THE MENACE of SECESSION Lincoln’s inaugural address was firm yet conciliatory: there would be no conflict unless the South provoked it. The president declared secession to be wholly impractical – why? Identify the other controversies created if the South seceded uncontested. Why would southern secession cause delight in some European capitals?
SOUTH CAROLINA ASSAILS FORT SUMTERThe issue of the divided Union came to a head over the matter of federal forts in theSouth. As the seceding states left, they had seized the U.S.’s arsenals, mints, and otherpublic property within their borders. When Lincoln took office, only two significantforts in the South remained under U.S. control. Explain the ominous choices presentedto Lincoln regarding Ft. Sumter. Describe the solution he adopted. What was thesouthern response?In retrospect, why was the southern attack on Ft. Sumter a positive for the North& Lincoln?
The only slave states left were the crucial Border States – Identify. If the North hadfired the first shot, some or all of these doubtful states probably would have seceded,and the South might well have succeeded. What were the strategic assets of theseBorder States?
In dealing with the critical Border States, President Lincoln employed both moral suasionand dubious legality – explain his two-pronged strategy to keep the Border States inthe Union fold.Unhappily, the conflict between “BillyYank” and “Johnny Reb” was a brother’swar.In many a family of the Border States,one brother rode north and anotherrode south to fight (what was the ironyfor Lincoln’s family?)
Not only families were split by the war; close friends and classmates found themselves onopposite sides of the war.
THE BALANCE of FORCESWhen war broke out, the South seemed to have great advantages – identify & describethem. What were its greatest liabilities?The North also began the war with assets and liabilities. Identify and describe them.Speculate as to the “might-have-beens” and how they could have changed the courseof the war.
Of all of the North’s advantages entering the war with the South, none loomed greater than railinfrastructure and telegraph infrastructure. President Lincoln exploited these strategic advantagesagainst the South and changed the nature of waging war.
Immigrants played a crucial contribution to theUnion war effort. Large numbers were induced tojoin the Union army.Ultimately, approx. 20% of the Union forces wereforeign-born.
Europeans in general, and the British in particular, watched the civil war in Americaunfold. Opposition and/or support for the southern cause ran along socio-economic lines.
DETHRONING KING COTTONSuccessful revolutions have generally succeeded because of foreign intervention. TheSouth counted on it, did not get it, and lost. Why was Europe’s aristocracy classopenly sympathetic to the Confederate cause? In contrast why were the masses ofworking people in England and France pulling and praying for the North? Whatimpact did this have on European intervention?
What were southerners counting on to gain British support in their war effort?Why did this southern “ace-in-the-hole” fail? What was the North’s “ace-in-the-hole” to prevent British intervention?
THE DECISIVENESS of DIPLOMACYAmerica’s diplomatic front has seldom been so critical as during the Civil War. Europe’s rulers schemedto play the two warring sides off each other. Explain the three diplomatic crises between Britainand the U.S. that nearly led to war (Trent Affair (1861); the Alabama & the Laird rams)How did Canada and France anger the U.S. govt. during the war? Did Napoleon’sscheme work?
PRESIDENT DAVIS v. PRESIDENT LINCOLN Describe the “fatal weakness” of the Confederate government. How would this weakness hamper President Jefferson Davis? Profile President Jefferson Davis. What were his strengths and weaknesses?
Lincoln also had his troubles, but on the whole they were less prostrating. Whatadvantages did Lincoln enjoy as president of the U.S.? What personal attributesserved Lincoln well during the war years?
LIMITATIONS on WARTIME LIBERTIESAt his inauguration, Lincoln pledged to uphold the Constitution, then proceeded to tear afew holes in it once the war began. How did Lincoln justify his controversial actions?Why did Congress consent to Lincoln’s bold moves?Identify and describe the actions undertaken by Lincoln and his administration thatviolated the Constitution.Why was Jefferson Davis less able than Lincoln to exercise arbitrary power?
VOLUNTEERS AND DRAFTEES: NORTH and SOUTHNorthern armies were first manned solely by volunteers, with each state assigned aquota based on population. But by 1863, volunteering had slackened, and Congress wasforced to pass a federal conscription law. How were the provisions of this law grosslyunfair? Thus, what group was hit hard by this conscription law?Describe the illegal activity growing out of the conscription law.
Describe the manpower situation in the Confederacy and explain how the southernregime manned its army.
THE ECONOMIC STRESSES of WARBlessed with the lion’s share of the wealth, the North rode through the difficultfinancial times of war much more smoothly than the South. What ways did the U.S.govt. employ to raise revenue for the war (include the Morrill Tariff Act)? Explainthe significance of the National Banking System.Describe the different financial woes besetting the Confederate government. Whatcardinal sin of economics did the Confederate government commit? Compareinflation rates at war’s end in the North and the South.
THE NORTH’S ECONOMIC BOOMWartime prosperity in the North wasspectacular. The marvel is that a dividednation could fight a costly 4 year war andemerge more prosperous than ever.New factories and its owners flourished,sheltered by new protective tariffs.Inflation enriched big business whilepinching the working masses.The Civil War bred a millionaire class forthe first time in American history.Identify and describe the graft andcorruption that was rampant in theNorth.Describe the economic advances broughtforth by the war.
The Civil War was a also a woman’s war. The protracted conflict opened newopportunities for women. Identify the opportunities women seized during the war.
With both sides confronting unprecedented casualties, there was new emphasis on battlefield medicine,as infections stemming from battlefield injuries were causing more deaths than deaths from battle.
And for the first time in the history of warfare, battlefield journalism and photography brought thehorrors of war to civilians far from the battle fronts. Public reaction to this reporting would putimmense pressure on political leaders on both sides.
Public reaction to this reporting would put immense pressure on political leaders from both sides.
A CRUSHED COTTON KINGDOMThe South fought to the point of exhaustion. The suffocating blockade, together withthe destruction wrought by invaders, took a terrible toll. Describe this toll.To the brutal end, the South mustered remarkable resourcefulness and spirit.In the end, cotton capitalism lost out to industrial capitalism. The South was to be richin little but amputees, war heroes, ruins, and memories.