Civil War and the Forthcoming Color-Blind Society Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1814 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History

Civil War and the Forthcoming Color-Blind Society

The American dream… the great job, the picked white fence and the happy faces. People from around the globe have come to the United States to make the dream a reality. But for the dream to exist in the first place, sacrifices in human lives had to be made and equality among citizens had to be enforced, at a high price. Such battles had taken place for several years, and were of a diverse degree, from a simple one-on-one battle, to a street fight, or to the ultimate Civil War.

Generically known as the war in which the country was divided into two parts -- the North and the South, the Civil War was a battle of both violent confrontations, as well as ideological differences -- while the northern regions of the country had embraced cultural diversity and were striving to integrate the blacks as members of their societies and communities, the southern regions were still attached to the idea of having slaves, and would not renounce it easily.

The United States President at the time, Abraham Lincoln, did not take a clear stand relative to slavery, in the meaning that he did not issue any law to state that owning slaves was forbidden. He did however make a statement in which he expressed his most sincere beliefs that slavery was a thing of the past. Still, he recognized that there continued to exist regions in which slavery was still enforced, but stated that the status quo would not be maintained for long.

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In such a tensed situation, in which the southern regions did not see eye-to-eye with the northern regions that had abolished slavery, the southerners decided to free themselves -- they would no longer be administratively considered as part of the United States, but would form an independent region on their own; the term for this situation is that of secession. The new administrative formation was called the Confederation, or the Confederate States of America, and it was ruled by Jefferson Davis.

Term Paper on Civil War and the Forthcoming Color-Blind Society Assignment

The Confederation was militating for its rights to own and exploit slaves, as the principal tools in working the land and generating not only life sustainability, but also profits. The Northern states on the other hand, were militating for the formation of a democratic state, in which the labor would be free and remunerated, and they believed this system, to be the backbone of a strong economic sector.

As it has been mentioned, and is known by everybody, the issue of slavery was the cause of the Civil War. It is however necessary to detail more on the subject, and present the situation of slavery before the civil confrontations emerged.

In 1850 a law was passed regarding the treatment of escaped slaves. The regulation stipulated that the owner was free to cross borders and retrieve his slave from any other state. This virtually meant that the slaves would not be protected if they ran away to a different state. The sole thing the owner had to do was to present the slave in front of a court and prove that he owned him.

By some accounts, the law was understood by some as a means of going to other states, capturing free blacks and then bringing them back to their home and turning them into slaves. "Some northerners believed that the law amounted to an invitation for kidnappers to seize free blacks. And indeed, professional slave catchers did not always take pains to make sure they had captured the right man nor did every judge go out of his way to ensure that a supposed fugitive matched the description of the affidavit" (McPherson, 2003, 78). This situation was possible as this law, as many at the time, was ambiguous and left room for interpretation as to how it should be enforced.

The northerners recognized the misuse of the passed law and strived to legally counteract it. They as such issued laws of personal liberty, through which the slaves would be able to give testimony, to appear before a jury and even to make formal accusations of kidnapping. These anti-slavery laws had been constructed on the premises of antecedents, when the courts had ruled in favor of the kidnapped slaves. All military and civilians, all blacks and whites, were united by the right law, the higher law as they called it, under which they had "vowed to resist the fugitive slave law" (McPherson, 2003, p.82).

Leaning on these successes, the North began to empower the blacks. They would free them from slavery and would allow them to form independent social connections. The blacks in the north even began to organize themselves in groups and have independent black leaders. They would then commence to support the slaves in the South to run away from their masters. The slaves in search of freedom would secretly embark in underground railroads, through which they would then get to the North or to Canada. These underground railways would become elements of myth for the northerners, but at the time, they were ostracized by the southerners.

The states in the Confederation felt a great sense of anger from the fact that the slaves were running away, and were as such militating for even harsher slave laws. But what was even more so upsetting was the feeling of southerners that the northerners were betraying them. "Like a free California, northern aid to escaping slaves was an insult to southern honor. Although the loss of property is felt, said Senator James Mason of Virginia, the loss of honor is felt still more" (McPherson, 2003, p.79).

As the efforts of the northern to abolishing slavery intensified, the southerners took stand and declared themselves independent from the North. The secession was not legally recognized by the political parties nor by President Abraham Lincoln, and military troops were disposed to maintain peace. In 1861 however, the southerners attacked the Union troops at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

When they enlisted to serve the Union in the fight against the Confederation, most soldiers did not mention the idea of slavery abolition. Yet, there were young northerners who recognized and swore to protect the rights of liberty and free living, or the same rights which govern the United States of America. "But those who did were outspoken in their determination to destroy the slave power and to cleanse the restored Union of an evil they considered a mockery of American ideas of liberty" (McPherson, 1997, p.19). Another northerner soldier passionately argued that he would never be "instrumental in returning a slave to his master in any way shape or manner. I'll die first" (McPherson, 1997, p.119).

Even before the actual conflicts broke out, the Union soldiers were protecting the blacks in the South. In one instance, a black slave had escaped from his master's lands and had sought refuge in the camps of the northerner soldiers. The landlord came running to the military camp and demanded that his slave be rightfully returned to him. The soldiers were not however intimidated and even argued that had the landlord not limited his stay and his behavior, they might have even killed him (McPherson, 1997).

And this sense of an impending need to abolish slavery was not only common among the northerner soldiers, but at the level of the entire society and the military leaders, most of whom agreed that the only solution to resolving the conflicts and creating a stable and prosperous country was that of dooming and cleaning out slavery. They said: "The only way to put down this rebellion is to hurt the instigators and abettors of it. Slavery must be cleaned out. […] Slavery is doomed" (McPherson, 1997, p.120).

The political parties, especially the Northern Democrats and the Whigs, were also dedicated to the cause. Their brutal response to the Confederation's dedication to protect slavery was met with an even greater dedication to eradicate "this gross violation of a sacred pledge, this atrocious plot to convert free territory into a dreary region of despotism, inhabited by masters and slaves" (McPherson, 2003, p.124).

All members of the society united their forces and enhanced their actions and efforts in support of the cause upheld by the Union. And they were so dedicated to the cause that they would fight until death. They were all united by the motto: "we must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued" (McPherson, 2003, p. 491)

In the context of individual white soldiers militating for the rights of the blacks, the North struggling to rescue the blacks, and the South fighting to maintain slavery, it becomes obvious that the abolition of slavery was a noble cause of the North, but its maintenance was a shameful deed for the South. The success of the North did not await the actual end of the armed conflicts, as President Lincoln had by 1862 issued the Emancipation Proclamation, by which he abolished slavery. This once again proves the commitment of the Union to create… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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