The Civil War was a significant American historical event. In the North, social conflict arose between the rich and the poor. In the South, slavery was abolished after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves were to be free.
The war shattered the bonds that society held together between the different classes of the whites. The Civil War was considered a Rich man s war and a poor man s fight. This idea was the result of the rich men supporting and directly benefiting the war but not fighting in it, while the poor man was enlisted in the armies to fight the war, growing a large resentment for both the war and the upper class.
The Civil War destroyed the cotton industry. The North blockaded the
Southern coasts, preventing the South from finding a market for its cotton. The demands of war also require slaves to support troops, to feed the soldiers and carry supplies to them, also helping the cotton production to decline.
A few ironies were brought about from the Civil War. The Confederate government granted slaves their freedom in return for fighting in the war. The irony was that a war fought to preserve slavery was to be won by abolishing slavery. Another irony was that the Confederate states were forced to create a more powerful government than the one they had rebelled against.
The Civil War transformed American society in many ways. The most important was the abolition of slavery. In 1861, Congress passed a series of tariffs that increased the western markets for manufactured goods. They also passed the Homestead Act of 1862, which provided federal land for settlers in the West. To transport manufactured goods to the West, legislators provided the transcontinental railroad. The National Banking Acts of 1863 and 1864 allowed banks to apply for federal charters to become national banks. Industrialization had been rapidly increasing. Railroads use coal for fuel and so the coal industry grows with the rest of the nation. Soldiers fighting the war needed equipment such as uniforms, guns, boots and cannons. Their needs helped trigger the development of the textile, shoemaking and ammunitions industry.
The ending of the Civil War abolished slavery and determined that "free labor" was the only kind of labor allowed. Thus the ending was revived with the beginning of the Reconstruction. The 14th Amendment was appealed, helping to turn blacks into official citizens of the United States. It also provided for national citizenship and forbade states from depriving citizens of equal protection of the law.
There were still a number of questions that needed answers. Would
slaves overused their powers, since Congress had granted them rights? The nation would face a challenge in the future. Next stop was the Reconstruction.