The Final Reflection

In a summarizing reflection for my final blog post of Honors History 10, I will give a short description on each of the presentations I experienced on Monday and Tuesday. In these two classes, six groups (including mine) gave presentations on their respective topics, all tying their information into the underlying theme: People, Places, and Power. I came to a broader understanding on this theme when each group explained the parts of the theme utilizing pictures, definitions, videos, and surveys. Each presentation was descriptive and provided enough information on the topic of People, Places, and Power. My group, Labor vs. Big Business, went first.

The first presentation afterwards, Immigration Europe, explained how religious persecutions forced many European people (especially the Jews) to move to America in an attempt to find religious and social freedom. Ellis Island on the New York coast was an important place where most European immigrants entered America for the first time. A defining power opposing the new immigrants were the American officials that ensured that tests were administered and quarantines were created for any immigrants carrying foreign diseases from Europe.

The second presentation, Imperialism Africa, explained how European powers conquered Africa to build massive empires from the plentiful natural resources. During the 1800’s, the vast majority of Africa was controlled by Europe, mostly France. The native African people were exploited and enslaved to harvest their resources for their militant European overlords. One important person, King Leopold of Belgium, took over the Congo Free State and ruled with an iron fist, terribly oppressing and enslaving the native people, prompting the Berlin Conference to discuss European claims of Africa.

The third presentation, Native Americans in the West, explained how the Navajo people were forced from their native homeland into designated territories by the American government. Pioneer Kit Carson and American government officials enforced rules for the Navajos to live on Native American-specific plantations, having to walk hundreds of miles from their former homes. One major forced migration, the Long Walk, was 400 miles long and many Navajos died due to sickness, famine, or murder. The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs was created to support the Navajos and many other oppressed Native American tribes, but corruption prevented supplies and support from reaching them. Native Americans were also forced to assimilate into Western culture, losing not only their lands but also their culture.

The fourth presentation, Immigration Asia, explained how immigrants from Asia (mainly China and Japan) arrived in America for their search of opportunities. Angel Island was the West Coast version of Ellis Island, allowing immigrants to enter America only if they could pass the proper tests. If the Asian immigrants managed to pass these tests (through whatever means), they were faced with racism from the American people. Immigrant workers receive poor pay and mainly lived in ghettos. Most wanted land to work on, but the American people refused to lease land out to the immigrants. The crushing power of racism prevented Asian immigrants from receiving the opportunities they wished to achieve. 

The final presentation, Imperialism America, explained the lesser known area of American history, our mission to create an empire. After a fatal explosion on an American ship was blamed on the Spanish, the Spanish-American War began. With the fighting ended by the Treaty of Paris (1898), the Spanish-controlled Philippines was given over to America, adding to the American empire. American forces began to ignore the ideas of the Monroe Doctrine, preferring to engage in foreign affairs through the use of adding more land for American territory. With the expansion of American territory, America sought for even more power, focusing on islands such as Hawaii in the Pacific and Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico. This dark side of American history highlights the topic of People, Places, and Power, all presented in our Honors History 10 class.

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Big Business and American Industry Group

           In a group of my peers with varied information on industry in America, my knowledge and understanding of the topic was surely expanded. There were three other members in our group to create the photo essay: Brett, Ricky, and Ryan. Each of these members brought new information to the general group understanding of our shared topic, all derived from different concentrations on information researched. For example, Ricky was especially interested in the inventions created during the 19th century, highlighting the new developments such as the telegraph by Samuel Morse and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Ricky’s interest and new information broadened everyone’s understandings on how new inventions connected American industry together, allowing for easier communication and supply transport to quickly cross the country. Brett concentrated on business trusts, the combination of businesses, and major monopolies that dominated American industry. Brett concentrated on the business consolidations utilized by major businessmen Carnegie and Rockefeller, adding great information to our photo essay. Ryan provided good information on the workers employed by the American industries, highlighting how poor their working conditions could be, prompting them to retaliate in labor unions and with strikes. Ryan’s information was especially utilized when writing about the Homestead Strike. Each member of our group provided great information to add to our general understanding of our topic, American industry.

           The process of creating the photo essay was difficult at first, my group had to assemble all the general information we had amassed over the course of our studies. Acknowledging that a good number of the information would contain general background facts, our group had to summarize our information to the most necessary details. In doing so, we had to cut out some of the extra details of our presented information, all the while attempting to highlight the enduring understandings of our topic. The process of collecting and summarizing our information had its own difficulties along the way, some members would consider some information more important than others, while others believed some details were completely unnecessary and should have been omitted. Once our information was finally complete, we had to add the pictures to the photo essay, which by itself was a challenge indeed. Finding historical photos from scholarly websites was especially difficult, and once the pictures were found they also needed to be cited properly. Some pictures did not have accompanying citations with them, so further research was required to find the developers of these pictures. We had to combine both our summarized information and our cited historical pictures together for the photo essay, prompting commentary mess-ups and technical failures that were truly spectacular. It was frustrating but entertaining to work in such a group to produce the photo essay, we shall soon see the fruit of our labor once these photo essays are shown on Monday.

 

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Steel, Supply, and Sweat: The Industrialization of America #2

Brief Intro Paragraph:

            As an update to my first post discerning America’s industrialization through steel, supply, and sweat, this post will further the general understanding of America’s workers: both positive and negative. To deepen the understanding of this period in American history, one must personally understand the perspectives of those who witnessed this history first-hand. For the past couple of days, our Honors History class has researched our respective topics with the use of online interactive activities. These activities provided primary sources such as first-hand accounts, pictures, and newspaper reactions detailing the events respective to our topics. With the information produced by these activities, we were able to update our original blog posts with new information about personal experiences and events that affected our topic. The main update of this post is the dark and infamous event that greatly influenced American industry and the treatment of its workers, The Homestead Strike of July 6th, 1892. My interactive activity can be found here: http://ftp.learner.org/courses/amerhistory/interactives/sources/E5/e1/event.php

Key Terms:
  • Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American businessman that revolutionized American industry through his methodical and successful steel production company, Carnegie Steel. Carnegie rose from humble beginnings to become a very wealthy investor of modern technology.
  • John Rockefeller was an American businessman who attempted to create an American monopoly through his dominating and highly profitable oil production company, Standard Oil.
  • J.P. Morgan was an American businessman who mastered company finances through his uses of industrial consolidations for industries including banking, electricity, and steel.
  • Monopoly is the total control of the supply and trade of a product or service.
  • Vertical consolidation is the complete control over all phases of a product’s development. This was utilized by Carnegie to ensure the lowest possible production costs of his products
  • Horizontal consolidation is the act of merging different companies together in order to create a larger, more profitable company. This was utilized by Carnegie and Rockefeller to dominate the steel and oil industry (respectively) by merging with his competitors
  • Trust (used in business) is the unofficial bond of different companies without a merger so that several companies could be managed at the same time as a single unit. This was utilized by Rockefeller after he was ordered by state law that he could not own a monopoly, thus the trust was used to avoid this law.
  • The Sherman Antitrust Law was a law passed in Congress in 1890 to prevent the combination of companies that restrained trade or commerce. The law proved unsuccessful for several years as the law was vague enough to interpret differently from its original clause.
  • Piecework was a rule utilized in factories that dictated that those who worked the fastest and produced the most pieces of products earned the most money. Workers were paid by production (not hours) so that companies could reach production quotas at the lowest possible production cost.
  • Sweatshops were factory shops where employees worked long hours at low wages under poor working conditions. These shops usually had very low standards of cleanliness and safety.
  • The Homestead Strike was a major worker strike that took place on July 6, 1892 at Homestead Steel Works in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Homestead was an important steel production mill for Carnegie Steel, but due to wage controversies the workers threatened to strike. In an attempt to resolve the conflict, the workers were fired and the mill was locked out. The workers had the strike anyway, took hold of the mill property, and surrounded the mill to prevent private security forces from retaking the property. A battle erupted between the strikers and the private security forces, resulting in casualties on both sides.
Enduring Understandings:

Industrialized business rose greatly in America due to major investments.

  • Larger pools of capital were used in business investments, costs, and loans. (America: Pathways to the Present)
  • The revised role of business ownership significantly increased the number operations, workers, products, and management. (America: Pathways to the Present)
  • Much of Carnegie’s fortune was invested in Homestead, a steel mill 150 acres wide and employs 4,500 men. In 1888, Carnegie spent $500,000 to create a monopoly by purchasing the 14 competing steel mills to be added to the Carnegie plant. (Illustrated American)

The capital invested innovations of American inventors lead to more efficient methods of commodity production.

  • Edwin Drake’s drilling for oil allowed for easier oil production, creating a new, abundant energy source. (America: Pathways to the Present)
  • Thomas Edison’s new energy source, electricity, became widely available and was used for new inventions like electric lighting. (America: Pathways to the Present)
  • Steel (used as a building material, greatly superior to iron) was produced at a much faster rate than ever before because of the improved Bessemer Process (developed by Henry Bessemer and William Kelly), allowing for productions of higher quality. (Robber Barons and Rebels)

The animosity from the workers in retaliation to their low wages lead to very emotional strikes that caused their anger and frustration to be vented in a single protest, the Homestead Strike.

Homestead Strike, Defeated Pinkertons

  • This sketch depicts the absolute rage expressed upon the defeated Pinkerton detectives after their failed landing to suppress the Homestead Strike. (Created by G.A. Davis, sketch by C. Upham for the July 14th edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly.) Click to view full picture.
Reflection Paragraph:

            A first-hand experience of my topic would be certainly a dark one. Imagine living in 1892, being at the very bottom of the power structure, experiencing hard work in a steel factory with little pay. The price of bread is equal to your daily wage. (Illustrated American) With wages fixed and disputes over pay erupting, fellow workers are debating a strike. (Illustrated American) The strike is planned to take place on the same day as your work contract termination, June 30th. However, on the 29th, Homestead is shut down and the workers are locked out. (The Pittsburgh Post) The strikers begin the Homestead Strike on July 6th, taking Carnegie Steel property. Private security contractors, Pinkerton’s detectives, arrive in river barges but the striker mob prevents them from landing. Pinkerton’s men point rifles at the mob and several detectives land. The mob rush to seize the Pinkerton’s weapons and a rifle is fired from the barge. The mob falls back, only to retaliate enough that the barges are successfully prevented from landing. Pinkerton’s men are trapped inside their barges and finally surrender on the condition that they would be protected from the mob. Pinkerton’s men are then lead outside of their boats, unarmed, facing severe physical and vocal attacks from the mob. The National Guard is called to restore order several days later, and 8,500 men break up the mob. (New York Herald) The Homestead Strike will be remembered as a failed union to prevent the unjust treatment of workers, all being driven by steel, supply, sweat, and now sacrifice.

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Steel, Supply, and Sweat: The Industrialization of America

Introduction:

       For a final unit project, the members of our Honors History 10 class will individually research different eras of world history. In class, we were given the six content choices to research: Native Americans and the West, Labor v. Big Business: The Rise of Corporate America, Immigration: Asia, Immigration: Europe, Imperialism: Europe and Africa, and finally Imperialism: America. Each content choice could only have four students researching it. With these choices to research, our class will evaluate these historical periods to the theme of “People, Place, and Power”. Each term represents a different aspect of history. “People” represents the actions of people that shape historical events through their contributions or conflicts with society. “Place” represents the location (country, region, city, neighborhood, or even building) the historical change takes place or the specific area where famous historical events may have occurred. “Power” represents the strength of a certain group or the influence a certain person has on the outcome of history. With these themes in mind, I researched my content choice, “Labor v. Big Business: The Rise of Corporate America”, to discover how the industrialization of America was based on steel, supply, and sweat.

Key Terms:

  • Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American businessman that revolutionized American industry through his methodical and successful steel production company, Carnegie Steel.
  • John Rockefeller was an American businessman who attempted to create an American monopoly through his dominating and highly profitable oil production company, Standard Oil.
  • J.P. Morgan was an American businessman who mastered company finances through his uses of industrial consolidations for industries including banking, electricity, and steel.
  • Monopoly is the total control of the supply and trade of a product or service.
  • Vertical consolidation is the complete control over all phases of a product’s development. This was utilized by Carnegie to ensure the lowest possible production costs of his products.
  • Horizontal consolidation is the act of merging different companies together in order to create a larger, more profitable company. This was utilized by Rockefeller to dominate the oil industry by merging with his competitors.
  • Trust (used in business) is the unofficial bond of different companies without a merger so that several companies could be managed at the same time as a single unit. This was utilized by Rockefeller after he was ordered by state law that he could not own a monopoly, thus the trust was used to avoid this law.
  • The Sherman Antitrust Law was a law passed in Congress in 1890 to prevent the combination of companies that restrained trade or commerce. The law proved unsuccessful for several years as the law was vague enough to interpret differently from its original clause.
  • Piecework was a rule utilized in factories that dictated that those who worked the fastest and produced the most pieces of products earned the most money. Workers were paid by production, not hours so that companies could reach production quotas at the lowest possible production cost.
  • Sweatshops were factory shops where employees worked long hours at low wages under poor working conditions. These shops usually had very low standards of cleanliness and safety.
  • Division of labor separated the tasks of factory workers to decrease production time. Most product workers would only perform one small task, over and over, and rarely saw the finished product, thus causing lack of worker morale.

Enduring Understandings:

Industrialized business rose greatly in America due to varying factors.

  • Larger pools of capital were used in business investments, costs, and loans. (America: Pathways to the Present)
  • The revised role of business ownership significantly increased the number operations, workers, products, and management. (America: Pathways to the Present)

The capital invested innovations of American inventors lead to more efficient methods of commodity production.

  • Edwin Drake’s drilling for oil allowed for easier oil production, creating a new, abundant energy source. (America: Pathways to the Present)
  • Thomas Edison’s new energy source, electricity, became widely available and was used for new inventions like electric lighting. (America: Pathways to the Present)
  • Steel (used as a building material, greatly superior to iron) was produced at a much faster rate than ever before because of the improved Bessemer Process (developed by Henry Bessemer and William Kelly), allowing for productions of higher quality. (Robber Barons and Rebels)

Reflection:

       In becoming industrialized, America underwent a revolution that completely changed the nation’s way of business due to the effects of People, Places, and Power. During the 19th century, the influx of new innovations from American inventors changed industry with the development improved and cost efficient production methods. Investments were made into the potential of profitable commodities, such as oil and steel, and were fully realized by from the investments of wealthy businessmen who turned these commodities into the staples of American economy. The oil industry was dominated by the monopoly of John Rockefeller. The steel industry was owned by the powerful merger of Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan’s American steel companies. To make profit off these commodities, these American businessmen hired employees that could work on the supply, production, and distribution of their products. With such massive businesses, the company owners revised the roles of employers, operations, and workers to ensure the least costly production costs while at the same time creating the most profitable products. To ensure financial success, some businesses merged with their competitors, creating the highly successful but unlawful monopolies. Another way factories ensured financial success was to disregard the treatment of workers, thus many industrial factories were very dangerous places of work, but represented the only place of employment for many Americans. Because of America’s industrialization, our nation became a wealthy powerhouse in global economy, all originating from People, Places, and Power.

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The Death of Reconstruction: Who Was Its Murderer?

             After the American Civil War, the era of Reconstruction died before it could have truly begun. The 19th century idea of American Reconstruction was a radical time of racially social rebuilding that sought to create more civil rights for the Freedmen (freed African American slaves) which unfortunately became only a false hope. In the North, the presidential administration lead by Ulysses S. Grant was unable to support Freedmen due to nationally political setbacks. In addition, Northern racism influenced the lack of support for Freedmen, cutting down Reconstruction. In the South, Freedmen were oppressed from the racial abuse and violence of white supremacy groups, beating down the hopes for Reconstruction. Supporters of Freedmen such as the Carpet Baggers (Northern whites), Scalawags (Southern whites), and Radical Republicans (Freedmen concentrated Northern politicians) made attempts to support the Freedmen civil rights, but they soon digressed after attacks from the white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan. Other white supremacists violently threatened and swayed elections to prevent Radical Republicans to be elected into office. The North was unable to support Freedmen, thus the actions of Southern white supremacists caused the death of Reconstruction.

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            The South drove the final nail in the coffin for Reconstruction, but the North did little to assist Reconstruction due to two main reasons: President Ulysses S. Grant’s political difficulties and the unfavorable opinion towards Freedmen. From 1869 to 1877, Grant’s Northern based administration had to concentrate on national finance problems rather than the racial problems in the South. Political difficulties such as bribery and frauds distracted Grant from sending federal assistance for Freedmen in the South during his administration, halting the North’s attention from Reconstruction. Major financial downfalls like the Panic of 1873 and other government failures led many of the public to lose faith in the Northern government’s ability to lead, heavily putting pressure on Grant. The picture above captioned “[Grant] ‘In For It’ I hope I shall get to the bottom soon provided the North’s opinion toward Grant’s struggle to solve the country’s problems (Document C; Harper’s Weekly 1876). Grant’s attempts to solve the country’s financial problems forced him lose concentration on a solution for the problems in the South, severely suppressing Reconstruction in the process.

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            The Northern public opinion did not stop at Grant’s political difficulties. Despite the North’s support for freed slaves throughout the Civil War, a notable percentage of the North was racist towards Freedmen. This racism caused a great rift between different segments of the Northern public who supported Reconstruction. The Northern newspaper The Boston Evening Transcript argued in 1873 that Freedmen were incompetent and unfit for the political duties in state legislatures. They stated, “The rising generation of… blacks needed a period of probation and instruction; a period… long enough for the black to have forgotten something of his condition as a slave” (Document D). This Northern newspaper claimed that Freedmen were incompetent to hold legal positions until they could separate themselves from the ideology of slavery. The picture above further demonstrates the North’s racism; these black politicians are stereotypically depicted and are shown to be arguing among themselves, much to annoyance of the other white politicians (Document D; Harper’s Weekly 1874). The North’s racism was a definite breaking point for Freedmen civil rights; the lack of Northern support thus dealt a heavy blow to the faltering success of Reconstruction.

Document D: Heather C. Richardson, The Death of Reconstruction: Race, Labor and Politics in the Post-Civil War North, 1865-1901. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).

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            The political distractions and public racism of the North prevented significant federal assistance from supporting the faltering cause of Reconstruction, but the actions of racist Southerners killed Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan was known to target all those supporting Freedmen, ranging from the white civilian supporters like Carpet Baggers and Scalawags to important politicians like the Radical Republicans. In 1870, white Northern soldier Albion Tourgee gave an account of the Klan’s attacks on politicians in his letter to North Carolina Republican senator Joseph C. Abbott. “It is my mournful duty to inform you that our friend John W. Stephens from Caswell, is dead. He was foully murdered by the Ku-Klux in the Grand Jury room of the Court House” (Document A). The Klan attacked senators even when they were in court, showing the extreme measures white supremacists were willing to take to weaken the support for Freedmen, killing Reconstruction itself. The picture above further displays the Ku Klux Klan’s chilling effect on Freedmen supporters by displaying a Ku Klux Klan branded horse that caused for the hangings of two Carpet Baggers (Document A; Independent Monitor September 1, 1868). The Ku Klux Klan’s violent attacks on Freedmen supporters significantly added to the demise of Reconstruction.

Document A: Albion Tourgee to Joseph C. Abbott, Letter on Ku Klux Klan. (New York: New York Tribune, May 1870).

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            Besides the Ku Klux Klan, other white supremacists used violent tactics to decrease Freedmen civil rights and its supporters to kill Reconstruction. White Southerners swayed and rigged the political elections to favor the Democratic Party, seeking to remove the numerical advantage of Freedmen who wished to vote for the Republican Party. In the Georgia State Legislature in 1876, former slave Abram Colby made a testimony about the violent force Southern civilians would impose to ensure the victory of the Democratic Party. In his testimony Colby stated, “[Klansmen] broke my door open, took me out of my bed, took me to the woods and whipped me three hours or more and left me for dead. They said to me, ‘Do you think you will ever vote another damned Radical [Republican] ticket?’” (Document B). Colby was actually offered money by the white supremacists to not vote for the Republican Party in an earlier election, but when Colby refused, wanting to express his own civil rights, he was beaten and whipped until he swore to vote for the Democratic Party. In the picture above, two white Southerners are depicted holding guns to the head of a black voter with the picture caption “Of Course he wants to vote the Democratic ticket” (Document B; Harper’s Weekly 1876). By swaying the political elections in the South, white supremacy was allowed to reign without the intervention of Radical Republicans or any other opposing government powers. With the Southern government fully influenced by violent white supremacists, Reconstruction died with little hope left for the rights of Freedmen in the South.

Document B: Abram Colby, Testimony to joint House and Senate Committee. (1872).

            In the end, the era of Reconstruction turned out to be a failure, the civil rights of Freedmen became all but dissolved, and the South was restored to white supremacy. The radical idea of Reconstruction was over, killed, as the North and South both contributed to its demise. The North to a lesser extent, Grant’s presidential administration was too distracted by nationally political difficulties that prevented the federal support for Freedmen in the South. Northern racism caused a rift between the public and its support for Freedmen, worsening Reconstruction survival even further. Southern white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan targeted the supporters of Freedmen: Carpet Baggers, Scalawags, and Radical Republicans alike, the Klan went as far as to killing Freedmen supporting politicians. The violent rigging of the elections further killed Reconstruction, as Southerners would attack Republican voters, ensuring that the Democratic Party would succeed, removing all federal support for Freedmen. The North was too politically distracted and racially conflicted to fully support Freedmen, thus Southern white supremacists were able to utilize violent tactics to decrease the rights of Freedmen and their supporters, causing the ultimate death of Reconstruction.

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The Good, Bad, and Ugly of the American Civil War

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                  The Battle of Gettysburg is considered a turning point in the Civil War because it was a defining victory for the Union army that decimated the Confederacy’s morale and ability to invade and attack the North. As the Civil War waged on, the South had begun to invade the North in the hope of lowering Union morale and gaining more ground in Northern territories. Confederate General Robert E. Lee hoped to deal a fatal blow to the Union by beginning a full-scale invasion of the North. Near the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Lee’s army clashed with the Union army led by Major General George Meade. After three days of fighting and bloodshed, Gettysburg went down in history with the largest number of casualties in the entire Civil War. The picture above, The Battle of Gettysburgby artist Thure de Thulstrup, displays the violence of The Battle of Gettysburg. For the Union, 3,155 men were killed, 14,350 wounded, and 5,365 missing, given a total of 23,040 casualties. This represented 27% out of the 918,000 men in the original Union army on December 1863. For the Confederacy, somewhere from 2,600-4,500 men were killed, 12,800 wounded, and 5,250 missing, given a total of somewhere from 20,650-25,000 casualties. This represented 30-34% out of the 278,000 men in the original Confederate army on December 1863. (DBQ Document B) In conclusion, the great percentage of casualties caused by the Battle of Gettysburg decimated the Confederacy’s morale and with Lee’s eventual resignation, the Confederacy invasion of the North came to a crashing end.

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            Although the Union victory at Gettysburg had greatly decimated the Confederacy’s morale, no other Union attack (or rather series of attacks) impacted the Confederacy more than the total war campaigns of the Union generals Grant, Sheridan, and Sherman. By definition total war is “a war that is unrestricted in terms of the weapons used, the territory or combatants involved, or the objectives pursued, especially one in which the laws of war are disregarded”. (Oxford Dictionary) Total war tactician Ulysses S. Grant was a Union general who won major battles of the Civil War including wins at Shiloh and Chattanooga, and for such was highly revered for his battle tactics. However, some of his tactics included the relentless bombardment of ammunition against enemy and civilian trenches, especially during the Battle of Vicksburg. In 1864, Sherman destroyed Confederate barns, railroads, and supply storages to destroy the Confederacy’s ability to wage war by ensuring that supplies would not be provided for Confederate armies. Another closely associated total war tactician was General Philip Sheridan, who was good friends with Grant. Sheridan targeted Confederate-controlled Shenandoah Valley, which was a vital supply resource and transport hub for the Confederacy. Sheridan destroyed the barns, mills, railroads, and factories to prevent the further supply of resources to Confederate troops. Sheridan proceeded to burn hundreds of miles of the Shenandoah Valley, but such was only a precursor of total war before the infamous Sherman’s March to the Sea. The picture above, Sherman’s March by Alexander Hay Ritchie, displays the destruction caused by Sherman’s March as General Sherman is portrayed ordering his men to tear up and destroy a line of Confederate rail. After Sherman had conquered the city of Atlanta by evacuating its citizens then promptly burning the city to the ground, Sherman marched hundreds of miles to the city of Savannah near the Atlantic coast. During his March to the Sea, Sherman destroyed bridges, factories, farms, fields, and especially railroads, similar to Grant and Sheridan before him. As Sherman himself quoted, “War is cruelty… the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over” (Sherman’s Letter to the Mayor of Atlanta). In conclusion, despite the successes of Grant, Sheridan, and Sherman’s tactics to destroy the Confederacy’s ability to wage war, the tactics of total war are simply unacceptable in the irreversible destruction of property, both Confederate and civilian.

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           After the Confederacy had lost their ability to wage war, they surrendered and the Union celebrated. The majority of the Union felt surprise and relief that the war had ended. When the news of the Confederate surrender reached Washington D.C., fireworks were lit and a crowd congregated outside of the White House and demanded Lincoln to make a speech on the Union victory. Meanwhile, Northern soldiers were paraded around for their valiant efforts, while Southern soldiers hung their heads with sadness. However, these same men were able to return into the Union not as soldiers, but as citizens of the United States. But not all Southerners returned to the Union, some, like John Wilkes Booth, drank alcohol to forget the misery of the Confederate defeat. Others, along with Booth, plotted to kill all of their new Union leaders in attempt to restart the Confederacy. All the assassins failed to kill their respective targets except for Booth. As displayed in the picture above, The Assassination of President Lincoln by printmaking firm Currier and Ives, Booth managed to slip past all guards and succeeded in assassinating the president of the United States. Although the Confederacy had failed, they only had managed to prevent Lincoln from witnessing their demise. But as Lincoln quoted, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection” (Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address). The Union had lost its president, but after the Civil War, a truly united, United States of America had emerged.

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Abraham Lincoln and Slavery

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            To the millions of African-Americans enslaved in the South, the prospect of freedom became finally possible with the election of Abraham Lincoln. Due to popular Southern opinion, Lincoln was known as an Abolitionist despite his personal claims of not directly supporting Abolition. African-American slaves became drawn to Lincoln, believing that the new president would bring them freedom. Consider the picture above, “Freedom to the Slaves”. In this picture, Abraham Lincoln is “freeing” a family of African-American slaves in a very direct and personal manner. However, Abraham Lincoln did not directly free the slaves. Lincoln created several anti-slavery documents to free the slaves of Southern states, but some of his actions were influenced by the actions of the slaves themselves.

            To determine Lincoln’s and the government’s direct actions to free the slaves, one must first consider the Confiscation Act of 1861. This was an act created by the Union government that attempted to free and confiscate the slaves of the Southern Confederates. However, the Union government was unable to do so because Northern orders had little power in the Confederacy and thus the Act was not well enforced. Few confiscations of slaves actually occurred. Although Lincoln attempted to free the slaves of the Confederates, it still did not make him an Abolitionist, as this Act was more about politics than Abolition. All the Confiscation Act accomplished was preventing Union generals from declaring escaped slaves as contraband and returning them to their original masters.

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The real document that acted directly against slavery in the South was the Emancipation Proclamation. As the Civil War raged on, slavery became the most pressing topic of the war. Lincoln was forced to act about the escaped slaves who began entering Union army camps seeking freedom, similar to the picture above. In this picture, titled “Slaves from the plantation of Confederate President Jefferson Davis arrive at Chickasaw Bayou, Mississippi”, slaves have left the plantation to seek freedom in the Union army camp. By actively leaving slavery, the slaves themselves had influenced Lincoln to grant their freedom. In 1863, by order of the Emancipation Proclamation, all slaves in the states still rebelling against the Union were declared free. However, slaves in the Border States that did not rebel against the Union were not declared free as the Emancipation Proclamation’s main goal was to address the influx of escaped slaves from the rebelling Southern states. The Proclamation officially acknowledged that the Union army would allow fugitive slaves to serve, thus increasing the strength of the Union forces. In conclusion, the Civil War started in reaction to the possibility of Abraham Lincoln declaring the Southern slaves free, only for the slaves themselves to be the ones declaring their own freedom.

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