Civil Liberties and the Civil War

Essay add: 30-12-2015, 20:51   /   Views: 36
Civil Liberties and the Civil War

“On to Richmond” was the enthusiastic battle cry of the Union Soldiers as they went into battle. With the apparent disagreements between the Northern and Southern states, war was inevitable. The drastic differences in location, economy, and population played prevalent roles in the outcome of the war. The Civil War was surprisingly drawn out considering the North’s overwhelming advantages, which eventually led them to victory.

One of the most important advantages the North had was money; they were better able to finance the war. The North was far superior in industry, making them more able to produce the necessary materials to provide for a war. The North also had control of the U.S. Navy, using this advantage to blockade the South from outside sources of supplies. In addition to better economic sources, the North’s population superceded the South’s by three to one, One third of the South’s population being African American.

Though it seemed that the North would take a hasty victory over the South, the South had advantages of its own. The South was on the defensive; it only had to resist being conquered, made easier by the South’s expansive size. The troops would also be on their own territory commanded by experienced officers such as Robert E. Lee, Joseph Johnston, and Albert Johnston. The North often had inferior commanders while Lincoln experimented with generals. Jefferson Davis also seemed to have advantages over Lincoln. He had an extensive military background as well as a lot of political experience. Lincoln, on the other hand, had little political and military experience, but somehow managed to prove himself a better war leader than Davis. These advantages caused the war to be drawn out, as the South struggled to stay in the war

After the first battle of Bull Run in July 21, 1861, the North was forced to retreat. This battle revealed the lack of experience and organization of both sides . Winfield Scott came up with a strategy for Lincoln’s union forces called the Anaconda Plan. The first part of the plan involved a naval blockade, which turned out to be difficult considering the large coastline. Under the secretary of Navy, Gideon Welles, the navy was expanded and became increasingly effective. The next part of Welles’ plan included a campaign to take the Mississippi, which Lincoln ordered. Lincoln also wanted to raise a large enough army to apply pressure from all sides hoping to collapse the confederacy. Once naval forces under Captain David Farragat captured New Orleans in April 1862, Lincoln’s plan was well underway.

The Union was very successful in the West under the aggressive Ulysses S. Grant, who planned to take the two confederate strongholds of Fort Henry and Donelson. He succeeded in February 1862. With the capture of New Orleans as well as other northern victories the Union had almost total control of the Mississippi River, aside from a 110-mile stretch.

As the war lingered on, the necessary finances became difficult to come by for both the North and South. The North had a variety of ways to deal with the problem. The Homestead Act was passed which granted an individual 160 acres of government land at no cost if they promised to farm it for at least five years. Tariffs and Income Taxes were increased to raise extra funds. The Treasury department issued Greenbacks, an unbacked currency. The South had a harder time coming up with the needed supplies and money. The South also issued unbacked paper money, which became almost worthless because it was produced at such large quantities. Food also became very scarce forcing soldiers to leave their ranks to return home and care for their families.

The South was not only experiencing supplies trouble, they were also experiencing political trouble. State governors, congress, and even Jefferson Davis’s Vice president felt that Davis was assuming too much power, and they labeled him a tyrant. These mind-sets did little to improve the spirits of the Southerners. Lincoln, in the meantime, passed the emancipation proclamation, which not only increased his popularity, but also defined the war as being about slavery.

Lincoln still needed to gain complete control of the Mississippi. Grant planed on taking Vicksburg, one of the last two strongholds the confederates had on the Mississippi River. After a six-week siege of General John C. Pemberton and his troops inside the city, Vicksburg was surrendered. Five days later Port Hudson was surrendered giving the Union complete control of the Mississippi. Grant was promoted to overall commander of the Union. Grant then won the Battle of Chattanooga, putting the Union in the position to get Georgia. Jefferson Davis became so desperate he called for blacks to join the army.

When the election of 1864 rolled around the South’s hopes were diminishing. Sherman of the Union army took Atlanta, a vital southern resource for railway and manufacturing. After Lincoln got re-elected, victory for the North seemed inevitable. After a few more victories in the summer and fall the South surrendered to the Union.

The South seemed doomed from the beginning, lacking the resources, leadership, and population that the North boasted. With the capture of the Mississippi and the blockade, the South had an impossible time getting supplies. All of these factors contributed to the North’s victory.

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