Civil War Spark Notes

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The Civil War 1850–1865 History SparkNotes SPARK ARKNOTES W W W. S PA R K N O T E S . C O M Copyright ©2005 by SparkNotes llc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, or distributed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, any file sharing system, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of SparkNotes llc. sparknotes is a registered trademark of SparkNotes llc. Th
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   W W W . S   P  A  R  K  N  O T  E   S   . C  O M S ARK AK  Copyright ©  2005 by SparkNotes llc  .All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, or distributed in any formor by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, any file sharing system, or anyinformation storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of SparkNotes llc  .  sparknotes  is a registered trademark of SparkNotes llc  .This edition published by Spark PublishingSpark PublishingA Division of SparkNotes llc120  Fifth Avenue, 8  th FloorNew York, NY 10011USA  The Civil War1850–1865  History SparkNotes   W W W . S   P  A  R  K  N  O T  E   S   . C  O M S ARK AK  Copyright 2005 by SparkNotes LLC.  2      A    l    l   r   i   g    h   t   s   r   e   s   e   r   v   e    d .   N   o   p   a   r   t   o    f   t    h   i   s   p   u    b    l   i   c   a   t   i   o   n   m   a   y    b   e   r   e   p   r   o    d   u   c   e    d ,   t   r   a   n   s   m   i   t   t   e    d ,   o   r    d   i   s   t   r   i    b   u   t   e    d   i   n   a   n   y    f   o   r   m    o   r    b   y   a   n   y   m   e   a   n   s ,   e    l   e   c   t   r   o   n   i   c   o   r   m   e   c    h   a   n   i   c   a    l ,   i   n   c    l   u    d   i   n   g   p    h   o   t   o   c   o   p   y ,   r   e   c   o   r    d   i   n   g ,   a   n   y    fi    l   e   s    h   a   r   i   n   g   s   y   s   t   e   m ,   o   r   a   n   y   i   n    f   o   r   m   a   t   i   o   n   s   t   o   r   a   g   e   a   n    d   r   e   t   r   i   e   v   a    l   s   y   s   t   e   m ,   w   i   t    h   o   u   t   t    h   e   p   r   i   o   r   w   r   i   t   t   e   n   p   e   r   m   i   s   s   i   o   n   o    f   S   p   a   r    k   N   o   t   e   s   L   L   C .  Overview  T  he Civil War was certainly the most catastrophic event in American history. More than 600  ,  000  North-erners and Southerners died in the war, a greater number than all those who had died in all other Americanwars combined. As many as 50  ,  000  died in a single battle. The high death toll particularly hurt the South,which had a smaller population going into the war.Nearly every American lost someone in the war: a friend, relative, brother, son, or father. In fact, the warwas so divisive that it split some families completely in two. One U.S. senator, for example, had a son whoserved as a general in the Union army and another as a general for the Confederacy. Even the “Great Emanci-pator” Abraham Lincoln himself had four brothers-in-law who fought for the South.As disastrous as the war was, however, it also brought the states—in the North as well as the South—closer together. After the war, the United States truly was united  in every sense of the word. Most obvious, thewar ended the debate over slavery that had divided North and South since the drafting of the Constitution in  1787  . States had bickered over Missouri, the Wilmot Proviso and the Mexican Cession, Texas, California, theFugitive Slave Laws,  Dred Scott v. Sanford  , Bleeding Kansas, and John Brown and had still been unable toresolve the dispute. In this sense, the Civil War had become inevitable once it was clear that compromises suchas the three-fifths clause, the Missouri Compromise, and the Compromise of  1850  had little effect. With eachdecade, the two regions had drifted further and further apart. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of  1863  ,however, ended the debate for good. Lincoln knew that only when slavery had been abolished would thedebate end and the Union be reunited.The Union victory also ended the debates over states’ rights versus federalism. Southerners and Demo-crats had believed since Thomas Jefferson’s and James Madison’s Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions thatstates had the right to overrule the federal government when Congress acted unconstitutionally. In otherwords, they believed that states—not the Supreme Court—had the power of judicial review to determinewhether Congress’s laws were constitutional or unconstitutional. John C. Calhoun had raised this point in his  South Carolina Exposition and Protest during the Nullification Crisis of the 1830  s when he had urged his stateto nullify the Tariff of Abominations. Whigs and Republicans, on the other hand, generally believed theopposite—that only the Supreme Court had the power of judicial review and that it was the duty of the statesto obey the Court. The South’s defeat asserted federal power over the states and settled the debate once andfor all.The Civil War was also a significant event in world history because the North’s victory proved that democ-racy worked. When war broke out in 1861  , many monarchs in Europe had believed smugly that the UnitedStates was on the brink of collapse. Democracy, they argued, was too volatile, too messy, and too fragile to beof any practical use. Lincoln himself recognized the historical significance of the war even before it was over.In his Gettysburg Address, he argued that the Civil War was a test for democracy and that the outcome of thewar would determine the fate of representative government for the entire world. In his words, “. . . we herehighly resolve . . . that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from theearth.”   W W W . S   P  A  R  K  N  O T  E   S   . C  O M S ARK AK  Copyright 2005 by SparkNotes LLC.  3      A    l    l   r   i   g    h   t   s   r   e   s   e   r   v   e    d .   N   o   p   a   r   t   o    f   t    h   i   s   p   u    b    l   i   c   a   t   i   o   n   m   a   y    b   e   r   e   p   r   o    d   u   c   e    d ,   t   r   a   n   s   m   i   t   t   e    d ,   o   r    d   i   s   t   r   i    b   u   t   e    d   i   n   a   n   y    f   o   r   m    o   r    b   y   a   n   y   m   e   a   n   s ,   e    l   e   c   t   r   o   n   i   c   o   r   m   e   c    h   a   n   i   c   a    l ,   i   n   c    l   u    d   i   n   g   p    h   o   t   o   c   o   p   y ,   r   e   c   o   r    d   i   n   g ,   a   n   y    fi    l   e   s    h   a   r   i   n   g   s   y   s   t   e   m ,   o   r   a   n   y   i   n    f   o   r   m   a   t   i   o   n   s   t   o   r   a   g   e   a   n    d   r   e   t   r   i   e   v   a    l   s   y   s   t   e   m ,   w   i   t    h   o   u   t   t    h   e   p   r   i   o   r   w   r   i   t   t   e   n   p   e   r   m   i   s   s   i   o   n   o    f   S   p   a   r    k   N   o   t   e   s   L   L   C .  Summary of Events  The Election of 1848  Some historians have called the Mexican War the first battle of the Civil War, for it revived intense and heateddebate about the expansion of slavery in the West. Tensions came to a head when Pennsylvanian congressmanDavid Wilmot set forth the Wilmot Proviso  in 1846  , proposing that slavery be banned in the West. Not sur-prisingly, Southerners killed the proviso in the Senate before it could become law.Nonetheless, the damage had been done, and expansion of slavery remained the hot topic in the election of   1848  . The Whigs nominated war hero General Zachary Taylor  on a rather noncommittal platform (theydidn’t want to lose Southern votes), while the Democrats nominated Lewis Cass  . Hoping to appeal to votersfrom both regions, Cass proposed applying popular sovereignty  to the slavery question, arguing that the citi-zens living in each territory should decide for themselves whether theirs would become a slave state or a freestate. Taylor won the election, but he died after only sixteen months in office, and Vice President Millard Fill-more  became president in 1850  .  The Compromise of 1850  Because Taylor and Fillmore had never made their views on slavery in the West clear, the issue remainedunresolved. When California applied for admission as a free state, the debate picked up right where it had leftoff. In Congress, heavyweights Daniel Webster  and Henry Clay  met for the last time to hammer out a com-promise. After much debate, the North and South finally came to an agreement that both sides thoughtwould be lasting and binding.There were five components to this Compromise of  1850  . First, California would be admitted as a freestate. Second, popular sovereignty would determine the fate of the other western territories. Third, Congresswould cancel some of Texas’s debts and, in exchange, give some of Texas’s western land to New Mexico Terri-tory. Fourth, slave trading would be banned in Washington, D.C. Finally, Congress would pass a tougher  Fugitive Slave Law  , to reduce the number of slaves who escaped to the North and Canada every year.Although Southerners had not conceded a lot in making the bargain, Northerners were still offended by thenew law, and many refused to obey it.   Pierce and Expansion  The pro–Southern Democrat Franklin Pierce  replaced Fillmore after defeating Whigs and Free-Soilers inthe election of  1852  . Playing off manifest destiny and the Southern desire for new slave states, Pierce sup-ported a variety of proposals to acquire more territory. He tacitly supported adventurer William Walker  ’sattempt to annex Nicaragua but backed off after Walker was deposed and executed. Pierce also investigatedthe possible acquisition of Cuba from Spain, but the plan backfired after his machinations were leaked toNortherners in the Ostend Manifesto  . More productively, he sent the U.S. Navy to Japan to open trade nego-tiations and bought a small strip of land in present-day Arizona and New Mexico in the 1853   Gadsden Pur-chase  .  The Kansas-Nebraska Act  Hoping to attract railroad development through the North, Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act  in 1854  and pushed it successfully through Congress. The act carved the territory intothe Kansas and Nebraska territories and, more controversially, declared that popular sovereignty woulddetermine the future of slavery there.   W W W . S   P  A  R  K  N  O T  E   S   . C  O M S ARK AK  summary of events4  Copyright 2005 by SparkNotes LLC.  The Death of the Missouri Compromise  Southerners jumped at this opportunity, because the act effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise  of  1820  that had banned slavery north of the 36  ˚ 30  ' parallel. As soon as the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed, hun-dreds of Missourians crossed the state line into Kansas with their slaves to push for slavery. These “border ruf-fians”  set up a government in Lecompton, Kansas, and rigged elections to get more proslavery delegates sentto the constitutional convention. Northerners were shocked and astonished that Southerners had managed torepeal the almost-sacred Missouri Compromise.  Bleeding Kansas  Fearing that Kansas would become the next slave state, hundreds of Northern abolitionists also flocked to theterritory and set up their own government in Lawrence. A band of proslavery men, however, burnedLawrence to the ground in 1856  . In revenge, an abolitionist gang led by John Brown  killed five border ruffi-ans at the Pottawatomie Massacre  .These two events sparked an internal war so savage that many referred to the territory as “Bleeding Kan-sas.”  The Kansas crisis was so shocking and so controversial that it even ignited tempers in Washington, D.C.In the most infamous case, one Southern congressman nearly caned abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner  todeath on the Senate floor for speaking out against the act and its authors.  The Election of 1856  Bleeding Kansas was the hottest topic in the presidential election of  1856  . Democrat James Buchanan  eventu-ally defeated his Republican and Know-Nothing foes after many Southern states threatened to secede if aRepublican became the next president. Just days after Buchanan took office, a new controversy hit: Chief Jus-tice Roger Taney  , along with a majority of the other justices of the Supreme Court, declared the MissouriCompromise unconstitutional in the 1857   Dred Scott v. Sanford  decision. The ruling startled Northernersbecause it meant that slavery technically could no longer be banned  anywhere in the United States. The Buchanan Years  Several states flat-out ignored the ruling, and Stephen Douglas challenged the Court when he proclaimed inhis Freeport Doctrine  during the Lincoln-Douglas debates  that only popular sovereignty could decide theslavery question. But Buchanan backed Taney and also accepted the proslavery Lecompton Constitution  ,which border ruffians had drafted to make Kansas a new slave state. Douglas and others, however, blockedthe constitution in the Senate.Buchanan’s presidency was also marred by John Brown  ’s attempt to incite a massive slave uprising by seiz-ing the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (in present-day West Virginia). The Harpers Ferry Raid  went awry, however, and resulted only in Brown’s capture. While Northerners mourned his execution,Southerners cheered. The Election of 1860  The election of  1860  took place amid this supercharged atmosphere. The Republicans nominated AbrahamLincoln  , who was morally opposed to slavery but wanted to maintain the Union above all else. NorthernDemocrats wanted Stephen Douglas to run, but Southerners in the party refused to back him after hebetrayed the South by opposing the Lecompton Constitution. As a result, the party split: Northern Demo-crats nominated Douglas, while Southern Democrats nominated Vice President John C. Breckinridge  . The Constitutional Union Party  , a minor offshoot of the Republican Party, nominated John Bell  .Southerners again threatened to secede if a Republican was elected. On Election Day, Lincoln received 40  percent of the popular vote and more electoral votes than all the other candidates combined.
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