The Civil War was the major event in American history during the 19th century. It was foiught over the basic question of wheter Ameriuca would be oine country or two. By the the 1860s, the United States had developed into two distinct regions with important differences, essentially different countries. The diiferences were centered primarily on the institution of slavery and there was actually a great deal in common. The War fundamentally changed Ametica -- and not just the soldiers. Huge changes were set in motion in the culture, demographics, economy, politics, society, and technology -- virtually all aspects of national life. Lives were changed forever. Before the Civil War, the great majority of Americans grew up on farms. Most people never ventured more than 50 miles from home. Farm populatiions were largely isolated from national life. There were only a few large cities of over a million inhabitants. All but one (New Orleans) was located in the South. This was vital, because it is the big northern cities that America's industry was located. The railroad had begun to create an increasing mobile populoation, but that process had just begun by 1860 and the continent was not yet crossed by rail. Women had to step forward to care for the family when their vmen went off to war. Earlier wars had been fought on much smaller scales. During the Civil War a much larger share of the civilian (mostly male) population was involved--more than all previous American wars combined. This meant that mothers had toi take on much of the hard physical labor of farm work. Agriculture was still largely unmechanzed. The demand for men was so great that the North eventually had to institute America's first military draft. People on the home front had to deal with range of issues, including fighting, inflation, shortages, sickness, worry and loss of loved ones, and a myriad of other problems. The casualty lists were horrifying. More Americans lost lived ones in the Civil War than any other conflict--amd America at the time was a much smaller country. Issues in the North were serious. In the South where the economy was centered on one crop (cotton), it was catastrophic after the U.S. Navy bloclade began to tighten and the enslaved work force began to run away to Federal lines. The Souther home front was also affected bt the fact that most od the War was fought in the South.
<! The abolitioinist movement began as a radical, extreme ideas. Gradually the movement primarily through the churches ganered currency and by the 1860s had convinced most peoole in the North that slavery was morally wrong. This is not to say taht people in the North believed in racial equality or wanted blacks to be cutizens or wanted to fight a cicil war over slavery, but a great many believed that slabery was morally wrong and that people who owned slaves were engaged in immoral behavior.
<! The United States by 1860 had developed into two destinct regions, essentially separate countries. The North and South had complimentary, but very different economies. Southern plantations supplied Northern textile mills. While complmentary, the economic systems were very different. The northern states were becoming increasinly important manufacturing and commercial centers supporing small, family-owned farms. Most northern states had abolished slavery. The southern states were primarily agricultural dominated by large plantations worked by African slaves. Most southeners did not own slaves, but the planter class dominated the economy and state governments. The forced labor of slavery was deeply inbedded in the economic, social, and political system of the south. [Levine] The economic issues could possibly have been resolved through political, constititional processes. It would have been difficult, but within the realm of possibility. Slavery was, however, the basis of the economy for the planter class and the emotional debate surrounding slavery by 1860 had risen to the level that regional tensions exploded. Abolitionists had for several decades been stoking the fires. They could describe the evils of slavery. They could not, however, end slsvery in the South. Southerners had begun to think of themselves as a distinct nation. Underminining the economic foundation of the planter class was a difficult enough issue, but abolitionists questioning their morality and values meant that rational discussion became impossible. This and fear of a large emancipated black population has essentilly created two nations. Here the head-strong southern planters made a serious miscalculation. Slavery was inshrined in the Federal Constitution. And given the strength of the Southern voting block in the Congress, slavery could not have been abolished or altered without their consent as long as they remained in the Union. >
Giesberg, Judith. Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front (. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009).
Levine, Bruce. The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil war and the Social Revolution that Transformed the South (2012).
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