Officially, the time when the Civil War began was in 1862. The battle was between the northern states known as the Union, and the southern states or Confederacy. The roots of the conflict however, were planted years earlier.
Issues that Led to Conflict
There were several issues that the two sides disagreed upon. These included trade and industry, where the northern states held an advantage. Tax levies were also problematic.
The biggest point of contention was slavery. The Union had declared slavery illegal but it was deemed a necessity in the south. Being dependent on agriculture, the southern states needed a labor force. Although there were other issues, it can be said that when the Civil War began and ended, it was mainly about slavery.
Beginnings of the Conflict
When Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1880, South Carolina departed from the Union. It joined several other states that had seceded. A year after Lincoln’s election, half a dozen southern states left the Union. They joined forces and became known as the Confederate States of America. The root cause of their departure was Lincoln’s insistence that slavery be abolished.
In March 1861 Lincoln declared the secession as illegal. The Confederates responded by shooting at the Union troops in Charleston, South Carolina on April 12, 1862. That was the time when the Civil War began.
General George McClellan headed the Union Army. He was beaten by the Confederate forces led by General Robert Lee. He was replaced by John Pope, who was also defeated by Lee.
The Confederate victories would be short lived however. The Union used a strategy of blocking the south’s resources. As the ports were blocked by the Union, the Confederate were unable to reinforce their troops.
In July 1863 the Union took the offensive under Gen. Ulysses Grant. They attacked the Mississippi River and gained control of the area. This move cut the states from their allies. After cutting the supplies, the Union smashed the Confederate’s communications. General Grant also attacked Northern Virginia and defeated Gen. Lee. While Lee took control of Petersburg, his ally General Sherman captured Atlanta.
When the Civil War began, thousands of people volunteered to join. When it ended on April 9 1865, the Union had won. Over 600,000 soldiers died. Most of those who died did so in the major battles of First Bull Run, Shiloh, the Seven Days and the final Union siege. Eight months later, all the slave states were declared free.
The 14th Amendment gave blacks citizenship. They were also given the right to vote. However there was still racial discrimination. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan attacked blacks especially in the southern states.
In most parts however the US experienced an economic boom. Decades after the war, settlers and immigrants came to America. Europeans also came in droves and help set up businesses. This led to increased prosperity across the country.
When the Civil War began, it devastated the country. In the end not only was slavery stopped, but economic prosperity followed.