Sample Essay Paper on the American Civil War

The Civil War remains one of the key events in the historical consciousness of America as it played a significant role in determining what the nation would be several years later. As a result of the war, the US came up with a resolution on whether it was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or a united nation with a sovereign national government. Also, the war gave insight into whether the US would continue to exist as one of the largest pro-slavery or slaveholding countries in the world. The Civil War occurred between 1861 and 1865 with one of the leadership of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican US president at the time playing a significant role. Research indicates that changes in Lincoln’s thinking led to the eruption of the war, which was fought for high ideals. Initially, although Lincoln was anti-slavery within US territories, he was unsure of what to do once slavery came to an end. Lincoln’s opinion was that slavery was wrong and just and he gave a proposal of freeing slaves and sending them back to Africa, specifically Liberia. He was a supporter of the idea of colonization, which would see slaves freed and encouraged to leave the US for almost a decade. An important perspective in Lincoln’s initial argument was that slavery would be repealed gradually and slave owners were to be compensated for the losses they would incur after freeing of slaves. However, Lincoln’s ideas changed rapidly with the Emancipation Proclamation in which he declared an immediate freedom of all slaves within US territories and came up with names of 10 specific states where the law would be implemented. With Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the abolishment of slavery was immediate and not gradual as earlier said. Besides, the proclamation overruled the ideas of compensation of slave owners and colonization. With these, the changes in Lincoln’s thinking that led to a total war fought for high ideals remain evident.

Upon his election as the president of the US, Lincoln’s primary objective was to promote freedom and liberty of every individual within US territories, and this began by the slaves in the South. Amidst the calls for the abolition of slavery, Lincoln also called for the preservation of the Union something that was opposed by the South, later known as the Confederacy. Lincoln supported the Civil War because he envisioned it as a way of redefining the meanings of freedom and liberty in the United States. From Lincoln’s perspective, the Civil War, especially after the Union’s victory, would destroy slavery within US territories paving the way for the freedom and liberty of slaves. Lincoln’s other idea regarding the Civil War is that it would open the door to the enrollment of black men serving as slaves in the Union army. In the army, blacks who during slavery were paid less would see their pay marched to that of whites, a proposal that was granted by the Congress between 1864 and 1865. The bottom line is that Lincoln viewed no other avenue of redefining the meanings of freedom and liberty in the US other than the Civil War. In fact, freedom and liberty were enhanced after the Civil War because the US adopted abolitionist principles of birthright citizenship as well as equal protection of the law without giving serious consideration to race.

Understandably, the manner in which the Civil War was prosecuted saw it marked and regarded as the first “modern war.” With the war occurring between 1861 and 1865, the rest of the world was yet to embrace industrialization. Moreover, the spread of modern military technology and the sources of design had not been witnessed in various parts of the world. Amidst these technological and industrial limitations, the American Civil War witnessed a widespread use of mechanized and electrified devices and products of industrialization such as railroad trains, the use of the telegraph, aerial observation, torpedoes, photography, ironclad ships, mines, and rifles. These are recent innovations and their use in the Civil War saw it widely considered and regarded as the first modern war in world history. Despite the fact that the mentioned innovations and technologies were used for military purposes during the Civil War, the armies were at times reluctant to embrace or use them. One of the reasons for the reluctance is that the military men of the nineteenth century, especially those involved in the Civil War, were not trained on how to use or see the gadgets as solutions to the problems of warfare. There was the belief among the troops that the experimenting of the use of the new devices would jeopardize their operations, and this is why the embrace of the technology and innovations at the beginning of the war in April 1861 took a bold approach. Other technologies used during the war, which have since seen it regarded as a first modern war include a double barreled cannon that was used to fire chain shots and improved artillery shell designs.