Unit 07 – The Civil War



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Unit 07 – The Civil War
The following outline will guide your note taking during class lectures. It is your responsibility to complete the outline. If you miss a class, please read the scanned textbook pages and complete the section of the outline you missed. In addition, you may want to read the Digital History pages for this section: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/subtitles.cfm?titleID=58 (The Impending Crisis) and http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/subtitles.cfm?titleID=27 (The Civil War)

I. Presidential Timeline



  1. Zachary Taylor

  2. Millard Fillmore

  3. Franklin Pierce

  4. James Buchanan

  5. Abraham Lincoln

II. Causes of the Civil War

The issue of slavery dominated US politics in the early 1850s

  1. Compromise of 1850 -

    1. Causes of Compromise – debate over slavery in new territories gained from Mexican American War. Should they be admitted as free or slave states? Tensions were running high. It was not decided whether or not Claifornia would become a free or slave state. Texas was claiming the eastern part of New Mexico as its own even though the slavery issue had not been decided there. Northerners wanted the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia and Southerners were angry that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was not being totally enforced in the North. Southerners began thinking of secession.




    1. Description of Compromise - Proposed by Henry Clay. Agreement between Northern and Southern states to settle the controversy over slavery in the territory gained from the Mexican American War.

      1. California was admitted into the Union as a free state….benefits the North

      2. Stronger fugitive slave law….benefits the South

      3. Utah and New Mexico territories decide about slavery

        1. Popular Sovereignty - state decides

      4. Sale of slaves banned in D.C. But slavery itself may continue there

    2. Results of Compromise – Both sides could not agree to pass this Compromise.

      1. Henry Clay was very frustrated by this.




    1. Stephen Douglas – After Henry Clay and his initial proposal is rejected, Stephen Douglass, Democratic Senator from Illinois, begins pushing for the compromise’s success. Instead of proposing all the measures at once like Clay had, he had each voted on one at a time hoping to maintain a majority for each individually.

    2. Millard Fillmore - becomes President after Zachary Taylor passes. He supported the Compromise of 1850

    3. How was it a cause of the Civil War? – it is yet another band aid, it temporarily averted the crisis of Civil war or succession. North still hates the new Fugitive Slave Act.




  1. Fugitive Slave Act

    1. Fugitive Slave Act

      1. Description: Federal Commissioners were now allowed to pursue run away slaves in any state and return them to their owners. Slaves who were free for many years were returned to their owners because there was no statue of Limitations.

      2. Causes: to repay the South for allowing California into the Union as a free state and ending slave trade in the District of Columbia, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act to help Southern slave owners hold onto their slaves.

    2. Resistance to Fugitive Slave Act

      1. Personal Liberty Laws – Eight northern States enacted “personal liberty” laws that prohibited state officials from assisting in the return of runaways and extended the right of jury trial to fugitives.

      2. Underground Railroad – secret network of white abolitionists and free slaves who aided runaway slaves. The network hid slaves in secret tunnels and false cupboards. They provided them with food and clothing

        1. Harriet Tubman – One of the most famous “conductors” and was also a free slave. She helped over 300 slaves escape during her 19 trips back and forth to the South. None of the slaves she helped escape were never caught!

    3. How was it a cause of the Civil War? Caused great resentment between the North and South. There were gun battles between abolitionists and slave hunters in many states, Northerners felt violated and with the news laws being passed, the South began to feel that seceding was a good option.

  2. Uncle Tom’s Cabin

    1. Description / Moral - a book written by Harriet Beecher Stowe on slavery. Characters were set in stereotypes. It was a popular novel. In the book, slavery was not just a political issue, but a moral struggle as well. The book raised the question as to wheter a “good” Christian should be a slave owner.

    2. Harriet Beecher Stowe – An abolitionists who was born into a reform family in Connecticut. She came into contact with Slavery when she moved to Cincinnati, where she watched slaves being shipped to different locations along the Ohio River. She wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin which was published in 1852….became a best seller in the North and even sold well in the South. Over 1 million copies were sold.

    3. Responses to book – Northern abolitionists began protesting the Fugitive Slave Act even more, while Southerners claimed it was an attack on them and their way of life.

    4. How was it a cause of the Civil War? Caused more tension and protests in the North and South. Showed how big the chasm between the two sides was.

  3. Kansas-Nebraska Act

    1. Popular Sovereignty

    2. Stephen Douglas and the Organization of Western Territories

      1. Transcontinental Railroad

    3. Repeal of Missouri Compromise

    4. Kansas-Nebraska Act

    5. Results of Kansas-Nebraska Act

    6. How was it a cause of the Civil War?

  4. Bleeding Kansas”

    1. Settlement of Kansas – settlers from the North and South began going to Kansas. Both sides wanted Kansas. Some settlers simply went because they were poor farmers and wanted new land.

    2. “Border Ruffians” – Slavery supporters from Kansas who crossed the border of Kansas and Missouri to vote in the election. This helped the pro-slavery politicians win a majority. Abolitionists responded by creating a rival government.

    3. John Brown – An abolitionist who believed he was sent by God to fight slavery.

    4. Pottawatomie Massacre – Brown leads his followers to the pro-slavery town of Pottawatomie and hacks off the heads of five residents. Pro-slavery groups were now out for revenge.

    5. “Bleeding Kansas” – Dozens of attacks by abolitionists and slavery supporters begin in Kansas in which over 200 people were killed. Brown fled Kansas but leaves his armed followers behind. Kansas was in a civil war state.

    6. Free-Soil Party – Were not abolitionists, and many did not want blacks settling their communities because of the issues it created with white labor workers in the wage based labor force. They also did not want to give blacks the right to vote. Free Soilers did feel as if there was a conspiracy to spread slavery throughout the country.

    7. Violence in the Senate – Mass. Senator Charles Sumner, delivers an impassioned speech to the Senate, attacking slavery and its supporters. He focuses on Andrew Butler of South Carolina. He makes fun of his age and speech impairment. Butler’s nephew Congressman Preston Brooks, goes into Sumner’s office and begins hitting him in the head with a cane. Sumner is left with brain damage and Brooks is a hero to the South. Northerners said it was an attack in them and free speech.

    8. How was it a cause of the Civil War? – Compromises were not satisfying the North or the Couth any longer. Both grew further apart and new political parties emerge.

  5. Dred Scott Decision

    1. Dred Scott

    2. Facts of the Case

    3. Question before the Court

    4. Conclusion of the Court

    5. How was it a cause of the Civil War?

  6. Lincoln Douglas Debates – Campaign between Abraham Lincoln and Stepehn Douglass: One of the greatest political contests in Illinois history between popular Democrat Douglass and Repblican Lincoln. Took place in 1858

    1. Stephen Douglas –Two term Senator with a great record and a ton of money

    2. Abraham Lincoln – a relative unknown at the time, but was a Whig politician in Congress until he broke with the party in 1854. Lincoln was also a lawyer

    3. Cause of debate – Lincoln challenges Douglass to a series of seven debates to take place out in the open in Illinois. These debates were considered some of the best in US history.

    4. Positions and arguments during the debate

      1. Douglass – Believed in popular sovereignty and that all residents should have the right to vote on the slavery issue. He did not believe slavery was immoral, but that it was a backwards labor system that would not work in the prairies. Douglass believed that popular sovereignty would phase out slavery on its own.

      2. Lincoln – Believed that slavery was immoral and a system based on greed. Lincoln believed that slavery would not go away on its own. He thought legislation needed to be enacted to stop it.

    5. Freeport Doctrine – Douglass said that if people wanted to, they could go around the Dred Scott laws by electing officials who did not support slavery. Therefore, they would put police in power that would not enforce those laws. Douglas believed that all of this would happen with popular sovereignty.

      1. Significance – Lincoln emerged as a well spoken, straightforward, honest man. He developed a national reputation and became prominent on the Republican Party.

    6. How was it a cause of the Civil War – The answer Douglass gave to the slavery question caused spilt within his own Democratic Party between Northern and Southern Democratic. He said slavery cannot exist anywhere unless it is allowed by the police…so he danced around the question…

  7. John Brown’s Raid at Harper’s Ferry

    1. John Brown’s Actions – Brown secretly obtained finances from wealthy Northern Abolitionists. On October 16, 1859, he led 21 (black and white men into Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Brown wanted to capture the federal arsenal that was housed there and distribute weapons to slaves in the area to start an uprising

    2. Harper’s Ferry – Sixty prominent townsmen were held captive by Brown. He hoed local slaves would join the insurrection. No slaves came to help, but US marines captured brown and killed two of his men. Brown was tried fro treason in Virginia, found guilty, and hung.

    3. How was it a cause of the Civil War? – Northerners reacted with anger. Many called Brown a martyr who died for a noble cause. Speeches against the South became more intense. Many Northerners were beginning to favor a direct confrontation with the South.

  8. Southern Secession

    1. Election of 1860 – Four major candidates ran for president that year. Lincoln ran for the Republicans. Stephen Douglass was favored by the Northern Democrats. Southern Democrats backed Vice President John C. Breckinridge. A newly found party, the Constitutional Union Party, which ignored the slavery issue all together nominated John Bell.

    2. Southern Secession – With the election of Lincoln, Southerners felt they had lost their political voice. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. Southern white were fearful their way of life was about to end. Many did not realize how serious the South was about secession

    3. The Confederacy – Formed on February 4, 1861. Southern states that seceded from the Union form the Confederate States of America. The Confederates had a constitution that was similar to that of the United States, but protected slavery in all new and current territories.

    4. Jefferson Davis – President of the confederate States of America. Believed that the time for negotiations had passed and that the South must remain strong and united

    5. Border States – Eight slave states remained with the Union

    6. How was it a cause of the Civil War? South seceded and the North wanted to stop them.

III. The Civil War:



Main Idea The secession of the South started the Civil War.

  1. Fort Sumter –

    1. Description - on an island in the Charleston Harbor, location is significant. Was held (defended) by the Union, (even though it was in the south, the Union held it because Forts were Federal). Lincoln sent supplies to support the Fort.

      1. Cause: Confederate Soldiers took over federal installations in their states – courthouses, post offices, forts.

      2. Description:: Confederates attack Fort Sumter (symbol of federal authority)

      3. April 1861

      4. Significance- Official start of the Civil War….and it united the Union…we were attacked and lost Fort Sumter…now we seek revenge.

      5. Response in the North

        1. Lincoln calls for volunteers to serve for 90 days and Northerners rush to enlist

      6. Why is the Union fighting?

        1. To preserve the Union…to keep the US together. To prevent secession.

        2. To defend the loss at Fort Sumter

        3. To end slavery (but they did not claim that this was a reason)

      7. Why is the South Fighting?

        1. For the right to have slaves

        2. For states rights – the right to rule themselves, not be ruled by big government, fighting to maintain their economy and their way of life.

      8. Union Strategies

        1. Anaconda Plan – General Winfield’s Scott’s plan to slowly seal the South off from the rest of the world.

          1. Prevent import of manufactured goods.

          2. Prevent exportation of cotton

          3. Split Confederacy into 2 via the Mississippi River

          4. Capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA




      1. Confederate Strategies

        1. Defensive

        2. Attack and invade North if the opportunity arose

        3. Partake in “Cotton Diplomacy” – South thought other countries needed the South’s cotton..so they decided to withhold cotton from France and England (Europe)…this angered Europe…it was not successful…The South had hoped that England and France would have sided with the South to continue cotton.

  1. Battle of Bull Run

    1. Description:

      1. First major bloodshed of Civil War (July 1861)

      2. Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson got his nickname

      3. Confederate (South) victory

    2. Victor - Confederate

    3. Results

      1. Chaotic battle - ended hope for a short war

      2. General George McCleallan was put in charge of Union.

      3. Abe Lincoln called for 1 million troops (Union Soldiers) for a period of 3 years.




  1. Forts Henry and Donelson – The Union is on the Defensive. The goal is to capture the Confederate Forts on two very important rivers. (Mississippi)

    1. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant – he led the Union troops in both of these victories. He has decided that we will only accept unconditional surrender. (no negotiations)

    2. Victor in battles – The Union won both battles

    3. Results - Close to capturing the Mississippi River. (part of the Anaconda plan)

  2. Battle of Shiloh – The Confederates snuck up on the Union

    1. Victor – Initially, the Confederates won, but Grant counter attacks the next day. Grant realizes from this battle the fact that he has to send out scouts, dig trenches, and create forts to avoid being a sitting duck.

    2. Bloodshed – about ¼ of the 100,000 troops, 25,000 people were either wounded, captured or killed in the Battle of Shiloh

    3. Results – The Union won after the counterattack. This forecasted the bloodiness of this war.

  3. Seizing of the lower Mississippi

    1. Goal of the capture of ports – We want to capture the Port of New Orleans to cut off the Lower part of the Mississippi from the Confederates…trying to stop them from exporting. New Orleans was a busy port. It ws the Confederates largest Port City. If we seize the port of New Orleans, we would hurt the confederates.

    2. Admiral David Farragut – Battle was led by Union Admiral Farragut. The Port of New Orleans was seized. The Confederates lost their largest port city and were not able to easily import and export goods.




  1. Technology

    1. Blockade Runners – like a cigarette boat. A fast boat. Able to maneuver because they were so skinny. They were quick, but not armored.

    2. Ironclad Ships – were boats that were covered in iron. They were slow, but they could withstand a lot of oncoming fire…cannons, rifle fire. They could splinter wooden ships.

    3. The Monitor and the Merrimac – two famous Iron Clad Ships.

      1. Monitor (Union)

      2. Merrimac (Confederate)

    4. Other technological advances – The first use of hot air balloons. Used for scouting. Land grenades, telegraphs, camouflage.




  1. Leaders in the Civil War

    1. Gen. McClellan: Union, extremely cautious, he lacked courage and had so many opportunities to end the civil war.

    2. Robert E. Lee: confederate, used unconventional tactics (outside the box).

  1. Antietam took place near Maryland in 1862. Gen. Robert Lee took troops to seize union supplies. He also wants to rally supporters to sympathize. Won of the confederates dropped the war plans in a cigar box. A union soldier found the plan, and struck back.




    1. Victor: Mostly a draw, but technically the Union, only because they pushed the confederates down into Virginia.

    2. Significance: bloodiest single day of the civil war. 23,000 people died in a day.

    3. Results: Blow to the confederate moral. The news became known around the world. Britain and France didn’t want to support the confederacy because they look like a loser. General McClellan disobeyed Lincoln’s commands, and he was fired. He was then replaced by Grant.

IV. The Politics of War

  1. British Neutrality: does “cotton diplomacy” work?

    1. Significance: England is threatening the U.S. so they give the ship back. We avoided war with England, which would have been devastating to the U.S. if it happened.

    2. Trent Affair: confederacy wanted to gain support from Britain and France. Description: 2 confederate diplomats travel on British merchant ship – Trent and are captured by Union.

  2. Emancipation Proclamation: Freeing slaves.

    1. Lincoln’s early views on slavery, the presidency, and war goals: felt slavery was morally wrong. Goal as a president was to preserve the union, his goal wasn’t to abolish slavery.

    1. Lincoln’s early views on slavery, the presidency, and war goals

      1. Used Constitutional power s to end slavery

        1. Lincoln authorized army to emancipate slaves.

        2. Description of Proclamation

          1. Lincoln’s statement of military action that freed slaves behind Confederate lines, outside Union control

    2. Results of Proclamation

      1. Slaves were armed with weapons

      2. Lots of free blacks in the North joined the UNION forces in masses!

      3. The war has a high moral purpose now.

      4. Ensured that England would not support the Confederacy in the War.

      5. Some in the North (Democrats) were not happy b/c they felt the North was now prolonging the war. The war was now more about freeing the slaves so the Suth will fight “forever” b/c the South will not concede. They will not want to give up their slaves.




  1. Dissent – disagree, argue. The dissenters are the ones who disagree. The sympathizer – those in the North who side with the South. (riots in NYC). Lincoln suggests we arrest those who are dissenters in the North.

    1. Suspension of Habeas Corpus – Authorities may now arrest someone without bringing charges against them. Habeas Corpus ( a legal right under the Constitution) was suspended by Lincoln. People were detained for no reason. 13,000 dissenters were arrested

    2. Seizure of telegraph offices – another way to deal with dissent was to stop communication. So Lincoln seized telegraph offices, so dissenters or sympathizers were not allowed to communicate.

    3. Arrest of Copperheads – Lincoln ordered the arrest of Copperheads (Northern Democrats who advocated peace with South) A “copperhead” in the civil war were Northern Democrats (sympathizers) who advocated peace with the South. Lincoln wanted them arrested as well.

    4. Expansion of presidential powers in wartime – Lincoln expanded his power as President. Set a precedent in American History. Anytime we go to war in the US, the President takes enormous liberties with what he can do.

  2. Conscription

    1. Definition – a draft that forces members of the population to serve in the army.

      1. Able bodied white men– men older than 50 were too old…so 17 – 50 year olds were drafted

      2. Exemptions.

        1. Could hire substitutes pr pay a commutation fee to serve in their places

        2. Plantation owners with 20+ slaves

    2. Causes for conscription law – need for more soldiers.

    3. Responses to conscription laws – draft riots

  3. Draft Riots

    1. Cause: People were angry that they had to fight a war to free the slaves. The Irish specifically thought that after the slaves were free that they had to compete for jobs with them in north.

    2. Description: Burning of republican newspapers, homes of anti slavery men, afro-Americans, and orphanages. Rumors that New York was becoming the twelfth confederate state. 4 days of large scale riots

    3. Results large scale death and destruction in NYC

V. Life During Wartime - the civil war brought about dramatic social and economic changes in American society.


  1. Soldiers: serious discrimination. There was a law that was passed in 1862 law allows African Americans into military. There was a large-scale enlistment after the Emancipation Proclamation.

  2. Discrimination in military: Blacks didn’t get equal pay, and weren’t allowed to fill higher positions.

  3. Mortality rate: much higher then the whites. They had less armor, and were put in front of the lines.

  4. Treatment of captured African American soldiers by Confederacy: treatment is often hanged (lynched), tortured, and enslavement.

  5. 54th Massachusetts Infantry: Most famous OF all black union infantry. This paved way for other African American units.

B. Slave Resistance

a. Methods of resistance: slaves escaped from the south, slaves committing acts of sabotage, killing crops. No there was no general large-scale slave uprising, because there was not a good enough way to communicate.

b. Result of resistance: the confederacy got a negative effect, and it contributed to the union victory.

C. Life on the Home Front:

  1. Confederate Home Front: There were food shortages, riots, and large-scale destruction. They used slash and burn techniques. Confederate currency inflation. A lot of soldiers left to go to care of their families because life on the home front was so terrible.

  2. Union Home Front: industries boomed, war was a profitable industry. Innovation of new technology. Abraham Lincoln issued the first income tax.

D. Role of Women: they took over jobs. In the south they took over plantations and north industry. Woman were also nurses on battlefields.

  1. Civil War Medicine: death and disease was pervasive.

    1. US Sanitary Commission: there job was to improve hygienic conditions of army camps. The U.S. had to recruit and train nurses. This was the first time this happened n U.S. history.

    2. Dorothea Dix: first superintendent of women nurses. One of the requirements for being a nurse is that you have to be old an unattractive so you wont distract men.

    3. Clara Barton: “angel of the battlefield.” She found the American Red Cross, and was the first president.

  2. Prison Camps

    1. Treatment of prisoners: both sides were guilty of inhumane treatment. We don’t have laws yet against bad treatment of P.O.W. Very little food, little water, hot conditions. 34 square feet per man. 1/3rd of the men in Andersonville died. Many people died of ammonia. It was especially worse if you were an African American.

VI. The Confederacy Wears Down

  1. Results of Defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg

    1. Shape of Confederate army – The Confederates lost this battle, they ended up retreating after 3 days of serious, intense fighting. VERY bloody, This was the bloodiest battle

    2. Goal of Confederacy – Confederates were on the offensive. The goal was to capture the high ground in Cemetery Ridge, Penn.

    3. Significance – turning point of Civil War b/c Confederacy was crippled, they lost 28,000 men.

    4. The Union lost 23,000 men




  1. The Battle of Vicksburg’s - goal was for the UNION to take control of Mississippi River. Vicksburg was bombed without mercy by the Union. Concept of total war. Confederate troops pleaded with commanders for surrender.

    1. Significance – Mississippi is now 100% under Union control. (Part of the Anaconda plan)

  2. Gettysburg Address July 1-3 1863

    1. Cemetery Ridge, Penn.

    2. Cause – large scale death at Gettysburg

    3. Description – Lincoln’s speech at cemetery in Gettysburg commemorating the dead

    4. Significance- speech “remade America”

      1. “The United States are”

      2. “The United States is”




  1. Grant and Sherman

    1. Grant’s new position – Grant is now in charge of the Union Army

    2. Sherman’s new position – Commander of the military division in Mississippi

    3. Total War – Grant’s plan to annihilate the South

      1. Why use total war? – To annihilate your enemy so badly they can not counter attack. Wipe out farms, railroads,

  2. Sherman’s Deadly March

    1. Causes – belief in Total War

    2. Description – Sherman and Union Army march East through GA and create a wide path of destruction.

    3. Results

  3. Election of 1864

    1. Lincoln’s new party and running mate –

      1. Lincoln renamed party National Union Party (to attract Democrats)

        1. VP = Andrew Johnson

    2. Opposition

      1. – George McClellaan (Democrat who joined por-Southern party to call for innediate armistice)

      2. John C. Fremont (Radical Republican favored harsher proposal than Lincoln’s for readmitting Confederate states)

    3. Reasons Lincoln won election – wins second term. He was President with two political parties.

  4. Surrender at Appomattox Court House, VA

    1. Causes of surrender – Union army approaching capitol of Confederacy

    2. Terms of surrender – generous (At request of Lincoln!)

      1. Grant paroled Lee’s soldiers and sent them home with personal possessions, horses and 3 days’ rations.

VII. The Legacy of War

The Civil War settled long-standing disputes over states’ rights and slavery

  1. Political Changes

    1. People’s view of the federal government – Recognition that the Federal Govt. is supreme

    2. How the federal government exerts its power –

      1. The Federal Govt. can tax

      2. Issuance of a tax

      3. Federal Govt is supreme




  1. Economic Changes

    1. National Bank Act

    2. Northern Economy – flourished

      1. because they had technology and business.

    3. Southern Economy – devastated!

        1. Loss of slave labor

    4. 2/3 of our nation’s budget will go toward paying for the war.

  2. Social Changes

    1. Human cost of war

      1. 360,000 Union Soldiers dead

      2. 275,000 injured (cost money to take care of the injured)

      3. 260,000 Confederate soldiers dead.

      4. 225,000 Confederate Soldiers injured

      5. interruptions in education, careers, families

    2. Thirteenth (13th) Amendment – Abolished slavery




  1. Fate of Military Leaders

    1. Robert E. Lee – was stripped of his citizenship. He couldn’t vote or run for political office.

  2. Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

    1. Location of assassination – April of 1965

    2. Assassin – is shot in the head by John Wilkes Booth. He escaped the search party for some time.

    3. Results of assassination

      1. Problems…how do you help the states rejoin the Union

      2. How do we help all of the newly freed slaves?


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