1. Using information from the readings, write a comprehensive and detailed essay discussing the three most important factors in the Confederacy’s defeat in the Civil War. Be sure to defend your position.
Both the South and the North expected to gain a quick and easy victory. Yet, the Southern army suffered a defeat. And there are many reasons for that. From the modern point of view it actually seems that Confederates had no chance to win, but it was not obvious either for the Southern Armed Forces or for the Northern ones.
Likely, the most important factors above others are success of the Northern diplomacy, industrial superiority of the Union and inflexibility of the Southern generals. The Confederation’s economy was based on the cotton industry. The developed European countries bought the cotton from the Southern states and the strategy of the Davis’ government was based on the fact that Europe is fully dependent on the material and that is why powerful countries such as Great Britain, France and Spain would support the South during the war. However, it did not happen. On the one hand, after the war began, Europe found another sources of cotton, such as India and Egypt. On the other hand talented American diplomat William H. Seward persuaded the European governments that they should support the United States as a whole country rather than separated parts of it. Seward even threatened the United Kingdom pointing that the acknowledgement of the Confederation would “be regarded as a manifestation of hostility by the United States” (Donald, 1996, p.65). In case the Europe supported the Confederation, the South would get superiority in manpower, weapon and funding and that could influence a lot the inclination of war. During the 1800-1860s the North invested a lot into the industrialization. The North part of the United States had better transport system because of building new canals and railroads. Besides, people of the North had opportunity to produce more weapon, food and ammunition as they had prevalence in work force and industrial capacity. On the contrary, the economy of the South was base on the slave labor and therefore it needn’t any modernization. At the beginning of the war, it was not enough weapons let alone the well-developed infrastructure to support the demands of the armed forces. Furthermore, the South Army experienced the lack of mature and seasoned generals. Of course, General Lee was a prominent person, and his cleverness allowed the war to continue for such a long time period, but he did not amend his strategy as well as other generals of the South.
2. Write a comprehensive and detailed essay that answers the question of whether Reconstruction was a success or a failure. In the process, be sure to identify: the goals and policies of Johnson and the Radical Republicans; any successes (if you think there were any); and any failures.
Short after the war, the Government of the United States faced the problem: what should be done with the Southern parts of the country? Should they be punished and suffer economic decline or should the Government try to heal the nation and integrate South into the country economical, political and social life?
The Reconstruction consisted of two phases. During the first phase, which lasted from 1865 to 1876 Lincoln’s successor Andrew Johnson implemented a mild reconstruction policy. Despite the president himself was an opponent of the rich Southern slaveholders, he decided to follow the Lincoln’s plan as he believed that the South suffered enough and it needed economical support. That’s why he pardoned many former Confederate leaders and allowed the state governments to set policies regarding the slavery issues. Such policy generated dissatisfaction in the North and the second phase of the Reconstruction began. During this period Northern federals made the South to recognize the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the US Constitution, which was the biggest success of the Reconstruction. Besides, the President sent military troops to control the situation in the South to guarantee the freedom of the black population. But because of political bargain the troops were withdrawn in 1877 and the situation became worse. After this year the Federal Government give the Southern states the freedom to rule on their own and this turned the Blacks into the slaves again. The Black Codes were introduced and white population of the South neglected the rights of the black people. By the end of 1877, the Northerners felt tired of the Reconstruction and the whole process is considered to be a big failure because in the end the Government did not accomplish the task they were trying to do – the equal rights for the blacks. Besides, attempts to regulate the slave policies generated such movement as Ku Klux Klan.
3. In a detailed and comprehensive essay, evaluate the impact of the struggle between the executive, legislative, and the judiciary over control of Reconstruction on American federalism.
The Reconstruction processes brought a lot of conflicts into the general policy line of the United States of America. Different branches of the power tried to get control over the Reconstruction to force the process and develop it in a certain way.
The situation, which led to President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, illustrates the struggle that took place after the Reconstruction between three branches of the US Government. As a representative of the executive power the President vetoed several laws introduced by the Radical Republicans. As he wanted to follow the Lincoln’s course of the Reconstruction he considered those laws to be too harmful for the Southern municipalities to fulfill. But the Congress as the highest legislative organ in the United States managed to pass these laws through as many members of the Congress were Radical Republicans. The main conflict was developed around the post of the Secretary of War, which was taken by Edwin M. Stanton. Stanton had strong Republican beliefs and he was the one to deal with congressional statements regarding Reconstruction policies. The Congress issued the Tenure of Office Act to secure themselves and Stanton from the dismissal. The US President could not veto the law but he used his power when the Congress was out of session and offered the post to Ulysses Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman and Lorenzo Thomas. Andrew Johnson managed to dismiss Stanton but in turn he accused him in violation of the Tenure of Office Act. The Congress decided to impeach the current President. Andrew Johnson stated that the Tenure of Act was unconstitutional but it was confirmed by the Supreme Court only in 1887 (McPherson & Hogue, 2010, pp. 575-579).
4. Evaluate the impact of the Civil War on the economy of the United States, and especially on the pace of industrialization. Did the Civil War retard or hasten the industrialization of the United States? Explain.
As any other war the Civil War had a great impact on the economical welfare of the country. On one hand, the influence was negative as it caused many financial problems. To start with, the inflation in the United States grew by 117% let alone the fact that the South of the country was devastated and the lots of cotton fields were damaged and the cotton was the main point of the Southern economy. Yet, after the war the cotton production increased dramatically and it can be explained by the abolition of slavery. But the growth of the cotton manufacturing did not resulted into an economical growth of the region. The South was still underdeveloped in comparison with the industrialized and powerful North.
So, on the other hand Civil War led to the boom of industrialization. The United States made a step forward in their development to become a powerful industrial country. The first railroads were built before the war but their construction gained importance after when first transcontinental roads appeared. This period can be called the “railroad age”. Besides, the United States started to develop their oil industry, as the big supplies of the oil were discovered. Furthermore, the Reconstruction policy moved the industrialization to the south and this caused the decline in agriculture but improved the industrial capacity of the country even further. Apart from railroad development and oil processing the United States proclaimed themselves one of the leading nations in the iron and steel-making. So, despite the economical devastation of the South, the Civil War actually promoted the progress in the country.
5. Analyze the generalship of Ulysses S. Grant during the last year of the war, and evaluate the impact of Grant’s generalship on the outcome of the war.
Ulysses S. Grant is considered to be one of the crucial personalities, who changed the history of the United States. He became the general-in-chief of the Armies of the United States in March 1864. After the appointment the general discussed his strategy with President Abraham Lincoln. It was a strategy of the total war. The main aim of it was end the Civil War. Grant wanted to deprive the Southern Army from mobilizing reinforcements. The General chose the City Point as his headquarter. According to his plan, General Sherman should attack Atlanta and Georgia and the Army of Potomac with General Grant in camp would face the Robert E Lee’s Army of Virginia. On May 4, 1864 Ulysses Grant attacked the Lee’s Army in Wilderness. The army was rebuked to Spotsylvania. The battle there was one of the bloodiest in the history of war. General Grant wanted to defeat the Lee’s Army despite the high price of human lives. After the battle, the Army moved to Petersburg. While this siege was taking place, General Sherman took the Atlanta. This victory allowed Lincoln to get reelected. General Grant governed the final battle at Appomattox. During the battle he managed to defeat the Lee’s Army. The capitulation was signed on April 9, 1865. Ulysses Grant made an honest and noble deed: he provided the enemy army with general terms and allowed the troops to go back home conditioning that they would not rebel against the United States. The capitulation of General Lee was considered as the end of the war.
General Ulysses Grant is one of the most important persons of the Civil War. Despite not all of his actions were strategically right he managed to finish the war and did his best to begin the re-union of the United States.
McPherson, J. M. & Hogue J. K. (2010). Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Donald, D. (1996). Why the North Won the Civil War. (Ed.) New York: Simon and Schuster Adult Publishing Group.