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. The Confederacy wanted foreign support from Britain and France. They wanted both nations to give them support as they relied on cotton supplies. The Union supported the Anaconda Plan where by Union forces would drive southward along the Mississippi river. Union control of the Mississippi would divide the Confederacy in two thus weakening it. This plan was created by General Winfield Scott, who was a Union commander. From June 25 to July 1, 1862, in a series of battles known as the Seven Days Battles, Lee forced the Army of the Potomac to retreat. McClellan was recalled to Washington and a new army assembled under the command of John Pope. On August 1862, Robert E. Lee fought the Second Battle of Bull Run (or Second Manassas) and defeated John Pope’s Army of Virginia. Pope was dismissed from his command and his army merged with McClellan’s.

The Confederates later invaded Maryland. Robert E. Lee wanted pro-Confederate supporters in Maryland to join him, so an easy victory would come. Very few Marylanders joined him. Also, McClellan found Lee's battle plan in a rebel campsite inside cigars.  They wanted to get European recognition and end to the war. The two armies met at Antietam on September 17, 1862. It took place at Sharpsburg, Maryland. The Union's forces were at near Antietam Creek. It was the single bloodiest day in American history causing about 23,000 people among both sides to die. The Union victory allowed Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. That declared all slaves in states still in rebellion as of January 1, 1863 free. This didn’t end slavery, but it inspired more people to fight for the Union side of the war and prevented any possibility of European intervention. It increased African American troops involved in the U.S. Civil War too. Abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison were impatient with Lincoln's moderate policies. Great Britain was reluctant to aid the Confederacy since antislavery sentiment was strong in the UK. More Union soldiers recognized the necessity to end slavery as one major purpose of the war. Union General Benjamin Butler gathered hundreds of black escaped slaves and made them to do manual labor. General John Fremont declared all enslaved persons who came under his command in Missouri to be free. Lincoln's reversed Fremont's order for fear of retaliation by the border states.

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The Union victory of Antietam inspired President Abraham Lincoln to go forward with the Emancipation Proclamation. It inspired the world. Many northerners and black people expressed joy. William Lloyd Garrison wanted a full ending of slavery. Democrats gained in the fall congressional elections. The Union used an income tax at 3 percent of all income over $800 a year. It increased too. Raising tariff and industralization financed the war for the Union too. The Homestead Act and bonds helped many Americans. In 1863, conscription or a draft existed for the Union. White men from 25 to 45 might go onward to fight. Many people opposed this. A person could pay $300 for a replacement, so the draft didn't favor the poor. Many racists exploited the draft to harm black people in New York via the Draft Riot of July 1863. A mob of poor working class white racists destroyed war supplies and attacked African Americans. Similar race riots harmed black people in other northern cities too. Peace Democrats or Cooperheads opposed the war. Some promoted violence and others wanted to end the war. President Lincoln suspended the constitutional right of habeas corpus. He empowered the military to arrest people suspected of disloyalty to the Union.

Even though I hate the Confederacy (as the Confederacy was evil and wicked), you have to promote civil liberties. In the South, it had economic hardships because of the Union blockade of the Atlantic Ocean. Blockade runners were very small as the Union blockade was 80 percent successful. Union forces blocked Confederate trains in getting resources. As early as 1861, inflation grew in the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis' stubbornness increased divisions in the Confederacy on how to proceed forward. Soldiers on both sides played cards, marched, had drills, and fought. Each side had troops who risked death every day. On the battlefield, amputation was common. Sanitation was not up to par and illness spread. People suffered in prison camps too, especially African American soldiers. Many black Union soldiers were killed outright in Confederate prison camps. Many women served in the Union side of the Civil War as guides, spies, etc. Women in general were nurses, took over jobs, and cared for the sick and wounded like Clara Barton.

The Union didn’t militarily follow up its victory at Antietam. McClellan failed to pursue the Confederate Army. President Lincoln was tired of excuses and unwillingness of some generals to fight. McClellan was dismissed by Lincoln in October and replaced by Ambrose Burnside (who said that he was not ready for the job). He attempted to invade Richmond from the north (McClellan had tried from the east), but the campaign ended in disaster at Fredericksburg (on December of 1862) when Burnside ordered waves of futile attacks against an entrenched Confederate position. The Union had 120,000 troops and the forces of Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet had 80,000 troops. During the next year, was difficult for the Union at first. Burnside was replaced by General Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker in January 1863, but he proved unable to stop Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson at Chancellorsville in May of 1863. During the battle at Chancellorsville, Stonewall Jackson was accidentally killed by his own men. He died days later after he was shot.

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The Tide Turning and the Union Victory

Robert E. Lee felt that an invasion of the North would end the war, so he did it. Lee's second invasion of the North, however, proved disastrous. Hooker was replaced by Union General George Meade, and four days later the Battle of Gettysburg took place. On July 1, 1863, a battle started. Lee's men wanted to get shoe supplies in Gettysburg, PA. The Battle of Gettysburg lasted for three days. The first day of battle went to the Confederates. Then, the Union General Meade strengthened his forces. Meade formed a defense line to protect his troops. On July 2, 1863, Longstreet and Lee fought the Union forces, but they didn't prevail. The Union troops had a defense power on a hill top. Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain of Maine held firm against Confederate attacks. By early afternoon of July 3, 1863, Robert E. Lee executed an artillery barrage at the middle of the Union line. Union forces quickly defeated them again including the rebel George Pickett. The war was later over. It was the bloodiest battle on American society. The Battle of Gettysburg caused over 50,000 human beings to die. Lee soon ended his invasion of the North. The South would never fight the Union again on Union soil. By November of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln came to the battlefield of Gettysburg to honor the dead. He gave his historic Gettysburg Address which set out to promote a new birth of freedom whereby the government should not perish from the Earth. He said these historic, eloquent words:

"...Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth..."

Lee's army lost scores of men during the Battle of Gettysburg and would never be the same again. Abraham Lincoln was angered by George Meade's failure to pursue Lee after Gettysburg, but decided to let him stay in command, a decision endorsed by Ulysses S. Grant who was appointed General-in-Chief of all the Union armies early in 1864.  General Grant used the policy of total war in order to defeat the rebels. Total war revolves around destroying military forces, supplies, trains, buildings, etc. in order to achieve victory.

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During the early part of the Civil War, there was a stalemate between the Union and the Confederacy in the East. The Union army was much more successful in the West. Confederate insurrections in Missouri were put down by the federal government by 1863, despite the initial Confederate victory at Wilson's Creek near Springfield, Missouri. After the Battle of Perryville, the Confederates were also driven from Kentucky, resulting in a major Union victory. Lincoln once wrote of Kentucky, "I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game." The fall of Vicksburg gave the Union control of the Mississippi River and cut the Confederacy in two. The campaign for Vicksburg lasted from March to July 1863. Abraham Lincoln was right to say, "Vicksburg is the key!...The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket." Vicksburg had a high fortress which Grant knew. So, General Grant by the spring of 1863 used a plan. He would march his troops south of Vicksburg, but he would sent a cavalry attack on rail lines in central Mississippi to draw Confederate forces away from the city. On April 30, 1863, Grant sent 20,000 Union soldiers to capture the Mississippi capital of Jackson. Grant used a siege to defeat the Confederates by July 4, 1863. Port Hudson surrendered to the Union. Vicksburg surrendered. The Confederacy was finally split into two.

Sherman's successes in Chattanooga and then Atlanta left few Confederate forces to resist his destruction of Georgia and the Carolinas. The so-called Dakota War broke out in Minnesota in 1862. Many Native Americans supported the Union and others unfortunately supported the Confederacy. The end of the Confederacy started in 1864. In 1864, General Grant assigned himself as the direct commander of Meade and the Army of the Potomac. Grant placed General William Sherman as command of the Western Theater. Grant started to execute a total war against the Confederacy. He knew that the Union had strength in its resources and manpower. So, he started to wage a war of attrition against Lee while Sherman devastated the West. General William Tecumseh Sherman marched from the Tennessee, Georgia border to Savannah, Georgia with 60,000 troops in the march to the sea journey lasting 250 miles (Sherman's troops destroyed railroads, buildings, and private homes. It was from May to December 1864. Atlanta was burned to the ground). Grant had his Wilderness Campaign which forced Lee into Petersburg, Virginia. There was trench warfare at the Siege of Petersburg among both sides from June 1864 to March 1865. During this time, General Sherman seized Atlanta, which secured President Abraham Lincoln’s re-election of 1864. Sherman later started his famous March to the Sea which devastated Georgia and South Carolina.

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Atlanta was burned to the ground during the Civil War. 

Abraham Lincoln easily won the 1864 Presidential election. Lincoln celebrated. Military generals were winning victories in the Union side. Some Republicans though that he didn't go far enough in ending slavery. Some Democrats had many supporters and one leader was the former Union commander George McClellan. Many Union soldiers came home to vote. Lincoln won 212 out of 233 electoral votes. McClellan won 45 percent of the popular vote. President Lincoln wanted victory. General Grant led a siege at Petersburg in the summer of 1864. At early February of 1865, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens wanted peace with Lincoln. Yet, peace talks failed. By this time, Abraham Lincoln supported the Congressional proposal of the Thirteenth Amendment which ended slavery in the United States of America. The 13th Amendment would pass by December of 1865. Lee attempted to escape from Petersburg in March–April 1865, but was trapped by Grant's superior number of forces. Knowing that defeat was coming, Robert E. Lee retreated from Petersburg at April 2, 1865. Richmond was evacuated and set aflame. Lee wanted to join rebel forces in North Carolina, but supplies were low. He was trapped at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

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Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Court House on the date of April 9, 1865. Union forces were ordered not to gloat. In the Carolinas, Union Major General William T. Sherman started north from Savannah, Georgia, in late February 1865, planning to unite with U.S. Grant's armies near Petersburg, Virginia. Driving the Confederates from South Carolina through a series of flanking maneuvers, Sherman's forces reached North Carolina in early March. They divided into two parts commanded by Henry W. Slocum and Oliver O. Howard. The Confederate commander in the Carolinas was General P. G. T. Beauregard, but both Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee considered him unable to handle the situation. On February 22, 1865, they appointed General Joseph E. Johnston commander of all Confederate forces in North Carolina, which included the Army of Tennessee. He concentrated his available forces together near Smithfield, hoping to attack and defeat one part of Sherman's army before the other part arrived to its assistance. Johnston launched his attack in the Battle of Bentonville on March 19, hitting Slocum's wing but the Confederates were unable to gain a victory before Howard's wing arrived that evening. After waiting at Bentonville for an additional two days, Johnston retreated back to Smithfield. Sherman united with Schofield's force at Goldsboro on March 23; he then spent the next three weeks resting and refitting his command and repairing the railroad to Wilmington. During this time, Johnston remained near Smithfield and also rested and reorganized his force.  Johnston also communicated with Lee and agreed to unite the two forces in the hope of defeating either Sherman and Grant before the Union forces could combine. Sherman started advancing against Johnston on April 10, 1865 forcing the Confederates to evacuate Smithfield and retreat towards Greensboro. The Union army captured the North Carolina state capital of Raleigh on April 13, 1865. After he received news of Lee's surrender, Johnston surrendered both his army and the remaining Confederate forces in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida at the Bennett Place, North Carolina on April 26, 1865.

In the Western Theater, Union Major General James H. Wilson led his cavalry corps in a raid through Alabama and Georgia starting on March 22, 1865 destroying Confederate manufacturing plants. The Confederate commander in the region, Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest, had been forced to scatter his cavalry command across northern Mississippi and Alabama during the previous winter and had difficulty concentrating it against Wilson. During the evening of April 1, 1865, Forrest concentrated his forces in the defenses of Selma, Alabama. Union General Wilson attacked and defeated him in the Battle of Selma, then continued to the east towards Georgia. Around Mobile, Alabama (the last port still held by the Confederates), Major General Edward Canby started siege operations against the forts protecting the city on March 31, first capturing Spanish Fort on April 8 and Fort Blakely the following day. The Confederates evacuated the city of Mobile without a fight on April 11, 1865. The capture of Mobile freed additional Union troops to assist Wilson's cavalry to the north. Both this and word of the Confederate surrenders in Virginia and North Carolina convinced Richard Taylor, commander of the Confederate Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, to surrender to Canby at Citronelle, Alabama, on May 4, 1865. Forrest followed with the surrender of his cavalry command on May 9, 1865.

Due to slow communications, the Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Theater did not receive word of the Confederate surrenders in the east for several weeks. The last organized engagement of the war was fought at Palmito Ranch, Texas on May 13 and 14, 1865 and resulted in a Confederate victory. Confederate Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, surrendered his forces at Shreveport, Louisiana, on June 2, 1865, while Confederate forces in the Indian Territory surrendered on June 23, 1865. The Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah, which had been in the Pacific Ocean during the months of April and May, only received word of the end of the war on August 2 from a British ship. Fearing execution as pirates if it surrendered to Union forces, the ship instead sailed to Liverpool, United Kingdom, and surrendered to British authorities on November 6, 1865.

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So, Confederate forces still fought until June of 1865. The date of June 19, 1865 was the time of  African Americans from Texas celebrated the Union victory and then came end of the Civil War. It is called Juneteenth and it's a holiday celebrated to this very day nearly 150 years after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Four years of bloody warfare had come to a conclusion.

The Union had huge manpower, industry, and financing greater than the Confederacy. It took years for the Union to grow into its highest potential. The victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg on July 1863, was the beginning of the end of the Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln wanted the military victory. He was a strategist and diplomat. He supervised the supplies and finances of the war. He organized great generals too. He worked to gain popular opinion by working in state and local governments as well. He wanted a national mission to end the war. Lincoln also used his enemies to gain their political friendship. Lincoln’s cabinet was stronger and more efficient than Davis’s cabinet. He channeled personal rivalries into a competition for excellence instead of permanent political feuds. With William Seward at State, Salmon P. Chase at the Treasury, and (from 1862) Edwin Stanton at the War Department, Lincoln had a powerful cabinet of determined men; except for monitoring major appointments, Lincoln gave them full rein to destroy the Confederacy. Malaise led to sharp Democratic gains in the 1862 off-year elections, but the Republicans kept control of Congress and the key states.

Despite grumbling by Radical Republicans, who disliked Lincoln's leniency toward the South, Lincoln kept control of politics. The Republicans expanded with the addition of War Democrats and ran as the Union Party in 1864, blasting the Democrats as Copperheads and sympathizers with disunion. With the Democrats in disarray, Lincoln's ticket won in a landslide. One key policy maker in Congress during the Civil War was Thaddeus Stevens. He was the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He was a Republican floor leader and spokesman for the Radical Republicans. He viewed Lincoln was too moderate regarding slavery, but he worked well with President Lincoln and Treasury Secretary in handling major legislation. He caused the war effort to be successful for the Union and changed the nation’s economic policies on tariffs, bonds, income, excise taxes, national banks, greenback currency, suppression of money issued by state banks, and western railroad land grants. President Abraham Lincoln always believed in public investment in national infrastructure. Lincoln was definitely a progressive on economic issues.

The Confederacy ended with its own problems. Its territories decreased rapidly. People grew poor and impoverished. Some Southerners relied on the Confederate battle victories and later wanted the Union to have peace in desperation. The South experienced a blockade in the Atlantic Ocean losing their exports. Only very expensive blockade runners were getting in and out. By 1861, the Confederate lost battles in Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. Western Virginia had broken off. The Union gunboats soon dominated the rivers. The Union controlled the Mississippi, Missouri, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers from 1862-1863. New Orleans fell to the Union in 1862. The Southern railroads readily didn’t expand into massive distances. The Confederacy elected all white men in elections. Many governors in the South opposed Jefferson Davis as he was increasingly unpopular in Richmond. The South financially lost its export market and import market failed. By 1864, women rioted for food with soaring food prices. Imports were few. The slave population readily left the South to join the Union Army in about over 150,000 black people. When the end came, the South had a shattered economy, 300,000 dead, hundreds of thousands wounded, and millions impoverished. Yet, the great news is that three million former slaves were now free.

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The Tragic Passing of President Abraham Lincoln

By March of 1865, President Abraham Lincoln gave his second Inaugural Address where he wanted to have malice toward none and a unified nation. One of his famous words in that speech were the following:

"...One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations..."

Abraham Lincoln on April 11, 1865, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech where he said that he wanted to give some black people voting rights. Booth heard of this and was very angry and was even more motivated to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. The assassination of Lincoln was a conspiracy as many people were involved not just Booth. The conspiracy wanted to kill Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, Grant, and Secretary of State Seward. On April 14, 1865, four days after the news of Lee’s surrender reached Washington, D.C. the capital celebrated. During that evening, President Abraham Lincoln attended a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater. During the third act, a Confederate sympathizer named John Wilkes Booth shot and killed Abraham Lincoln.  As he fled the scene, he yelled "Sic semper tyrannis", the Virginia state motto. John Wilkes Booth was tracked, twelve days later, to a farm near Bowling Green, Virginia, on April 26, 1865. He was shot and killed by Union Army Sergeant Boston Corbett. His co-conspirators were tried before a military commission and were hanged on July 7. The U.S. Civil War would end by the Summer of 1865 (the last shot fired on June 22, 1865 after the proclamation of the end of the war came on May 9, 1865) and Reconstruction would start. Reconstruction would be one of the interesting events of the history of the United States of America. Now, one-third of this historic series of the history of America is now completed.

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Appendix A: African Americans during the Civil War

There is a long history of African Americans during the Civil War. Tons of black Americans heroically sacrificed to defeat the Confederate enemy. Many were Union soldiers. Some were Union spies and others gave great support to the African American Union heroes who battled against the evil pro-slavery Confederacy. In total, 186,097 black men joined the Union Army with 7,122 officers and 178,975 enlisted soldiers. About 20,000 black sailors served in the Union Navy and they formed a large percentage of many ship crews. Later on, many regiments were organized as the “United States Colored Troops” that reinforced the Northern side (especially in the last 2 years of the war). Union troops included Northern free black people and Southern runaway slaves. Black soldiers served in forty battles and hundreds of other skirmishes. 16 African Americans received the Medal of Honor. Back then, there was a debate on whether to have African American regiments in the Union. Many people were hesitant to do so including Union commanders and even President Abraham Lincoln (since he was afraid of the response by the Border States like Maryland). Black soldiers were needed since many white volunteers dropped out during the war. African Americans always volunteered since the first days of the war and many were turned down. July 17, 1862 was the date when the U.S. Congress passed the two Acts. These Acts allowed the enlistment of African American troops. The official enrollment of troops came after the final issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863. Yet, state and local militia units already by enlisted black Americans like the Black Brigade of Cincinnati which rose in September 1862. This unit was used to provide manpower to stop a feared Confederate raid on Cincinnati from Kentucky. In May of 1863, Congress established the Bureau of Colored Troops in an effort to organize black efforts in the war.

There were African American medical officers after 1863. It started with Baltimore surgeon Alexander Augusta. He was a senior surgeon with white assistant surgeons under his command at Fort Stanton, Maryland. African American soldiers made up about 10% of the entire Union Army (United States Army). African Americans had large casualties. About 20% of all African American enrolled in the military lost their lives during the U.S. Civil War. Their mortality rate was significantly higher than white soldiers. Many escaped slaves sought to have refuge in the Union Army camps. They were called contrabands by Union officers. Many officers in the field experimented with contraband classified people for manual labor in the Union Army camps. Some became black regiments of soldiers. Some of these soldiers involved in this situation included Gen. David Hunter (1802–1886), U.S. Sen./Gen. James H. Lane (1814–1866), and Gen. Benjamin F. Butler (1818–1893), of Massachusetts. By early 1861, General Butler was the first Union commander to use black people (classified as contrabands) in a non-combatant role. They did physical labor duties. They were refused to be returned as escaped slaves at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Many escaped slaves came to General Butler to have asylum when slave-owners tried to re-enslave them. In September 1862, free African American men were forcefully conscripted and impressed into forced labor for constructing defensive fortification by the white citizens of the pro-slavery city of Cincinnati, Ohio. They were known as the Black Brigade of Cincinnati. They experienced harsh working conditions and extreme brutality by the Cincinnati police guards. So, the Union Army, under General Lew Wallace, stepped in to restore order and make sure that the black conscripted men received their fair treatment due to soldiers including the equal pay of privates. Many of those black American called contraband came into many colonies like at the Grand Contraband Camp in Virginia and in the Port Royal Experiment. Black people worked at hospitals and at other locations. Jane E. Schultz wrote of the medical corps that "Approximately 10 percent of the Union's female relief workforce was of African descent: free blacks of diverse education and class background who earned wages or worked without pay in the larger cause of freedom, and runaway slaves who sought sanctuary in military camps and hospitals." Tons of white soldiers and officers back then believed in the lie that black men lacked the ability to fight great.

In October of 1862, African American soldiers of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry (in one of the first engagements involving black troops) silenced their critics by repulsing attacking Confederate guerrillas at the Skirmish at island Mount, Missouri in the Western Theater by October 1862. By August of 1863, 14 more black state regiments were in the field and ready for service. May 27, 1863 was the time of the Battle of Port Hudson in Louisiana. This was when African American soldiers bravely advanced over open ground in the face of deadly artillery fire. The attack failed, but the black soldiers  shown courage in the heat of battle. General Nathaniel P. Banks (1816–1894) recording in his official report: "Whatever doubt may have existed heretofore as to the efficiency of organizations of this character, the history of this day's proves...in this class of troops effective supporters and defenders." Noted for his bravery was Union Captain Andre Cailloux who fell early in the battle. This was the first battle involving a formal Federal African-American unit.

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Many African American Union soldiers fought oat Fort Wagner off the Charleston coast in South Carolina by the 54th Massachusetts Infantry on July 19, 1863. This battle has been shown in the film Glory from 1989. The "54th" volunteered to lead the assault on the strongly fortified Confederate positions of the earthen/sand embankments (very resistant to artillery fire) on the coastal beach. The soldiers of the "54th" scaled the Fort's parapet, and were only driven back after brutal hand-to-hand combat. Despite the defeat, the unit was hailed for its valor, which spurred further African-American recruitment, giving the Union a numerical military advantage from a large segment of the population the Confederacy. One of the greatest soldiers from the 54th Massachusetts was William H. Carney. He was born in Norfolk, Virginia on February 29, 1840. His mother was a slave. He learned to read and write at the age of 14. He was emancipated and he moved into Bedford, Massachusetts. He studied to be a minister and later fought for freedom. He later stated, “I felt I could best serve my God by serving my Country and my oppressed bothers.” He became a member of, and trained with, the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry’s C Company. A Union general later said of the men in the all-black units, “They are far more earnest than we…They know the deep stake they have in the issue.” During the assault on Fort Wagner, Sergeant William Carney was 23 years old and never allowed the flag touch the ground (when he was heavily wounded by enemy fire). On May 23, 1900 Sergeant William Harvey Carney was awarded his Nation’s highest award, the Medal of Honor.  He passed away on December 9, 1908. He is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery. His final resting place bears a distinctive stone, one claimed by less than 3500 Americans. Engraved on the white marble is a gold image of the Medal of Honor.

African American soldiers who were captured by the rebels suffered harshly in prison camps. Some were murdered outright. Black prisoners were definitely not treated the same as white prisoners. Black prisoners received no medical attention, some had harsh punishments, and they wouldn’t be used in a prisoner exchange since the Confederate states didn’t view them as equal. African American soldiers were involved in every major campaign of the Civil War from 1864 to 1865,  except for Sherman's Atlanta Campaign in Georgia and the following "March to the Sea" to Savannah, by Christmas 1864. The year 1864 was especially eventful for African-American troops. On April 12, 1864, at the Battle of Fort Pillow, in Tennessee, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest led his 2,500 men against the Union-held fortification, occupied by 292 black and 285 white soldiers. After driving in the Union pickets and giving the garrison an opportunity to surrender, Forrest's men swarmed into the Fort with little difficulty and drove the Federals down the river's bluff into a deadly crossfire. Casualties were high and only sixty-two of the U.S. Colored Troops survived the fight. Accounts from both Union and Confederate witnesses suggest a massacre. Many accused the Confederates of perpetrating a massacre of black troops, and the controversy still continues today. The battle cry for the African American soldier, east of the Mississippi River became "Remember Fort Pillow!" The Battle of Chaffin’s Farm in Virginia was one of the most heroic engagements involving black troops.

On September 29, 1864, the African American division of the Eighteenth Corps, after being pinned down by Confederate artillery fire for about 30 minutes. The black soldiers charged the earth workers and rushed up the slopes of the heights. During the hour long engagement, the Division suffered tremendous causalities. Of the 25 African Americans who awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War, 14 received the honor as a result of their actions at Chaffin’s Farm. Black soldiers faced massive discrimination in pay and assignment in the Union side. According to the Militia Act of 1862, soldiers of African descent were to receive $10.00 a month with an optional deduction for clothing at $3.00. In contrast, white privates received $12.00 per month plus a clothing allowance of $3.50. Many regiments fought for equal pay. Some refused any money and pay until June 15, 1864 when the Federal Congress granted equal pay for all soldiers regardless of color. Black units were often disproportionately still assigned laborer work rather than the possibility of actual front line combat assignments. General Daniel Ullman, commander of the Corps d'Afrique, remarked "I fear that many high officials outside of Washington have no other intention than that these men shall be used as diggers and drudges." Both free and escaped slaves of black African descent were involved in helping the Union involving intelligence. They were called Black Dispatches. One of these spies was Mary Bowser. Harriet Tubman was also a spy, a nurse, and a cook whose efforts were key to Union victories and survival. Tubman is most widely recognized for her contributions to freeing slaves by the Underground Railroad. However, her contributions to the Union Army were important too. She used her knowledge of the country's terrain to gain important intelligence for the Union Army. She became the first woman to lead U.S. soldiers into combat when, under the order of Colonel James Montgomery, took a contingent of soldiers in South Carolina behind enemy lines, destroying plantations and freeing 750 slaves in the process.

Like the Army, many in the U.S. Navy were ambivalent at first in having Northern free black people or runaway slaves. There were many escaped slaves who wanted refuge on Union ships. This caused the Navy to have a policy to allow black people to be in the U.S. Navy for the Union. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells made an order on July 22, 1861 to employ black people to be in the Navy. In time, the Union Navy would see almost 16% of its ranks supplied by African Americans, performing in a wide range of enlisted roles. In contrast to the Army, the Navy from the outset not only paid equal wages between white and black sailors, but offered considerably more for even entry-level enlisted positions. Food rations and medical care were also improved over the Army, with the Navy benefiting from a regular stream of supplies from Union-held ports.

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Becoming a commissioned officer, however was still out of reach for nearly all black sailors. With rare exceptions, only the rank of petty officer would be offered to black sailors, and in practice, only to free black people (who often were the only ones with naval careers sufficiently long to earn the rank). Robert Smalls, an escaped slave, was given the rank of captain of the steamer "Planter" in December 1864. Robert Smalls would later be a Reconstruction leader and he was a black man who freed many black people in the South using a ship. Also, the elephant in the room must be shown. We know what that elephant is. You have to show it. There were a minority of black people who were in the Confederacy. These men were divided into two groups. One group was people forced to fight or forced to do manual labor (like Marlboro Jones who was a servant to a white Confederate soldier. Jones was a person who did forced labor). The other group were sellouts and traitors to black people (those in the Confederacy were both free and those enslaved) who erroneously believed that the Confederacy represented their interests as the Confederacy defended slavery and executed racist terrorism. By the end of the war, the Confederates were desperate. There was a debate on whether to arm black soldiers for the Confederacy. This debate existed among the Confederate Congress, the President's Cabinet, and C.S. War Department staff. In general, newspapers, politicians, and army leaders alike were hostile to any efforts to arm black people. The war's desperate circumstances meant that the Confederacy changed their policy in the last month of the war; in March 13 1865, a small program attempted to recruit, train, and arm black people (Davis signed the law and it was supported by Robert E. Lee. Davis later signed another order on March 23 to offer freedom to slaves recruited, but this emancipation was reliant upon a slave-owner’s consent. As early as January 1864, CSA General Patrick Cleburne of TN wanted slaves as soldiers and offered freedom to them if they fought and survived. His proposal was rejected by Confederate leaders A. P. Stewart and James Patton Anderson), but no significant numbers were ever raised or recruited, and those that were never saw combat. The short lived 1st CSA Louisiana Native Guard was a militia made up of free men of color, biracial creoles, etc. who was a short lived group that ended in April of 1862 as Louisiana wanted only free white men to fight.  A Union army regiment 1st Louisiana Native Guard was later formed under the same name after General Butler took control of New Orleans.

At the end of the day, African Americans have a huge role in the U.S. Civil War. They fought hard for the Union in desiring freedom, equality, and justice. Heroes like Sergeant William Harvey Carney, Robert Smalls, Harriet Tubman, Sgt. Major Christian Abraham Fleetwood, Sergeant Andrew Jackson Smith, and other men and women used heroism, determination, and strength to cause the Union to have a total victory after the U.S. Civil War.

Amen and Hallelujah.

By Timothy

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