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Abraham Lincoln’s assassination was a malevolent ending to an already bitter and spiteful event in American history, the Civil War. John Wilkes Booth and his group of co-conspirators developed plans in the late summer of 1864 to only kidnap the President and take him the Confederate capital of Richmond and hold him in return for Confederate prisoners of war. Booth’s group of conspirators: Samuel A... Full-text essay
The American Renaissance is a time that American writers received more recognition as to the quality of their works. Before this time scholars looked upon the works of the artist and writers in America were looked upon as secondary to the across the Atlantic. The novelist Gustave de Beaumont "warned Europeans not to ‘look for poetry, literature, or fine arts in this country'." (McQuade e... Full-text essay
What is it like to be free? Bobbie Ann Mason, the author of “Shiloh” puts Norma Jean Moffitt through different tests in her life before she can find her freedom. Mason introduces us to a character who yearns to be free from her husband and mother. Throughout Norma Jean’s life she has dealt with many difficult and trying times that sometimes may not make sense to her and finally this thirty-four-ye... Full-text essay
The annexation of Texas to the United States and the gain of new territory by the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo aggravated the hostility between the North and South. The controversial issue of slavery in the new territories arose again along with many other political differences that needed to be resolved. In the midst of fear that the southern states might withdraw from the Union altogether, Senat... Full-text essay
Throughout time, the image of the duel has transcended into our collective consciousness, so that there is hardly a person today who does not understand what the word means, even though there are practically no modern day duels. Anyone asked to define the word would be able to conjure up the image of two men standing face to face, for the purpose of settling a dispute and very likely leaving one o... Full-text essay
Sounds Personification “Commerce is unexpectedly confident and serene, alert, adventurous and unwearied.” (84) Through the personification of commerce Thoreau is able to show that commerce fluctuates in the same manner as humanity. The adjectives he uses to describe commerce show that commerce has some of the same tendencies as humans, and Thoreau believes that it is these tendencies that make com... Full-text essay
Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave. She helped so many of her black people that she became known as "Moses of Her People." During the civil war she served the union army as a nurse, spy, cook, and scout. She was also conductor on the Underground Railroad. She was a very heroic woman. Harriet Tubman was born on plantation near Bucktown about 1820. She was one of eleven children of a slav... Full-text essay
While the civil war ended one form of slavery in America, another system of oppression was ready to take its place. In Ralph Ellison’s acclaimed novel Invisible Man, a young black, nameless narrator struggles through a series of hard-won lessons as he makes his journey from the Deep South to Harlem, New York, from naiveté to disenchantment, from illusion to insight. Like most of us, he stumbles do... Full-text essay
Jim Crow is an autobiographical account of author Richard Wright’s education in race relations in a totally segregated south. Wright talks about his experiences growing up in the south and the racism he encountered. He attempts to show us what being on the receiving end of racism is really like, and the lessons he learned from them. I believe that Wright’s intended audience seems to be directed to... Full-text essay
In my opinion, all the types of conflict occur in “the Miracle Worker”. There is internal conflict such as man versus self. There is also external conflict such as man versus man, man versus nature and also man versus society. An example of man versus self, is in act, scene eight. In this scene, Annie is struggling with her own memories of her dead brother jimmy and of the state alms house. There ... Full-text essay
Of all the atrocities, man has endured; none has caused more misery and destruction to the soul than human bondage, also identified as slavery. It is illustrated in Louisa May Alcott’s story: “My Contraband,” originally published “The Brothers.” The Civil War was fought over slavery. It pitted brother against brother, but this did not kill these brothers, it was the deep and festering hatred they ... Full-text essay
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" can be considered a work of realism for three reasons. The first is Bierce's utilization of his own military background giving this story a sense of authenticity. Bierce also conveys his cynicism after leading the reader to believe otherwise. Finally, this story provides social critique of the south during the Civil War. Bierce goes to great lengths t... Full-text essay
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" can be considered a work of realism for three reasons. The first is Bierce's utilization of his own military background giving this story a sense of authenticity. Bierce also conveys his cynicism after leading the reader to believe otherwise. Finally, this story provides social critique of the south during the Civil War. Bierce goes to great lengths to... Full-text essay
Adolescence brings about many changes as a youth becomes an adult. For many people this passage is either tedious and painful or simple and barely noticeable. The anguish and torture that is usually associated with rites of passage and growing up is often used in literature, as it is common and easily understood. In The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, the character Henry Fleming survives th... Full-text essay
Realism is the depiction of life as most people live and know it. Regionalism is a characteristic of Realism that portrays the customs, habits and characteristics of a particular place. Part of regionalism is local color. Local color is defined as a particular example of regional characteristics. Local color can be shown in a particular dialect, dress, and occupations. In Realism life is depicted ... Full-text essay
Stephen Crane was the youngest of fourteen children. His father was a strict Methodist minister, who died in 1880, leaving his devout, strong mother to raise the rest of the family. Crane lasted through preparatory school, but spent less than two years in college, excelling at Syracuse in baseball and partying far more than academics. After leaving school, he went to live in New York, doing freela... Full-text essay
Paper based on Stephen Crane's works How do we grow up through the hardships of live? What can a stressful environment bring out in human? And how do you perceive a society between the reality and the myth? As a naturalism and realism writer, Stephen Crane creates vivid characters in his stories. We might find answers of these questions from Crane's three representative works, "The Red Badge ... Full-text essay
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Many people believe that a novel has a direct and powerful influence on American history. One such novel was written by a woman by the name of Harriet Beecher Stowe. The name of this novel is Uncle Tom's Cabin. Harriet Beecher was born on June 14, 181l, in Litchfield, Connecticut. Her father Lyman Beecher, was a renowned preacher. Harriet was a student an... Full-text essay
Winston Churchill, born on Nov. 30, 1874, at Blenheim Palace, the famous palace near Oxford built by the nation for John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough, the great soldier. Blenheim, named after Marlborough's grandest victory (1704), meant much to Winston Churchill. In the grounds there he became engaged to his future wife, Clementine Ogilvy Hozier (b. 1885). He later wrote his historical maste... Full-text essay
Essay on The Civil War and Reconstruction
The Civil War was the turning point in the US history, while the Reconstruction era has completed the achievements of the Civil War and changes launched by the war. At the same time, the outcomes of the Civil War and Reconstruction were disappointing to a large part of the US population, especially slave, whose liberation was one of the major drivers of the Civil War, but the Reconstruction granted them with basic rights and liberties. However, the position of African Americans did not change much. Nevertheless, the Civil War and Reconstruction have laid the foundation to the further development of the US as one nation but, at the same time, the Civil War and Reconstruction have laid the foundation to the further controversies between different social groups in the US society, such as the social tension between different racial groups.
Causes of the Civil War
The major cause of the Civil was slavery and attempts of its abolition triggered Southern states to protect their economic interests and traditional social order based on the exploitation of slaves. The slave labor comprised the core of Southern economy since slaves were employed on cotton plantations and other fields which allowed Southern states to boost their export of cotton mainly. In such a situation, the abolition of slavery would undermine the Southern economy
Furthermore, the growing disparity between industrialized North and Agricultural South misbalanced the power of Northern and Southern states. Slavery prevented South from radical changes and rapid industrialization, while the North needed resources available on the South and wanted to export capital to continue the industrialization of the nation.
Political struggle between abolitionist and proponents of slavery at the top political level laid the political ground for the Civil War. In this regard, attempts of Southern states to preserve larger rights and liberties that provided them with the larger autonomy and sovereignty confronted the growing pressure from the part of the federal government that attempted to take broader control over states.
Lincoln’s election as the President of the US triggered the secession of Southern states, who opposed to his policy of the abolition of slavery in the US. Southern states were unwilling to remain in the union with states opposing slavery, while the election of the President A. Lincoln meant the high probability of the abolition of slavery and Lincoln had started this policy since the beginning of his Presidency, as he took the office.
In response to the election of Lincoln, Southern states declared the secession from the US. Hence, the attempts of the North to regain the unity of the nation resulted in the outbreak of active military actions in the course of the Civil War (Epperson 192). The major developments of the Civil War included the Naval war which resulted in the blockade of Southern states but the superior navy of Northern states.
As the major ports were blocked, Southern states had grown exhausted and running out of resources essential for the maintenance of the struggle against the union forces. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the North attempted to undermine the situation in Southern states, declaring the abolition of slavery and freeing all slaves, as the Northern army advanced southward (Norton 159). In such a way, they gained the support of slaves, who were eager to set themselves free. The Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln in 1863 guaranteed the liberation of all slaves in rebellious states.
In addition, the Northern army recruited African Americans, who joined Northerners in their struggle against Southern states. Eventually, the South had proved to be unable to restrain the assaults of the North and the war ended up in 1865 after four consecutive years of struggle and battles (Watson 125). At this point, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that slavery and policies conducted by the North in relation to slavery had had a considerable impact on the development and outcome of the war. The attempts to abolish slavery triggered the outbreak of the Civil War. During the War, Northern states undermined the economic situation in the South encouraging slaves to rebel against their masters in the South and join the Northern army which they perceived as the liberation army. In such a way, Northern states destabilized the situation in Southern states, undermined their economy and used slaves and their liberation as an important part of their strategy that led them to the overall success in the war. In such a situation, they used their technological superiority and naval blockade to complete the defeat of the South and finally declared the official abolition of slavery nationwide as the result of the war to show that the war had reached its major goal that actually became the primary cause of the war.
Outcomes of the Civil War and Reconstruction
Furthermore, by the end of the war, the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was implemented and granted slaves with freedom making the Emancipation Proclamation norms universal and permanent. In such a way, the Thirteenth Amendment brought freedom to slaves nationwide and formally abolished slavery in the US.
At first glance, the major goal of the Civil War was achieved but the abolition of slavery alone was not enough to integrate former slaves into the US society and make them a part of the nation. Instead, further legislative changes were needed since slaves should have equal rights and opportunities to exercise their freedom (Watson 175). Otherwise, they would have changed nothing but their formal status to freemen.
In response to the urgent need of changing the legal and socioeconomic status of former slaves, the US Congress implemented the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the US Constitution in 1868 and 1870 respectively (Epperson 188). These amendments formally guaranteed African Americans with equal rights and liberties compared to white Americans and eliminated the existing semi-slavery which persisted shortly after the Civil War, when slaves were freed but had not got equal rights and liberties and their legal status was uncertain.
At the same time, the Reconstruction had failed to bring the consistent improvement to the socioeconomic status of former slaves. African Americans had equal rights and liberties just like other citizens of the US but they did not have economic opportunities to enhance their position in the society. For instance, they did not have opportunities to find a good employment and high wages because they were low-qualified labor force but the main problem was their desperate poverty, which forced them to agree to work for next to nothing simply to survive (Norton 182). In such a situation, they turned out to be in a desperate position and held the lowest socioeconomic standing in the US society.
Nevertheless, the liberation of African Americans still resulted in the tightening competition in the labor market, especially in the South which suffered from considerable economic losses. In fact, the Civil War had disastrous effects which had affected the development of Southern states of the US for a long time (Epperson 211). The export of cotton was almost ruined by the end of the war. The liberation of slaves undermined the economy of South because landowners could not exploit the free labor force. Instead, they had to hire freedmen or poor whites. In such a situation, Southern states needed a lot of time to recover.
However, the poor economic situation in the South caused the social unrest, racial discrimination and oppression of African Americans, whom white Americans kept treating in the South as mere commodities. In such a situation, the whites opposed to the liberation of slaves. To ensure the protection of rights and liberties of African Americans and defeat any attempts of reviving Confederate mood in the South, Lincoln introduced Freedmen’s Bureau in 1865 which was the government agency aiming at the protection of rights of African Americans. The Freedmen Bureau helped African Americans to get freedom and find employment and urged former slave owners to liberate their slaves and rebuilding their plantations to create jobs for African Americans.
However, the post-war resistance of Southern states was so strong that the government had to deploy the army to make land and slave owners to liberate slaves and protect their basic rights and liberties. In such a way, the government attempted to protect African Americans and helped them to improve their position in the society but these efforts were insufficient and short-running. More important, in response to such protectionist government policies, white Southerners launched their organization which aimed at the maintenance of the white supremacy and ongoing oppression of African Americans as second-class citizens. For instance, Ku Klux Klan emerged during the Reconstruction and cases of lynching of African Americans in Southern states of the US were quire frequent that justified the deployment of the army to protect African Americans shortly after the Civil War.
At the same time, the abolition of slavery, the liberation of slaves and their integration into the US society were not the only goals of the government policy during the Reconstruction. In fact, one of the main goals of the government was to regain control over all states and preserve the US as one nation, as a united country. In such a situation, even the deployment of the army in Southern states during the Reconstruction had dubious goals (Richardson 164). Along with the protection of African American population, the army maintained the authority of the federal government and minimized any risk of the attempt of the new rebel which could outbreak easily, if there were no government troops that could oppress any rebellion fast.
Moreover, the focus of the federal government on needs of African Americans and their integration into the US society was short run. In fact, as soon as the federal government had managed to take control over all states and establish socioeconomic and political stability, the government had started to complete the Reconstruction and refuse from any additional policies, government agencies and other strategies that required additional resources to protect rights and liberties of African Americans and their socioeconomic position in the US society (Norton 188). In fact, by the end of the Reconstruction, millions of African Americans were left on their own with their economic and social problems, stumbling through their life in desperate poverty and their position in the US society had not changed much since the Civil War.
Thus, the Civil War and Reconstruction contributed to consistent changes in the US society among which the abolition of slavery was the main change that took place in the US in that time. However, the abolition of slavery, as the primary goal of the Civil War, brought African Americans freedom but not equal rights, liberties and opportunities. In fact, their rights and liberties were expanded as they got equal rights and liberties after the implementation of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the US Constitution (Watson 215). However, efforts of the federal government to provide African Americans with jobs and better life, they still remained in a disadvantageous position by the end of the Reconstruction, as the Freedmen’s Bureau folded up its operations and the federal government distanced from the support of African Americans. At the same time, the American Civil War and Reconstruction had achieved successfully another goal, which was not declared openly. The war and Reconstruction completed the profound economic change abolition the outdated mode of production, slavery, and expanding opportunities for the rapid industrialization of the entire nation, from the North to South. In addition, the war and Reconstruction had enhanced the role of the federal government, its authority and decreased the sovereignty of people and autonomy of states.