History exam #1 Essays: The Civil War

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  1. The Civil War (1861-1865): causes and consequences.




Economic & social differences

Based more on industry, purchased raw cotton turned it into finished goods, focused on “city life”
28,000 railroad lines, big population, increased army size

Based on agriculture/ plantation system, became a “one crop economy”, dependent on cotton and slavery (invention of Cotton Gin 1793)

8,000 railroad lines, 1/3 of population is slaves, had own military tradition – trained personnel b/c sent younger sons to military for career

States vs. Federal Rights

Rejected right of “carrying over property” b/c it would violate right of a free state to outlaw slavery w/in its borders.

Rejected “Secession Law” because they believed Founding Fathers were setting up a “perpetual union”

Citizens of every state had right to take property anywhere in US and not have it taken away, slaves could remain slaves anywhere.

Each state had right to secede (leave the Union) at any time b/c Constitution was an agreement among the states.

Growth of the Abolition Movement

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” helped expose slavery’s cruelty.

Despite growth, abolitionism remained a minority movement. Many northerners were unmoved owing to racism and fears of economic competition. Abolitionists were abused, and northern blacks faced severe discrimination.

Election of Abraham Lincoln




Congress instituted tariffs on all imported goods from Great Britain

In Panic of 1857, (depression), many northern factories went bankrupt. Most of factories were built with borrowed money, so when they went bankrupt, could not repay the debt

Didn’t have materials to make weapons – outsource to Europe (bought goods too) - disadvantage for agriculture; tried to be convinced to buy from northern factories

Death toll/Cost of war

Nearly 625,000 dead, 2.5 million wounded. Billions of dollars


Better shape - freed 4 million+ people from slavery

Worse shape - 400,000+ blacks left & settled in Kansas; 65% of southerners couldn’t participate in govt

Morphine: legal before 1920

600,000 Civil War drug addicts resulted due to how they treated people

Push for full citizenship

13th Amendment: ended slavery; 14th Amendment: guaranteed equal rights 15th Amendment: made it illegal to restrict right to vote by race or color.

  1. Reconstruction, including Johnson’s impeachment.

  • Following the Civil War, the U.S. was a new nation, “wholly free.” Reconstruction laid the foundation for future struggles to extend freedom to all Americans.

  • Immediately after the Civil War, they sought to give meaning to freedom by reuniting families separated under slavery, establishing their own churches and schools, seeking economic autonomy, and demanding equal civil and political rights.

  • 2 weeks after the war, John Wilkes Booth assassinates Abraham Lincoln. Andrew Johnson becomes President in 1865. He can be deemed as “worst president” with a 3rd grade education, incapable of dealing w/ political issues in terms of putting country back together, crude, rude, and a drinking problem.

    • Johnson failed to provide the nation with enlightened leadership, or deal effectively with Congress. Racism prevented him from responding to black demands for civil rights, and personal inflexibility rendered him unable to compromise with Congress.

  • The battle between President Andrew Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction resulted in changes in the nature of the citizenship, structure of the constitutional authority, and the meaning of American Freedom.

  • Johnson’s Reconstruction Plan:

    • Gave the white South a free hand in establishing new governments. Many Northerners became convinced that Johnson's policy, and the actions of the governments he established, threatened to reduce African Americans to a condition similar to slavery, while allowing former "rebels" to regain political power in the South.

    • Firm believer in state’s rights and insisted that secession was illegal, southern states never actually left the Union. Although he supported emancipation, he held deeply racist views. He believes that African Americans had no role to play in Reconstruction.

    • He offered a pardon to all white Southerners except Confederate leaders and wealthy planters (although most of these later received individual pardons), and authorized them to create new governments.

      • New legislatures in South passed the Black Codes, which tried to regulate the lives of former slaves, grant blacks certain rights such as legalized marriage, ownership of property, limited access to courts; completely violated free labor principles, resulting in vigorous response from North

      • North turned against Johnson’s policies because of the inability of the South’s political leaders to accept the reality of emancipation.

    • Johnson vetoed two bills proposed by Congress: extension of the life of the Freedman’s Bureau and the Civil Rights bill. Also vetoed 14th Amendment

  • Congress’s Reconstruction Plan

    • Congress enacted the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, which guaranteed blacks’ civil rights and giving black men the right to vote

  • Johnson’s Impeachment

    • In 1867, Congress passed the "Tenure Act." Under this act the President was forbidden to remove certain public officials without the consent of the Congress. In the beginning of February, President Johnson removed Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from office because he wouldn’t comply with Johnson’s military budget. Johnson felt that Stanton, who was a radical Republican, was undermining the policies of the president. 

    • In response to his actions, the House voted 126-47 to impeach President Johnson, for "high crimes and misdemeanors." Later, the US Senate was one vote away from the 2/3 needed for conviction.

    • Many say that Johnson couldn’t be impeached solely because his awful policies, so Radical Republican’s waited for a “SLIP UP” to occur so they could impeach Johnson. Other reasons included his lenient policies of Reconstruction, his opposition to the fourteenth Amendment, and his veto of the Freedmen's Bureau Act. 

  1. Politics and corruption: Grant, Hayes and national issues.

  • U.S. Grant was the most corrupt administrator thus far

    • He always picked the wrong person if given a choice between two people

    • He appointed 26 family members to high ranked government offices

  • Whoever donated money was offered a job regardless of qualifications

  • His brother in law stole 34 million from the government pushing the U.S. into a 5 year recession

    • He pardoned him because he’s family

  • First president to travel outside of the U.S. while in office

    • Went to Dominican Republic and wanted to invade and annex them because ehe like it so much

  • Rutherford Hayes was a republican and candidate in the 1876 elections

  • Disputed corrupt election where the house of reps met to make a deal

    • If reconstruction ends in the south, Hayes can be president

    • Hayes had no idea of this and almost refused to serve as president when he was elected.

    • He was determined to eliminate corruption and made laws so that the president could no longer appoint people to office, they had to take a civil service exam and be matched to a job

  • Corrupt deal to end reconstruction: whether reconstruction was successful or not

  1. Frontier settlement: the process, winners and losers.

  • Frontier: less than one person per square mile

  • Movement to the west that was fueled by

    • Search for silver and gold

    • The desire for land

  • Led to the morril homestead act in 1862 during the civil war that funded public higher education in new states (Uconn, URI, …) the act said that if you worked on your land and improved it and were able to stay on it for five years, it was yours to own. Only about half of settlers got their land, everyone else could not live off the land. One can still file a claim on property in Alaska under the Morril Homestead Act.

  • Life was barable on the frontier because

    • Rural Free Delivery mail that was delivered at least one a week so you didn’t have to pay for it a service that was paid by the government for mail to be delivered to settlements on the frontier at least once a week. This was important because it made life bearable on the frontier.

    • Sears Roebuck & Montgomery Ward- a business innovation where people could order virtually anything through their catalogue. One could mail order school supplies, clothes, sheep and even a bride. This was important in making life bearable on the frontier.

  • Losers on the frontier

    • The environment:

      • Over grazing of cattle ranches nearly turned the great plains into a dessert

      • Over mining spilt toxins into the water to the point where streams from mountains are bright colors from the different pollutants in it.

    • Native Americans

      • Ended their lifestyle and culture along with their land

      • They were forced to live on reservations

        • U.S. government shot all the buffalo so there was no food for them to hunt and they were forced to live on these reservations

      • Custars old unit sought north Americans to go back to their reservation but shot all 200 of them

      • Over 60% of them are unemployed today, tribes such as the Peaquots became sailors

    • Those who lost everything searching for gold

    • Homesteaders who couldn’t cut it on the frontier for (reasons in class)

  • Winners

    • Those who struck gold and silver

    • Those who homesteaders who set up

    • Ranchers working cattle ranchers


Elizabeth Cady Stanton:

  • An American social activist abolitionist, and leading figure of the early woman's movement.

  • After the American Civil War, Stanton's commitment to female suffrage caused a schism in the women's rights movement when she, along with Susan B. Anthony, declined to support passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

  • Opposed giving added legal protection and voting rights to African American men while continuing to deny women, black and white, the same rights.

Chief Joseph:

  • The Nez Perce leader who delivered a speech in Washington condemning confining Indians to reservations.

  • Best known for his resistance to the U.S. Government's attempts to force his Indian tribe to reservations.

  • Adopted the language of freedom and equal rights before the law so powerfully reinforced by the Civil War and Reconstruction. “TREAT ALL MEN ALIKE” “LET ME BE A FREE MAN”

Social Darwinism:

  • Evolution was as natural a process in human society as in nature, and government must not interfere. Included Charles Darwin’s scientific theories of evolution such as “natural selection,” “the struggle for existence,” “the survival of the fittest”

Looking Backward:

  • 1st science fiction novel ever written in U.S., written by Edward Bellamy, it proposed more optimistic remedies for the unequal distribution of wealth. Promoted socialist ideas while “ignoring that name” (he wrote of nationalism, not socialism).

  • In the book, his main character falls asleep in the late 19th century and wakes up in year 2000 in a world where cooperation has replaced class strife, “excessive individualism,” and cutthroat competition. Bellamy insisted that freedom was a social condition, resting on interdependence, not autonomy.

Morrill Homestead Act of 1862:

  • Law passed by Congress during the Civil War, goal was to shape the U.S. West by populating it with farmers.

  • Provided 160 acres of land for a small filing fee and a modest investment of time and effort. The overly optimistic law failed in several ways. Most important, it was exploited by railroads and other powerful interests for profit.

  • Receiving title required 3 steps: 1) File and Application 2) Improve the land and 3) File for deed of title.

  • The law's Northern supporters had pursued a vision of taming the rough frontier for several decades, as a means both to create an agrarian base there and to break the institution of slavery that was entrenched in the South.

  • To achieve this end, they engineered a vast giveaway of public lands.

Edwin Stanton:

  • American lawyer, politician, United States Attorney General in 1860-61 and Secretary of War through most of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era.

  • Refused to go along with Johnson’s military budget to put Johnson in a TRAP. Removed from office after the Tenure of Office Act 1867 by Johnson. This gave the House of Representatives the opportunity to present charges to the Senate for Johnson’s impeachment. However he is not impeached because Lincoln is the one that nominated Stanton as Secretary, not Johnson.

  • Used his power as Secretary to ensure every general who sat on the court-martial would vote for conviction or else be unable to obtain career advancement.

The Freedmen’s Bureau:

  • Reconstruction agency established by Congress (1865-1870) to protect the legal rights of former slaves and to assist with their education, jobs, health care, and landowning (notable for education and healthcare)helps former slaves find $$ and pay for Homestead fee for land

  • Did not establish schools itself, but it coordinated and helped to finance the activities of northern societies committed to black education.

  • Bureau agents assumed control of hospitals established by the army during the war and expanded the system into new communities, provided medical care and drugs to black and white southerners.


  • Type of farm tenancy that developed after the Civil War in which landless workers(often former slaves) farmed land in exchange for farm supplies and a share of the crop. Came to dominate the Cotton Belt and much of the Tobacco Belt of Virginia and North Carolina

  • Arose as a compromise between blacks’ desire for land and planters’ demand for labor discipline. The system allowed each black family to rent a part of the plantation, with the crop divided between worker and owner at the end of the year. Sharecropping guaranteed the planters a stable resident labor force.

Andrew Johnson:

  • 17th President of the United States (1865–1869). Following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Johnson presided over the Reconstruction era of the United States in the four years after the American Civil War.

  • First U.S. President to be impeached and is commonly ranked by historians as being among the worst U.S. presidents.

    • Intolerant of criticism and unable to compromise, lacked political skills and keen sense of public opinion

  • He took charge of Presidential Reconstruction, the first phase of Reconstruction, which lasted until the Radical Republicans gained control of Congress in the 1866 elections. His conciliatory policies towards the South, his hurry to reincorporate the former Confederate states back into the union, and his vetoes of civil rights bills embroiled him in a bitter dispute with Radical Republicans.

Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868):

  • Lawyer and iron manufacturer, leader of the Radical Republicans in the House of Representatives during Reconstruction(represented PA); Wrote much of the financial legislation that paid for the American Civil War.

  • Aimed to confiscate the land of disloyal planters and divide it among former slaves and northern migrants to the South.

Charles Sumner (1811-1874):

  • An American politician and statesman from MA, an academic lawyer and a powerful orator.

  • Leader of the antislavery forces in MA, and of the Radical Republicans in the United States Senate during the American Civil War and Reconstruction

  • He was the counterpart to Thaddeus Stevens in the United States House of Representatives

  • Leading advocate of abolishing slavery to weaken the Confederacy – hero of abolitionist movement

The Fourteenth Amendment:

  • Guaranteed rights of citizenship to all persons born in the US (former slaves), empowered the federal government to protect the rights of all Americans.

  • It prohibited states from denying the “equal protection of the law”

The Fifteenth Amendment:

  • Constitutional Amendment ratified in 1870 which prohibited states from denying citizens the right to vote because of race.


  • Reconstruction officials who were Northerners who made their homes in the South after the war.

  • The term implies they had packed all belongings in a suitcase ad left homes in order to reap the spoils of office in South. Most were former Union soldiers who stayed in South after war, some were investors in land and railroads who saw opportunity in South to substitute “civilization of freedom for that of slavery”


  • Non-slaveholding, white Republican famers from the South who supported Reconstruction governments, considered traitors to their race and religion

  • Some had been wartime Unionists, now they cooperated with Republicans in order to prevent “rebels” from returning to power.

Ku Klux Klan:

  • Organized in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866, to terrorize former slaves who voted and held political offices during Reconstruction, a revived organization in the 1910’s and 1920’s stressed white, Anglo-Saxo, fundamentalist Protestant supreme act;

  • Revived a third time to fight the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s of the South

Little Big Horn (1876):

  • Most famous battle of the Great Sioux War took place in June 1876. Led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, the Sioux and Cheyenne warriors were defending tribal land in the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory.

  • Most famous Indian victory in which General George A. Custer and his entire command of 250 men were killed

Dawes Act (1887):

  • Law passed in 1887 meant to encourage adoption of white norms among Indians; broke up tribal land holdings into small parcels/farms for Indian families, remainder sold to white purchasers

Ghost Dance:

  • A religious revitalization campaign reminiscent of the pan-Indian movements.

  • Indians gathered for days of singing, dancing, and religious observances

Wounded Knee (1890):

  • Last incident of the Indian Wars, took place in 1890 in the Dakota territory, where the U.S. cavalry killed over 200 Sioux men, woman, and children.

  • Marked the end of four centuries of armed conflict between the continent’s native population and European settlers.

John Muir:

  • Scottish-born naturalist who in 1890 organized the Sierra Club to help preserve forests, which he called “God’s first temples” from uncontrolled logging by timber companies and other intrusions of civilizations.

  • He believed that logging, mining, and grazing on public lands should be eliminated

Comstock Lode:

  • The first major U.S. deposit of silver ore, discovered under what is now Virginia City, Nevada on the eastern slope of Mt. Davidson, a peak in the Virginia range

  • It is notable not just for the immense fortunes it generated and the large role those fortunes had in the growth of Nevada and San Francisco, but also for the advances in mining technology that it spurred.

William Barclay “Bat” Masterson (1853-1921):

  • Figure of American Old West – known as buffalo hunter, US Army scout, fisherman, gambler and one of best lawmen in West

  • Served as a Marshal/Sheriff of at least 5 towns as the West was being settled. Developed network of informants and arrested criminals in unconventional ways; waited until they got drunk or took a bath.

  • Became first sports writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the World Series in NY.

William Seward:

  • Secretary of State of Russia who got the French out of Mexico (brought in surplus civil war weapons), purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867(informally known as “Seward’s Icebox”).

    • Seward believed the Aleutian Islands, Alaska could be the site of coaling stations for merchant ships plying into the Pacific.

  • Opened negotiations with China to create the China Trade Treaty (1867)

Benjamin Wade:

  • A radical who, as temporary president of the Senate, would become president if Johnson were removed. Disliked by some moderates.

  • Wade was also critical of Lincoln's Reconstruction Plan. Known as part of the Wade-Davis Plan.

McCormick Reaper:

  • Cyrus McCormick, a blacksmith in Virginia, developed the first practical mechanical reaper to harvest grain in 1831. His father had earlier worked on the device but abandoned it, and Cyrus eventually took up the project and incorporated innovative features.

  • McCormick at first only sold his machines to local farmers, but ultimately started a factory in Chicago. The McCormick Reaper revolutionized agriculture, making it possible to harvest large areas of grain much faster than could have been done by men wielding scythes.

William T. Sherman:

  • He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched earth" policies that he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States

James A. Garfield:

  • 20th President of United States (March 1881 – September 1881)

  • Served as a major general in the US Army during the American Civil War and fought at the Battle of Shiloh. He entered congress as a Republican in 1863, opposing slavery and secession.

  • Because he spent so little time as President, Garfield accomplished very little. In his inaugural address, Garfield outlined a desire for Civil Service Reform which was eventually passed by his successor Chester A. Arthur in 1883 as the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.

  • He was shot while entering a railroad station in Washington D.C. on July 2, 1881. He was the second United States President to be assassinated.

O.O. Howard:

  • He was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. He was a corps commander noted for suffering two humiliating defeats, at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.

  • Under his direction, Freedmen’s Bureau took on many responsibilities that can be “daunting”

Greenback debate:

  • Campaign mainly by U.S. farmers to maintain or increase the amount of paper money in circulation. To finance the American Civil War the U.S. government issued paper money not backed by gold and printed in green ink, called greenbacks. After the war fiscal conservatives called for an end to greenbacks, but farmers and others who wanted to maintain high prices opposed the move. In 1868 the Democrats endorsed a plan to redeem some war bonds with new greenbacks.

  • Farmers wanted paper currency because they wanted interest rates to be low because 1) increase economic activity 2) borrow against last year’s harvest for next year 3) make agriculture products more saleable for overseas trade

Mormon Question:

  • Founded by Christian Joe Smith in 1833 in Buffalo and then ran out in which Brigham Young led followers to Utah in 1847. He had believed he found a holy book and started gathering followers. The question was for the government should they allow it. They followed polygamy and refused to serve in the military. They also did heavy converting of immigrants. In the end, moved from Buffalo to Salt Lake City and by 1896, religion was more accepted.

Hamilton Fish:

  • United States Secretary of State under Grant

  • Settled $180 million in the Alabama claim from Great Britain

Battle of Gettysburg:

  • Fought in southern Pennsylvania (July 1-3, 1863); the Confederate defeat and the simultaneous loss at Vicksburg marked the military turning point of the Civil War.

  • Lee vs. Mead(Union) – became a battle site by accident, Union won the battle

Battle of Vicksburg:

  • The fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi to General Ulysses S. Grant’s army on July 4, 1863, after two months of siege.

  • Was a turning point in the war because it gave the Union control of the Mississippi River.

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