History of the Civil War

History of the Civil War

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The history of the Civil War began with the sectional conflict over slavery that led to the war. With the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860, thirteen slave states seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. The federal government (the “Union”) held that secession was illegal. Military action was begun by the secessionists with their attack on Fort Sumter, and the Union responded with attacks of its own.

The Civil War would become the deadliest war in American history, resulting in the deaths of approximately some 700,000 soldiers (many from battlefield infection and disease) and many civilians. At first, the Union fought simply to preserve the Union. But as the casualty toll mounted after 1863, Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Proclamation, indicating that the purpose of the war had become that of ending slavery. When the Union won the war in April 1865, each of the states in the defeated Confederacy was required to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibited slavery. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were also ratified, granting citizenship to the freed slaves along with the right to vote. But civil liberties remained largely hypothetical for African Americans in the South for generations to come.

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Civil War Index | Society | Power | Secession | The Confederacy: States’ RightsUnion Army | Fort Sumter | Progression of the War | Money and Manpower | Governance: The ConfederacyWartime PoliticsPolitics of Emancipation | Battles and Campaigns: CommandersOpening ClashesVirginia FrontPeninsular CampaignWestern TheaterThe West Turning of the TideFinal Stage | Strategy and Diplomacy: EuropeSea Power

Civil War: Index





The Confederacy

The Confederacy: Money and Manpower

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The Confederacy: States’ Rights

Union Army

Fort Sumter

Progression of the War


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Governance: The Confederacy

Governance: Wartime Politics

Governance: The Politics of Emancipation

Battles and Campaigns

Battles and Campaigns: Commanders

Battles and Campaigns: Opening Clashes

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Battles and Campaigns: Virginia Front

Battles and Campaigns: Peninsular Campaign

Battles and Campaigns: Western Theater

Battles and Campaigns: The West

Battles and Campaigns: Turning of the Tide

Battles and Campaigns: Final Stage

Strategy and Diplomacy

Strategy and Diplomacy: Europe

Strategy and Diplomacy: Sea Power

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