The Civil War and Reconstruction

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The Civil War and Reconstruction


Why It Matters

The Civil War was a milestone in American history. The four-year-long struggle determined the nation's future. With the North's victory, slavery was abolished. The war itself introduced modern military innovations such as the use of railroads to move troops, the telegraph to speed communications, and reliance on conscription in a "total war" effort. After the war, the nation struggled to bring the South back into the Union during a contentious period known as Reconstruction.

The Impact Today

The Civil War and Reconstruction permanently changed the nation.

• The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, while the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments provided constitutional protections for all American citizens.

• The power of the federal government was strengthened.

• The Radical Republicans' rule so antagonized the South that the region remained solidly Democratic for nearly a century.

Is The American Republic Since 1877 Video The Chapter 7 video, "Lincoln and the Civil War," chronicles the president's efforts to solve the problems between the North and the South.

1861 • First Battle of Bull Run

1861 • Czar Alexander II emancipates Russian serfs

1863 • Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation

• Battle of Gettysburg

1863 • French troops occupy Mexico City

1865 • Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse

• John Wilkes Booth assassinates Lincoln

A. Johnson 1865-1869

1865 • Gregor Mendel's Law of Heredity stated

1868 • House impeaches President Johnson

Grant 1859-1877

1868 • Meiji Restoration begins Japanese modernization 1869

1869 • First ships pass through Suez Canal


---Charge by Don Troiani, 1990, depicts the advance of the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry during the Battle of Chancellorsville.

1870 • Fifteenth Amendment ratified

1871 • Unification of Germany completed; German Empire proclaimed

1873 • Panic of 1873 paralyzes nation

1873 • Sigmund Freud enter Vienna University

1874 • First Impressionist art exhibit launches Modern Art movement

1875 • "Whiskey Ring' scandal breaks

1876 • Belgian king Leopold II begins establishing trading posts in Africa; European nations begin dividing control of Africa

1877 • Compromise of 1877 ends Reconstruction efforts


Chapter Overview

Visit the American Republic Since 1877 Web site at and click on Chapter Overviews—Chapter 7 to preview chapter information.



The Opposing Sides

Guide to Reading

Main Idea

The North and the South each had distinct advantages and disadvantages at the beginning of the Civil War.

Key Terms and Names

Robert E. Lee, Legal Tender Act, greenback, War Democrat, Copperhead, conscription, habeas corpus, Trent Affair, attrition, Anaconda Plan

Reading Strategy

Taking Notes As you read about the North and South's advantages and disadvantages at the start of the Civil War, use the major headings of the section to create an outline similar to the one below.

Reading Objectives

Assess the strengths and weaknesses of each region's economy.

Contrast the political situations of the Union and the Confederacy.

Section Theme

Groups and Institutions The Confederacy's weak central government had difficulty coordinating the war effort.

Preview of Events

April 1861 Robert E Lee resigns from the U.S. Army

November 1861 Trent Affair begins

February 1862 Congress passes Legal Tender Act

April 1862 Confederate Congress passes conscription law

An American Story

While husking corn on his family's Indiana farm in April 1861, 16-year-old Theodore Upson heard a neighbor tell his father Jonathan that "the Rebels have fired upon and taken Fort Sumter."

"Father said little," Upson remembered. However, when the family sat down for dinner later, the boy saw that his father "looked ten years older."

Upson later recalled, "We sat down to the table. Grandma wanted to know what was the trouble. Father told her and she began to cry. 'Oh, my poor children in the South. Now they will suffer!'"

Upson's father offered to let their Southern relatives come and stay with them at the farm, where he thought they would be safer. "No, they will not do that" the grandmother replied. "There is their home. There they will stay. Oh, to think that I should have lived to see the day when Brother should rise against Brother."

adapted from With Sherman to the Sea

Choosing Sides

On the same day that he learned his home state of Virginia had voted to secede from the Union, Robert E. Lee—one of the best senior officers in the United States Army received an offer from General Winfield Scott to command Union troops. Although Lee had spoken against secession and considered slavery "a moral and political evil," he wrote, "I cannot raise my hand against my birthplace, my home, my children." Instead, he resigned from the army and offered his services to the Confederacy.


---Refer to Resources of the Union and of the Confederacy chart on page 245 in your textbook.

Chart Skills

1. Interpreting Graphs. In which category is the difference between the Union and the Confederacy the greatest?

2. Making Inferences. What additional factors are not considered when comparing population percentages between the Union and the Confederacy?

Lee was only one of hundreds of military officers who resigned to join the Confederacy These officers enabled the South to organize an effective fighting force quickly So too did the strong military tradition in the South. In 1860 seven of the nation's eight mill-tart colleges were in the South. These colleges prov­ided the South with a large number of trained officers to lead its armies.

Just as the South had a strong military tradition, the North had a strong naval tradition More than three-quarters of the United States Navy's officers came from the North. At the same time, the crews of American merchant ships were almost entire]) from the North They provided a large pool of trained sailors for the Union nay) as it expanded.

Reading Check Explaining Why was the South able to quickly organize an army?

The Opposing Economies

Although the South had many experienced offi­cers to lead its troops in battle, the North had several economic advantages. In 1860 the population of the North was about 22 million, while the South had about 9 million people The North's larger popula­tion gave it o great advantage in raising an army and in supporting the )) or effort.


Industry and Agriculture The North's industries also gave the region an important economic advantage over the South. In 1860 almost 90 percent of the nation's factories were located in the Northern states. Thus, the North could provide its troops with ammuni­tion and other supplies more easily.

In addition, the South had only halt as many miles of railroad track as the North and had only one line—from Memphis to Chattanooga-connecting the western states of the Confederacy to the east. This made it much easier for Northern troops to disrupt the Southern rail system and prevent the movement of supplies and troops.

Financing the War Both the North and the South had to act quickly to raise money for the war. The North enjoyed several financial advantages. In addition to controlling the national treasury, the Union could expect continued revenue from tariffs. Many Northern banks also held large reserves of cash, which they loaned the government by pur­chasing bonds.

In order to make more money available for emer­gency use, Congress passed the Legal Tender Act in February 1862. This act created a national currency and allowed the government to issue paper money. The paper money came to be known as greenbacks, because of its color. Although the use of paper money helped to cause inflation--a decline in the value of money—it also enabled the government to pay its bills and keep the war effort going.

In contrast to the Union, the Confederacy's finan­cial situation was not good, and it became worse over


time. Most Southern planters were in debt and unable to buy bonds. At the same time, Southern banks were small and had few cash reserves. As a result, they could not buy many bonds either.

The best hope for the South to raise money was by taxing trade. Shortly after the war began, however, the Union Navy blockaded Southern ports, which reduced trade and revenues. The Confederacy then resorted to direct taxation of its people, but many Southerners refused to pay.

The Confederacy also printed paper money to pay its bills. This caused rapid inflation in the South, and Confederate paper money eventually became almost worthless. By the end of the war, the South had experienced 9,000 percent inflation, corn-pared to only 80 percent in the North.

Reading Check Examining How was having a larger population than the South an advantage for the North?

Linking Past & Present

The Income Tax

Past: Funding the War

On July I, 1862, a new tax law gave the United States a comprehensive federal income tax. A temporary way of funding the war debt, the tax was repealed in 1872. Another income tax passed in 1894 was challenged in court, and the Supreme Court ruled that a direct tax on incomes was unconstitutional. The Sixteenth Amendment (1913) again made the income tax legal.

Present: The IRS Today

Today the income tax is the biggest source of federal government funding. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) administers the tax, receiving and processing about 200 million returns every year.

The Political Situation

As both sides worked to address their various eco­nomic dilemmas, they also had to contend with a variety of political problems, including opposition to the war in the North and quarrels over war policies in the South.

Party Politics and Dissent in the North As the Civil War began, President Lincoln had to grapple with divisions within h is own party. Many members of the Republican Party were abolitionists. Lincoln's goal, however, was to preserve the Union, even if it meant allowing slavery to continue.

The Republican president also had to contend with the Democrats, who were divided themselves. One faction, called War Democrats, strongly sup­ported a war to restore the Union but opposed end­ing slavery Another faction of Northern Democrats were known as the Peace Democrats. This group opposed the war and called for the reunion of the states by negotiation rather than force. Many Republicans viewed them as traitors and referred to them as Copperheads, after the poisonous snake.

One major disagreement between Republicans and Democrats concerned the enactment in 1862 of a militia law that allowed states to use conscription —or forcing people through a draft into military serv­ice—if this was necessary to till their regiments. Many Democrats opposed the law, and riots erupted in several strongly Democratic districts in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Criticism also greeted President Lincoln's decision to suspend writs of habeas corpus. Habeas corpus refers to a person's right not to be imprisoned unless charged with a crime and given a trial. A writ of habeas corpus is a court order that requires the gov­ernment to either charge an imprisoned person with a crime or let the person go free. When writs of habeas corpus are suspended, a person can be imprisoned indefinitely without trial. In this case, President Lincoln suspended the writ for anyone who openly supported the rebels or encouraged oth­ers to resist the militia draft. In taking such action, Lincoln justified limits on speech in wartime: "Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts," the president asked, "while 1 must not touch a hair tit a wily agitator who induces him to desert?"


Weak Southern Government Although the South had no organized opposition party, Confederate presi­dent Jefferson Davis still faced political problems. The


Confederate constitution emphasized states' rights and limited the central government's power. This often interfered with Davis's ability to conduct the war with a united commitment from every Confederate state government.

Although many Southern leaders supported the war, some opposed lefferson Davis when he sup­ported conscription and established martial law early in 1862. They objected to the Confederacy forcing people to join the army. They also opposed the sus­pension of writs of habeas corpus, which the South had also introduced.

Reading Check Summarizing How here the Northern Democrats divided over the Civil War?

The Diplomatic Challenge

The outbreak of the Civil War put the major gov­ernments of Europe in a difficult situation. The United States government did not want the Europeans interfering in the war. Confederate lead­ers wanted the Europeans, particularly the British, to recognize the South and provide it with military assistance.

Southern leaders knew that European textile facto­ries depended on Southern cotton. To pressure the British and French, many Southern planters agreed to stop selling their cotton in these markets until the Europeans recognized the Confederacy.

In the autumn of 1861, as the European nations considered their course of action, two Confederate diplomats set out from Havana, Cuba, aboard the British vessel Trent to meet with European officials. When the Trent left Havana, the Union warship San Jacinto intercepted it and arrested the men.

After several tense weeks, the United States freed the men, and they continued on their journey to seek European allies. Although their arrest in the so-called Trent Affair had excited interest worldwide, their diplomatic mission tailed. In the end, both Britain and France chose not to go to war against the United States.

Reading Check Explaining Why was it important for the Confederate States to be recognized by the industrialized European nations?

The First Modern War

As they readied for battle, the North and South were about to embark on what was, in many respects, the first modem war. Most of the wars fought in Europe during the previous two centuries were fought by small, disciplined armies with lim­ited goals. In contrast, the Civil War involved huge armies that consisted mostly of civilian volunteers and which required vast amounts of supplies and equipment.

Military Technology and Tactics The Civil War introduced new styles of fighting. Traditionally, troops would march toward the enemy in tight columns, firing in massed volleys. These were neces­sary tactics earlier in the century because soldiers used smoothbore muskets loaded with round metal balls. These muskets were very inaccurate except at close range.

By the 1850s, French and American inventors had developed an inexpensive conoidal—or cone-­shaped—bullet that could be used in rifles. Rifles fir­ing colloidal bullets were accurate at much greater distances. This meant that troops charging at enemy lines would be fired upon with more accuracy, pro­ducing much higher casualties.

At the same time, instead of standing in a line, troops defending positions in the Civil War began to use trenches and barricades to protect themselves. The combination of rifles and protective coyer created situ­ations where the attacking force often suffered very high casualties. High casualties meant that armies bad to keep replacing their soldiers. Attrition—the wear­ing down of one side by the other through exhaustion of soldiers and resources thus played a critical role as the war dragged on.

World History



The cannon and rifle fire that echoed throughout the valleys of Tennessee during Grants campaign had become a familiar sound on the battlefields of the United States and the rest of the world by the mid-1800s. The key ingredient in these powerful weapons was gunpow­der. Scholars believe that the Chinese invented this explosive mixture and were using it in fireworks and signals as early as the 9005. In 1304 the Arabs used the powder to develop the first gun. In the centuries that fol­lowed, numerous nations would develop and improve on the gun—which made all other weapons before it obsolete. For what peaceful purposes can gun­powder be used?


The Anaconda Plan

•Blockade Southern ports on the Atlantic

•Isolate the Confederacy from European aid and trade

•Cut off flow of supplies, equipment, money, food and cotton

•Exhaust Southern resources, forcing surrender

• Control the Mississippi with Union gunboats

• Divide the eastern part of the Confederacy from the western part

• Capture New Orleans, Vicksburg, and Memphis

• Cut off shipping to and from interior

The South's Strategy Early in the war, Jefferson Davis imagined a struggle similar to the American war for independence against Britain. Like George Washington, Southern generals would pick their bat­tles carefully, attacking and retreating when necessary to avoid heavy tosses. By waging a defen­sive war of attrition, Davis believed the South could torch, the Union to spend its resources until it became tired of the war and agreed to negotiate.

Much like Lincoln in the North, however, President Davis felt pressure to strike for a quick victory. Many strategists of this era were influenced by Napoleon's battle strategy in his European wars: Victory should come with one climactic battle. Many Southerners also believed that their military traditions made them superior fighters, and they scorned defen­sive warfare. In the war, Southern troops went on the offensive in eight battles, suffering 20,000 more casualties than the Union by charging enemy lines. These were heavy losses the South could not afford.

The Union's Anaconda Plan Early in the war, the general in chief of the United States, Winfield Scott, proposed a strategy for defeat­ing the South. Scott suggested that the Union blockade Confederate ports and send gunboats down the Mississippi River to divide the Confederacy in two. The South, thus separated, would gradually run out of resources and sur­render. The plan would take time, Scott admit­ted, but it would defeat the South with the least amount of bloodshed

Many Northerners rejected the plan as too slow and indirect for certain victors, favoring instead a strong, quick invasion of the South. Northern news­papers scorned this strategy, which they called the Anaconda Plan, after the snake that slowly strangles its prey to death Lincoln eventually agreed to imple­ment Scott's suggestions and imposed a blockade of Southern ports Ultimately, however, he and other Union leaders realized that only a long mar that focused on destroying the Smith's armies had any chance of success.

Reading Check Describing What war strategy did Jefferson Davis develop for the South?


Checking for Understanding

1. Define: greenback, conscription, habeas corpus, attrition.

2. Identify: Robert E. Lee, Legal Tender Act, War Democrat, Copperhead, Trent Affair, Anaconda Plan.

3. Explain why Robert E. Lee refused Lincoln's offer to command Union troops

Reviewing Themes

4. Groups and Institutions How did a belief in states' rights hamper the South during the war?

Critical Thinking

5. Comparing Why did the North have an economic advantage over the South?

6. Analyzing Why did the South resort to using paper money during the war?

7. Organizing Using a graphic organizer similar to the one below, list the mili­tary innovations of the Civil War era.

Analyzing Visuals

8. Analyzing Charts Examine the chart on the Anaconda Plan on this page. How would a naval blockade accom­plish several goals of the Anaconda Plan at once?

Writing About History

9. Descriptive Writing Imagine that you are living in one of the border states at the beginning of the Civil War. Write a letter to a relative explaining why you plan to join either the Union or Confederate army.



The Early Stages

Guide to Reading

Main Idea

Union forces suffered defeat in Virginia, advanced down the Mississippi, and stopped the South's invasion of Maryland.

Key Terms and Names

"Stonewall" Jackson, bounty, blockade runner, David G. Farragut, Ulysses S. Grant, Emancipation Proclamation, hardtack, prisoner of war

Reading Strategy

Categorizing As you read about the early battles of the Civil War, complete a chart similar to the one below by filling in the results of each battle listed.

Reading Objectives

Describe the progress of the war in the West and the East.

Evaluate the soldiers' wartime experiences.

Section Theme

Geography and History The Union hoped to seize the Mississippi River valley and cut the Confederacy in two.

Preview of Events

1861 Confederates defeat Union forces at First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas)

April 1862 20,000 casualties at Battle of Shiloh

September 1862 23,000 casualties at Battle of Antietam

1863 The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect

An American Story

On July 21, 1861—a hot, sultry Sunday perfect for family outings— hundreds of people from Washington, D.C., picnicked along Bull Run near the northern Virginia town of Manassas Junction. They had gathered to watch the first battle between the Union and Confederate forces.

"The spectators were all excited: one reporter wrote, "and a lady with an opera glass who was near me was quite beside herself when an unusually heavy discharge roused the current of her blood: "That is splendid! Oh, my! Is not that first-rate?"

The spectators who came to Bull Run expected a short exciting fight and a quick surren­der by the rebel troops. Unexpectedly, the Confederates routed the Union army. A reporter with the Boston Journal, Charles Coffin, described the chaos:

“Men fall.... They are bleeding, torn, and mangled.... The trees are splintered, crushed, and broken, as if smitten by thunderbolts.... There is smoke, dust, wild talking, shouting; hissings, howlings, explosions. It is a new, strange, unanticipated experience to the soldiers of both armies, far different from what they thought it would be.”

quoted in Voices of the Civil War

Mobilizing the Troops

During the first few months of the war, President Lincoln felt tremendous pressure to strike hard against the South. He approved an assault on Confederate troops gathered only 25 miles (40 km) south of Washington, D.C. The First Battle of Bull Run, as it came to be called, started well for the Union as it forced Confederate troops to retreat.


The Confederate cause was saved when reinforce­ments from Virginia under Thomas J. Jackson arrived. The commander of the retreating troops yelled: "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!" Jackson became known as "Stonewall" Jackson, and he sent on to become one of the Confederate army's most effective com­manders. With the help of Jackson' s reinforcements, the Union assault at Bull Run tailed

The Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run made it clear that the North would need a large, well trained army to defeat the South. President Lincoln had originally called for 75,0110 men to serve for three months. The day after Bull Run, he signed another bill for the enlistment of 500,000 men for three years.

The Ninth initially tried to encourage voluntary enlistment by offering a bounty —a sum of money given as a bonus—to individuals who promised three years of military sew ice. Eventually, however, both the Union and the Confederacy instituted the draft.

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