History as Myth Essay

Pages: 3 (1157 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History


This is seen in many national civil wars, which are often particularly bloody affairs, given how well the opponents know one another, and the level of hatred and animosity between the two sides.

This was certainly true of America's own Civil War. Many of the generals on both sides had been educated at the same schools. They all had similar backgrounds, yet North and South were as bitterly divided as Atreus and Thyestes, and would do anything to win the conflict. The battles were particularly bloody and acrimonious: "In two days at Shiloh, on the banks of the Tennessee River, more American men fell than in all the previous American wars combined. At Cold Harbor, some 7,000 Americans fell in twenty minutes" (The war: The crossroads of our being, 2002, The Civil War). Each side was willing to do everything it could to win: the South was willing to risk everything, despite having a considerable disadvantage in terms of manpower and natural resources; the Union General Sherman was willing to burn Atlanta to the ground to ensure that federal control over the recalcitrant states was secured.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Essay on History as Myth This-Based Myth Assignment

Of course, it could be argued that the Civil War was fought for a great cause, to end slavery, and not for a petty power struggle, as in the case of Thyestes and Atreus. However, when the war was initially waged, not every Union general believed passionately in the anti-slavery cause. "Racial discrimination was prevalent even in the North, and discriminatory practices permeated the U.S. military" (Freeman, Schamel & West 1992). The need for power, specifically control of the federal government over the south and its advocacy of state's rights was a critical component of the build-up to the Civil War. Even Lincoln was not a fanatical abolitionist. He said in 1855 he was with "the great body of the Northern people [who] do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the constitution and the Union" (Wilson 2013). It was not the anti-slavery cause that motivated Lincoln, but a desire to preserve the Union, which he did not believe could stand divided. Lincoln, in short, was willing to engage in a bloody struggle to ensure his control over the entire union, but unlike Atreus and Thyestes, he did not do so for persona aggrandizement, but out of a desire to make America secure. Still, it is important to remember that at the heart of the Civil War, power and control, rather than compassion and charity, were the motivating factors of the first shots.

The critical factor which brought down Atreus was a child who turned against him that had been nurtured by his own family. This was also true of the American South during the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation and the many freed black men who fought for the Union Army played a critical role in bringing the conflict to an end. African-Americans fled the South, gave their support to the Union army, and further depleted the ranks of the weakened Confederate Army (Freeman, Schamel & West 1992).


Freeman, Elsie, Schamel, Wynell Burroughs & West, Jean. (2992). The fight for equal rights: A

recruiting poster for black soldiers in the Civil War. Social Education 56 (2): 118-120. [24 Mar 2013] Retrieved:


The war: The crossroads of our being. (2002). The Civil War. PBS. Retrieved:


Wilson, Douglas. (2013). Lincoln and abolitionism. Gilder Lehrman Institute of American

History. Retrieved: http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/lincoln/essays/lincoln- and-abolitionism [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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