|Throughout this report I am going to explain the
Civil War briefly and also summarize Reconstruction. The Civil War topics will include
Northern advantages, Southern advantages, Northern strategy, Southern strategy. The first
battle, the turning points in the Civil War, and the last battle. I will also discuss the
President of the United States and the President of the Confederate States of America.
Finally, I will discuss Lincoln’s second inaugural address and his main point in the
address. Throughout the Reconstruction section I am going to be discussing when the
Reconstruction began, Lincoln’s plan, the Johnson plan, the Radical Republican Plan,
the impeachment of A. Johnson, why he was impeached, and the result of his impeachment. |
The Civil War is very interesting to me and the most fascinating details in
the Civil War are the strategies and the advantages each of the sides had. The North seems
to have many more advantages than the South. The Union had key advantages that would help
it throughout the entire war. Some of these advantages were material advantages,
population, manufacturing, agriculture, natural resources, finances, transports and
facilities. The more of these advantages that the Union had makes me feel that they were
the ones with the overall power. They had the money, people, food, supplies, and
transportation. I mean what else could they have asked for? (maybe military expertise?)
Some of the Southern advantages included expertise in military leadership, exports,
fighting on their homeland, the Confederacy was fighting a defensive war, and if it only
lasted a short time then the South would most likely prevail. The expertise leadership in
the military was a major point in this war. Many people feel that this is one of the
reasons that the war lasted the time it did. The South tried using cotton as a bribe for
other countries to join in the war. If the North wanted to win this war they were going to
have to stop the exportation of cotton. The Southerners were fighting on home field. This
was another aspect that extremely aided the Confederacy. This would make the war cheaper
for the South and make it so they would not need to have as many supplies as the North.
The Confederacy was fighting a defensive war that entitled them to the fact that they
could hide behind entrenchment’s and bunkers while the attacking North would be
having to hide in other non-militarized shelters.
The strategy of the North was to isolate the South from the
rest of the world, strangling the Southern economy. Following this they planned to capture
the capitol of the Confederacy that happened to be Richmond. And finally, split the
Confederacy into two separate divisions by controlling the Mississippi and Tennessee
Rivers and work inward to meet with the armies moving south from Virginia. The North
called this plan their “Anaconda Plan”. They called it this because of its snake
like characteristics (slowly choking its victim to death).
The Southern strategy required less planning than the North,
they expected the War to not last a long period of time. They were fighting a war behind
entrenchment’s and fortifications, they would mount the casualty list so the North
would pity the South, and they would starve Great Britain of cotton. They were fighting a
war behind entrenchment’s so the South only had to sit down and wait, while the North
had to hunt them down and take over their forts. They would also mount the casualty list
so that the North would read how extreme the deaths were and hopefully pity them and call
the war over. They also would not ship any cotton to the country of Great Britain so they
would suffer in hopes that they would come to the rescue of the Confederacy.
The first battle of the Civil War was an important battle. It
was the first time that the United States had ever engaged in war on itself. The first
discord was the Battle of Bull Run. At first the Union seemed to be winning the battle.
With the great leadership of General “Stonewall” Jackson the South claimed this
as a victory. The Confederacy might have been able to win the war if they would have
marched right into Washington following this battle. They did not and after this battle
both sides realized that this war was going to last longer than anyone had expected.
Some key battles in the Civil War were siege of Vicksburg,
Gettysburg, and the surrender at Appomatax Courthouse. The Battle of Gettysburg began on
July first. For the first three days the Confederacy seemed to be winning the waging
battle. On July the third, General Robert E. Lee ordered a direct attack on the Union’s
strongest, biggest, and most powerful group. This charge is known as “Picketts”
charge. It was named for a fallen leader. Just like the leader it was named after, it was
killed. The Union had defeated one of the largest military powers in the South, and the
South would never be able to make an army the size of the one they had just destroyed. The
siege of Vicksburg is important to the North because when they had won that battle it had
thrown the Anaconda Plan into effect. They had split the Confederacy into two separate
divisions. These two battles were terrible blows to the South during the final battles of
the War. Lee’s men had been retreating from Grant’s men for several days now and
they were camped out at the Appomatax Courthouse. Lee’s Army could see the reflection
of three different groups of campfires surrounding them and this troubled him dearly. The
campfires seemed to have caused Robert E. Lee to surrender at that very courthouse on
April ninth, eighteen sixty-five. This was not the final battle, but it was another blow
to the South in which they could not handle. The last battle was over on May twenty-sixth.
It ended in New Orleans. This battle was a victory for the Union. The South had laid down
its arms and now the war had ended.
The President of the United States of America was Abraham
Lincoln. This famous leader was intending to serve for two terms but was fatally wounded.
He was serving his second term of office at the time. His presidency was ended short but
the effect he had on the United States was far from short. This President, to me, is
regarded as one of the most highly respected presidents that has ever served in office.
The President of the Confederate States of America was
Jefferson Davis. He was not favored by the Southern people however. Davis won their
respect after the war through his suffering in prison. The views Jefferson Davis had,
never changed. This also gained him much needed respect. During his life he served in the
Senate, House of Representatives, and in the Cabinet.
Reconstruction - Post Civil War
The Civil War had ended and now the slaves needed to be set free socially as well as
politically. Reconstruction needed to begin as soon as possible. The South needed to
rebuild itself. The Union had to readmit all other states that were Confederate States.
The problems that trapped the South were quite obvious but the solutions were less than
clear and varied among persons.
Lincoln’s point of view entailed readmitting the
Confederacy. He felt that the South deserved to be readmitted. Others felt like the South
should pay for their misbehavior. They felt this way because they were afraid that the
South was going to rebel again. There were many beliefs but I will cover Lincoln’s
Plan, the Radical Republican Reconstruction and the Johnson Plans of Reconstruction.
Lincoln’s Plan consisted of two major points: the
Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction which include the Ten Percent Plan and the
acceptance of the Thirteenth Amendment. The Proclamation of Amnesty stated that “before
returning to the Union, the Confederates would take an oath to support the Constitution of
the United States of America and the Union of the states there under”.
Lincoln’s Ten Percent Plan called for the citizens of
the Confederacy that had accepted the Proclamation of Amnesty to gain control in the
government. If the citizens were ten percent or more then the president would allow the
Confederacy to have people represent themselves in the many branches of government. He
also made it clear that blacks were to be acknowledged as United States Citizens but
Lincoln was not going to force this. Lincoln felt that this was not the time to consider
this as a major point.
Radical Reconstructionists included Benjamin F. Wade and
Henry Winter Davis. These two political leaders considered a plan that would punish the
South more than Lincoln’s Plan would have. This plan was a bill. This bill stated
that every Confederate State must be ruled by a military leader. This military leader was
then to be responsible for taking the census of all white males that lived in these
states. After most of these citizens took an oath of fidelity to the United States, the
governor would call an election to form a new government. This government divided the
Confederacy into many military districts which were then to form a new constitution. This
constitution was to include the following: abolish slavery, and not to deny the rights of
all black citizens. Then if the Congress was to approve of their status they would be
allowed to be readmitted into the Union. However only those who would take the ironclad
oath stating they had never fought or served for the Confederacy would be allowed to serve
as state delegates. This Wade-Davis bill passed on the last day of Congressional meetings
and it was then to move to the president. If it was to pass through him then the
Wade-Davis bill would become law. Lincoln killed the bill with a pocket veto, however, and
created a stalemate. This continued until Lincoln regretfully decided to hold conferences
with the Congressional Leaders. Lincoln was assassinated on April fourteenth, eighteen
sixty-five. This tragedy awestruck the nation and succeeded to office a new leader which
had different opinions of the whole situation. After Lincoln’s death Vice President
Andrew Johnson stepped up to the Office of President. Johnson’s Plan was expected to
be more radical than Lincoln’s, but he continued with a plan similar to Lincoln’s.
The Radical Republicans did not agree with this plan and through a test of the Fourteenth
Amendment, he was impeached. The Radical Republicans were then allowed to place most of
the Confederate States under military authority. This “Radical Reconstruction”
last over a period of ten years.