Causes of the Civil War
• The Civil War split the U.S.A. in two. Why did it happen?
1. Sectionalism—In the early 1800s, the North and South were very different places. In the North, an industrial society developed. In the South, the invention of the cotton gin led the South to stress an agricultural economy. The two regions had different political wants.
2. Slavery and Abolitionism—Slavery was not necessary in the North, and many people started to fight to end it. People who wanted to end slavery were called abolitionists. They included Harriet Tubman, who led the Underground Railroad, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Frederick Douglass.
3. States’ Rights—The North and South disagreed on the amount of power that the federal government should have over the states.
4. Lincoln’s Election—Lincoln favored abolition, so when he was elected president, the South seceded, or broke away, from the U.S.A. The South was called the Confederate States of America. The North was known as the Union.
The Civil War
• Here are the major events of the Civil War:
o Fort Sumter (1861)—first battle
o Emancipation Proclamation (1863)—Lincoln proclaims the slaves in the South to be free; broadened the Union’s war goals to include ending slavery
o Gettysburg (1863)—bloodiest battle; Lincoln gives his famous speech here
o Appomattox (1865)—final battle
• The North had many advantages during the war: larger population, more factories to produce war materials, more money. The South’s advantage was its excellent military strategy, led by top generals like Robert E. Lee.
• After the Civil War, the U.S. had to decide how to help blacks become full citizens.
• Three constitutional amendments expanded blacks’ rights:
o 13th Amendment—abolished slavery
o 14th Amendment—made all African-Americans full citizens
o 15th Amendment—gave African-Americans the right to vote
Rebuilding the South
• Scalawags were Southern whites who became Republicans, believing that working with the Republicans would lead to progress.
• Carpetbaggers were Northerners who moved south after the war. Some wanted to help blacks, while some wanted to gain power and money in the South.
Mistreatment of Blacks
• Despite the amendments, blacks were still denied their rights.
• The Ku Klux Klan attacked, terrorized, and killed blacks in the South.
• Southern states passed laws called black codes. The laws—including literacy requirements and poll taxes for voting—denied blacks their rights.
• Jim Crow laws segregated blacks and whites in the South, and the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case stated that “separate but equal” facilities were acceptable.
• Blacks became poor farmers in the South. They rented land from whites in a process called sharecropping. Many blacks went into debt to their former slave masters.