The recent threats by North Korea to launch a nuclear assault on the US and other friendly nations’ has led to conceited discussions on the possible impact of such an action on world peace. Analysts believe that the opposition by the US and south Korea of the launch is based on the need for world peace, while others believe that the US has taken the role of supervising other nations on their nuclear activities. The common thread on all these discussions is the impact of war on world peace and the human society. This paper seeks to discuss this issue, in the light of the famous American civil war, and its impact on the American society. Peace efforts that resulted will also be discussed.
Another major issue had to do with slavery. This is believed to be the main issue that led to the disunity between the North and the South. The Agrarian South America wanted to retain the slaves so as to utilize them in their labor intensive farms while the more industrialized North preferred to hire immigrants instead. This led to Secession attempts by the South, which was opposed by the North and Western states leading to the civil war.
Information available at the civil war website, www.civilwar.com reveals that the war started with the raid of Harpers Ferry by John brown in 1859, which triggered events leading to the start of the civil war in 1861.It continued till 1865, leaving behind a tattered economy and many casualties. So severe was the damage, that post war America decide to make far reaching changes and amendments to the constitution, conferring many rights and freedoms to the American people regardless of race or descent. The effect of this war on human society is explained below.
It’s very difficult to determine whether the civil war was good or bad for America, without discussing the outcomes of the war. Documented history reveals that the country lost many people in the war; others were permanently incapacitated, widowed or orphaned. Information available from the civil war website also reveals that the states infrastructural development and other state resources were destroyed during the war. It’s also evident that the Americas spend quite a fortune in the war.
Despite the many negative effects of the war, many developments and progress that is enjoyed by the American people today are as a result of the American civil war. Freedoms as known by modern day Americans were also born as a result of this war. Below are detailed results of the war, and their impacts on the human society.
End of slavery and slave trade
Perhaps, the most significant effect of the American civil war on human society is the abolishment of slave trade. It’s documented in the world history that slave trade was very entrenched in the American states. As documented above, slaves were used to do hard labor in American farms with no pay. In fact, slaves were bought and sold in the markets and used to do hard labor with very harsh treatment. The issue of slave trade was so dehumanizing that slaves were even hired and rented from their masters just like you would do to some farm equipment.
It must be remembered that as long as one was not a Native American, or born of a Native American, then they would not attain citizenship in America. This meant that even if they were not slaves, they could not enjoy some rights and privileges that were enjoyed by the Americans. For instance, they could not participate in any national activities or even vote in an election. The civil war however resulted to the adoption of the 14th amendment where citizenship for all born in the US was guaranteed. This means that even people that were natively Americans and even slaves could obtain citizenship in the US and live a decent life like any other American (Deak Nabers, 2006,p. 63)
Voting rights of all male citizens
Perhaps, another major change that resulted as a result of the civil war was that male citizens were allowed to vote in elections with disregard to their race. This was a major shift from the traditional America where only Native American males could vote. The ability to vote meant that every male American regardless of their race was allowed a choice as regards to how they wanted to be governed, and this ensured that their interests were considered in decision making.
Such a right is what has been the major push for democracy in the modern day America. Subsequent developments in this amendment has however created a democracy in the United States leading to the democratic America as it is today, where everyone of majority age regardless of their gender, religion or race is able to participate in a democratic election process to determine their leaders.
Industrialization and modernization of the US
Before the civil war, America was a simple country with simple industries and economy. The massive resources required and used in the civil war was a main drive towards the industrialization and modernization of the US. The need for advanced war equipment, as well as modern health facilities, education institutions etc resulted from the effects of the civil war. Technological advancement was also a key development during the civil war leading to the development of better and more efficient methods of production.
Improved economy, industrialization and developed social welfare were an important development towards the welfare of the human society. Post wars Americans were able to enjoy better education, social services, healthcare, and availability of employment as well as better governance systems.
Development of the healthcare system
During the war, there were quite many casualties, as well as injuries that necessitated the development of the US healthcare system. Notably, the pre war America used simple and traditional methods of administering healthcare. Developments during the war, however led to more advanced methods of pharmaceutical, surgical, anesthetic as well as medial coordination, as well as hospital organization. This means that the post war America enjoys better healthcare and health facilities, all which were born as a result of the war (John Williams Draper, 2006 p. 56)
Stronger human rights movements
Post war America witnessed strong human rights movements, as a result of a legal framework that led to guaranteed human rights space. Most significant was the empowerment of the American woman. It must not be forgotten that most of the war casualties were actually women and children. Developments in civil rights therefore led to the empowered women rights groups and lobbies that would later lead to women empowerment. Post war American woman therefore enjoys more rights and protection by the constitution as a result of the civil war (David Heidler, 2000 p 159).
The civil war led to the development of modern military equipment such as modern machine guns, repeating rifles, landmines, submarines, hot air balloons, welfare ships etc. These have been refined and modernized to equip the American military, which is considered the strongest in the world. The American society is considered one of the safest today, as a result of the developments of the civil war. Safety, which is very key to the American societies, is therefore deemed to have been guaranteed since the events of the civil war.
The civil war contributed towards the development of the society as a whole, and as discussed, this was in various aspects which would have otherwise not seen such development. Wars do indeed play a central role in changing the society and its perceptions in the long term.
The American Civil War. Adopted from: www.civilwar.com
David S. Heidler et al. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political Social and Military History, W.W Norton & Company Incorporated, 2000
John Williams Draper. History of the American civil war. University of Michigan, 2006
Deak Nabers, Victory of Law: The Fourteenth Amendment, the Civil War, and American Literature, 2006
Lorraine Peters. The Impact of the American Civil War on the Local Communities of Southern Scotland, journal of project muse,2003