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This week’s lesson explains how slavery was a pressing issue for the United States from 1812 to the 1850s. The North began to flourish with new technology, new railroads, and a renewed individual culture. The South on the other hand, stayed fixated on its cotton industry which was dependent on slavery. Many Americans, whether for secular or religious reasons, fought for the end of slavery (CCN, 2019). Keene explains that, “The Civil War began in 1861 as a conflict over whether Southern states possessed the right to secede from the Union. But when Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863, it became a war against slavery” (Keene, 2013). Each side thought they were stronger and would win.

The Union overall had more advantages than the Confederacy but that did not divert them in anyway. Even though the North had a greater population, the South had about an equal sized army. The main advantage of the Union was their industrial advantage. The North was were the majority of firearms were produced. Not only that but many other materials vital for soldiers such as cloth, iron, and boots were also mass produced in the North. The North also had a major railroad system that allowed goods to be transported quicker. The South had a greater advantage of producing food due to the farm land. Another major advantage of the South was that seven of the eight military schools was in the South therefore they had many trained officers on their side. The South also built huge gunpowder mills and established many armories and foundries in multiple states. The main goal of the Confederacy was they were fighting on home land. They were fighting off the North on familiar landscape and that their landscape was larger. Also, it is documented that the South was fighting with a bigger moral than the North because they did not want to change their way of life (Strengths and Weaknesses: North vs. South).

After the Civil War there was much debate on what to do with the Confederate States. The South was in ruined and much was destroyed from the war. Unfortunately the Constitution did not give any insight on what to do at this time and no one knew who was to be in charge of such a matter. From the beginning President Lincoln had sympathy for the South and wanted them to rejoin the Union. Keene explains that, “Lincoln proposed a moderate Reconstruction policy. As he suggested so eloquently in his second inaugural address, he intended to deal with the defeated South “with malice toward none” and “charity for all” to “achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves….” He believed that extending lenient terms to the South would convince Confederates to surrender sooner and speed the healing process necessary for the good of the Union” (Keene, 2013). The Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, or the Ten Percent Plan was to pardoned all Southerners who took an oath pledging loyalty to the Union. When 10 percent of a state’s voters took this oath they were allowed to establish a new state government then apply for federal acknowledgement. On the other hand, the Radical Republicans were infuriated by such a lenient plan. They came up with a plan to punish the South and destroy their slavery patterns. They came up with such a severe plan that, “high-ranking army officers or government officials would be stripped of their citizenship, including the right to vote and hold office. The former Confederate states would be readmitted only after a long period of punishment and a clear demonstration of their commitment to the Union, emancipation, and freedmen’s rights” (Keene, 2013). Many ideas were rejected by Lincoln expect for one a few weeks before his death. This was “the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, known as the Freedmen’s Bureau. Created a few weeks before Lincoln’s death, its goal was to provide food, clothing, healthcare, and education for both black and white refugees in the South” (CCN, 2019). Andrew Johnson became President after Lincoln was assassinated. He originally wanted to punish the South very harshly after the war. Originally everyone was excited about this until Johnson quickly changed his notion. “Despite his harsh anti-planter rhetoric, Johnson was a bitter racist who abhorred the notion of black equality. Committed to maintaining white supremacy, Johnson outlined in May 1865 a lenient policy toward the South designed to rapidly re-establish Southern state governments and restore the Union. It offered pardons, amnesty, and the return of all confiscated property to Southerners who took an oath of allegiance to the Union” (Keene, 2013).

Congress tried to take control but there was much controversy because it was mainly run by Republicans. Congress passed two bills. The first expanded the Freedmen’s Bureau. The second, the Civil Rights Act, declared African Americans and all persons born in the United States citizens. It also defined the rights of all citizens regardless of race.


Chamberlain College of Nursing. (2019). HIST405. Civil War and Reconstruction. Week 4 Lesson. Downers Grove, IL: Online Publication.

Keene, J. D., Cornell, S., & O’Donnell, E. T. (2013). Visions of America. A History of the United States (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Strengths and Weaknesses: North vs. South. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ushistory.org/us/33b.asp

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