Create an account
Fire Eaters (Cultural)
Southern Democrats who repudiated the Union and actively promoted the secession of the Southern states; they attracted radical antislavery northerners; had been calling for secession since the crisis of 1850; Lincoln's election made this plausible.
Southern States Secede (Political)
The states of the Lower South had the highest concentration of slaves, and they led the secessionist movement. After the attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, the states of the Upper South joined the Confederacy. Yeomen farmers in Tennessee and the backcountry of Alabama, Georgia, and Virginia opposed secession but, except in the future state of West Virginia, initially rallied to the Confederate cause.
Jefferson Davis (Political)
Davis was a Mississippi senator and moderate southern Democrat. He became the confederacy's president; when it came time for the Upper South to choose where they stood, Lincoln promised a peaceful interaction but Davis wanted a military confrontation; opened fire on a Union fort when they refused to surrender.
Crittenden Compromise (Political)
Would compensate the owners of runaway slaves, the repeal of the Northern personal-liberty laws, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the federal government from interfering with slavery in the Southern states and another that would restore the Missouri Compromise line for the remaining territory that would guarantee federal protection of slavery below the line.
Attack on Fort Sumter (Cultural)
South Carolina viewed Buchanan's message as implicit recognition of its independence and demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter, a federal garrison in Charleston Harbor. To test the secessionists' resolve, Buchanan ordered that the fort be supplied by an unarmed merchant ship. When South Carolinians fired on the ship, Buchanan showed his own lack of resolve by refusing to order the navy to escort it into the harbor.
Northern/Southern Strategies (Political)
The Southern strategy was more of a stalemate, for all they wanted was independence. Lincoln was much more aggressive, however. Secession was unacceptable and the only strategy of the North was a policy of "unconditional surrender."
Battles of Bull Run (Manassas) (Political)
The Battle of Bull Run proved to the Union that the Confederacy was a force that would not be easily conquered. Their hasty retreat along the creek back to Washington proved this. The next battle of Bull Run would almost bring defeat to the Confederates, but once again Union forces did not take advantage of poor Confederate communication and they were able to regroup.
Battle of Antieta (Political)
In this battle, the North suceedeed in halting Lee's Confederate forces in Maryland. It was the bloodiest battle of the war, with over 25,000 people dead.
Total War (Cultural)
The military carnage in 1862 made it clear that the war would be long and costly. After Shiloh, Grant later remarked, he "gave up all idea of saving the Union except by complete conquest." The conflict became a total war, arraying the entire resources of the two societies against each other.
Military Draft/ Draft Riots (Cultural)
The first military draft was enacted by the Confederate Congress. There was loopholes in this draft, however. One of which was the a planter, a son, or an overseer, for each twenty slaves, did not have to go into the fight. Another loophole was that those drafted could hire substitutes. Many states blatantly ignored the call to military service.
Militia Act of 1862 (Political)
When the Militia Act of 1862 set local recruitment quotas, states and towns enticed volunteers with cash bounties and eventually signed up nearly a million men. In the North, as in the South, wealthy men could avoid military service by providing a substitute or paying a $300 commutation fee.
Women and the War Effort (Cultural)
Women in the war took common jobs, such as nurses, which was a gateway into other employment opportunities. They joined the Sanitary Commission and the Freedman's Aid Society. Their effort in the success of the war led to the facilitation of their eventual equal rights.
Mobilizing Resources (Political)
The better and more organized your resources, the greater chance you have of being successful in battle. The north entered with distinct advantage, although the Confederate position was not by any means weak. Another factor that led to Confederate success was Britain, which helped to supply the South.
New Economic Policies (Economic)
Some new policies included Republican government raising tariffs to win the political support of northeastern manufacturers and workers. The policies also secured legislation that forced thousands of local banks to accept federal charters and regulation, chartered companies to build transcontinental railroad lines, led to new industries acting to help the armies, and aiding new people to find jobs in the rising economy. the Confederate government also developed a coherent economic policy, although much slower than the Union.
Raising money in the North (Economic)
First, the government increased tariffs on consumer goods, placed high excise duties on alcohol and tobacco, and imposed direct taxes on business corporations, large inheritances, and incomes. These levies paid for about 20 percent of the cost of the war. The sale of treasury bonds financed another 65 percent. Led by jay cooke, a Philadelphia banker, the treasury department used newspaper advertisements and 2,500 subagents to persuade nearly a million northern families to buy war bonds. In addition, the national banking acts of 1863 and 1864 forced most banks to purchase treasury bonds.
Inflation in the South (Economy)
Because the south lacked a powerful central government they could not as easily raise money to pay off the war costs. The government only did 5 percent taxation and did 35 percent by borrowing. So they printed paper money, this accounted for 60 percent of expenditures. Riots broke out because food prices soared. The Confederacy only survived by seizing the property of its citizens.
Emancipation Issue (Cultural)
At the beginning of the war, antislavery Republicans wanted to make abolition their central goal and they believed fighting would continue until emancipation was made certain. Slave-grown crops sustained the Confederacy, antislavery activists argued for emancipation on military grounds and it became clear that the struggle was to both preserve the Union and to end slavery.
Contrabands were the slaves that were not "legally" freed. In the aftermath of the war, they used the confusion to seize freedom for themselves and escaped to the North.
Emancipation Proclamation (Diplomatic)
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862. It declared that "slavery would be legally abolished in all states that remained out of the Union on January 1, 1863."
Battle of Vicksburg (Political)
General Grant mounted a major attack in the West designed to cut the confederacy in two. Grant drove south along the west bank of the Mississippi and then moved his troops across the river near Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he defeated two Confederate armies and laid siege to the city. After repelling Union assaults for six weeks, the exhausted and starving Vicksburg garrison surrendered on July 4, 1863.
Battle of Gettysburg (Political)
This battle was a major turning point of the war and it made it clear the North would win. 50,000 people died, and the South lost its chance to invade the North.
Black Troops (Cultural)
After the Emancipation Proclamation, popular thinking and military policy was changed to accommodate black soldiers. The proclamation invited former slaves to serve in the Union army; northern whites, long suspicious of arming African Americans, now agreed that because blacks were to benefit from a Union victory, they should share in the fighting and dying. The war department authorized black enlistment, and as white resistance to conscription increased, the Lincoln administration recruited as many African Americans as it could.
Capable Generals (Political)
Arguably the most capable general was General Ulysses S. Grant. He was put in charge of all Union armies by Lincoln. Grant created a unified structure of command. Both Grant and Lincoln wanted a decisive victory. Grant was known as aggressive and a "butcher."
Election of 1864 (Political)
In this election, five political parties supported candidates for the presidency. They included the War Democrats, Peace Democrats, Copperheads, Radical Republicans, and the National Union Party. Each political party offered a different point of view on how the war should be run and what should be done to the Confederate states after the war. The National Union Party joined with Lincoln and won the election on the recent Northern victories against the South.
William T. Sherman/March to the Sea (Political)
The Union victory in November 1863 at Chattanooga, Tennessee, was almost as critical as the victories in July at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, because it opened up a route of attack into the heart of the Confederacy. In mid-1864, General Sherman advanced on the railway hub of Atlanta. After finally taking the city in September 1864, Sherman relied on other Union armies to stem General Hood's invasion of Tennessee while he began a devastating "March to the Sea."
Confederate Collapse/Appomattox (Diplomatic)
Southern soldiers began to mutiny, and the Confederacy was so desperate that they attempted to enlist black soldiers. However, the war ended too soon to see if any blacks would fight. Their supplies were cut off, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House and by late May almost all of the confederacy had collapsed.
Anaconda Plan (Diplomatic)
Union war plan by Winfield Scott which called for a blockade of the southern coast, capture of Richmond, capture Mississippi River, and to take an army through heart of south.
Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.
Having trouble? Click here for help.
We can’t access your microphone!
Click the icon above to update your browser permissions and try again
Reload the page to try again!Reload
Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom
Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom
It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.
Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.
For more help, see our troubleshooting page.
Your microphone is muted
For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.
Star this term
You can study starred terms together