Why Was the Civil War So Important?
As one of the most brutal wars fought on American soil, the Civil War pitted two sides of the country against each other. The Union and Confederate states both wanted to change the very fabric of the country with issues like slavery, states rights, and commerce on the table. Once the Confederacy withdrew its support of the federal government, the Confederate States of America became enemy number one. North and south shored up supplies, and soon, the country was at war. While confederate forces seemed to have the upper hand at first, through a series of high profile battles, it became clear that the North would prevail. During the interim years, the war costs thousands of lives and destroyed the economy of southern states. The Union Army rolled over southern states like Georgia and South Carolina, with Sherman burning his way to the coast. The conflict is complex and a turning point in U.S. history. Studying it provides historical insight into politics as well as military history.
Learn from the Past
The events of the Civil War changed the United States for good. The confederate army may not be around today, but the lingering effects of the war between the states continue to appear in a variety of ways. Union forces prevailed long ago, but American history still shows the impact. Today, when we think of anti-slavery efforts or the entrenchment of the two-party system, Democrats and Republicans, we understand what the Civil War set into motion. Northerners rebuilt the union, and union soldiers used victories at the Battle of Gettysburg to turn the war around despite crushing defeats in Fredericksburg and Chickamauga. The American Civil War changed the trajectory of the country. Now, the nation remembers the actions of individual states like Tennessee and New York and the influence of Washington D.C. We still see signs in monuments to confederate generals, but American history has moved forward.