The Civil War Essay Research Paper CIVIL — страница 10

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at fort Sumter in South Carolina by the southern states (called the confederacy) on 12th April 1861. The war turned out to be the most defining and shaping event in American history so much so that we cannot imagine American history without it. In the 50000 books written, there are countless diaries, regimented history, biographies, social analyses, pictorial essays and other works that have treated the subject of the civil war in different ways. This was an event that had such great effects on the country that it conditioned the entire culture of America. It became a focus of myth and the anchor of meaning for the whole society; such was the power of its fascination. 10 billion dollars of property was laid waste in the south while two-fifths of its livestock was destroyed. The

south was completely devastated after 4 years of war. No other single event in the history of America has brought such momentous changes in all spheres of life. Never again was there a problem of secession. The defeat of the south settled forever the question of secession, giving triumph to nationalism over sectionalism. The emergence of the Negro as a free citizen, created a new dimension in the political and social life of the nation, making vast changes in the arrangement of classes and in the course of industrial development. This is probably why Bearde called it a second American revolution. The war destroyed the planting aristocracy leading to the triumph of capitalist and free laborers. Also it augmented the power of the federal government at the cost of the rights of the

state. It pushed forward the power of the constitution. Thomas Cochran also pointed out that though there was clear symptom of rising industrialization before 1860, it was during and after the war that the real course of industrialization took place. And the structure of American business began to assume a shape, which became familiar in the later years. This view is supported by Faulkner and Hacker. The most dramatic effect of the civil war was on the south. It was vanquished, demoralised and had to orient itself to a new economic and social system because the war had destroyed its old basic structure. So remarkable was the impact of the war that the post-bellum south has also been called the new south. Historians differ according to their pro-south and anti-south treatment. For

example Thomson, who was pro-south, found that the southern leaders after reconstruction were honest and dedicated men but lacked the qualities of vision. This has been challenged by C. Van Woodward. He suggests the southerners were not honest and characterized their leaders as redeemers, who advocated industrialization and reconciliation with the north and adopted by and large a more liberal attitude towards the Negroes. Amongst the social classes the Negroes were the most profoundly affected by the civil war. Apthekar?s viewpoint is useful in understanding the condition of the Negro in the civil war. Dr. potter says that the civil war put an end to ?chattel slavery?. It was the biggest act of confiscation in history. The civil war freed the American chattel slaves and now there

was an overwhelming shortage of labor. Immigration was encouraged after 1864. The southern economy fell into disarray. The confederate money and lands were valueless and its holders impoverished. The plantations were ruined and cotton production had declined and whatever manufacturing that existed was destroyed. There were wounded war veterans and broken families. In many places, the civil government had disintegrated. The war also saw the triumph of northern capitalism. However the efforts of assessment of the effects of the civil war are still continuing. AKSHARA PRADHAN