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Question 2: What impact did the war have on Northern and Southern society, respectively? What were the primary ways in which it changed the nation?
At the start of the Civil War, all races, ethnicities, and social classes were forced to choose sides- the southerners that represented the Union and the northerners that fought for the Confederacy. The Union states were led by Abraham Lincoln while Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederacy. To me, the Union had a much greater advantage due to the fact that they had twelve more states than the Confederacy did. Not only this, but their advancements in industrialization was much more developed than those of the southern states. The Confederates had some advantages including an experienced militia and their geographic location. At the victory of Antietam, Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation which “warned the Confederacy that if it did not stop fighting, all slaves in the Rebel states were to be made forever free in exactly 100 days, on January 1, 1863” (Shi, 502). Although the idea of this sounds moral, Lincoln’s intentions were more on a militant point of view; this event would drastically change America though the passing of the thirteenth amendment which ended slavery in all states. One of the most significant impacts the war had on both societies included the mass number of casualties occurred. According to the Nation Park Service, 642,427 people were affected in the Union society through being killed, wounded, diseased, or serving as a prisoner of war; the Confederates had 483,026 casualties (National Park Service, 2015). Another impact that the war had on the states included the increased power of the federal government and the ideology of the power of the planter class slowly dissipated.
By the time the Civil War came to an end, the states needed a major reconstruction- politically and economically. Politically, the states lingered on the topic of a new government and what to do with the seceded states. To deal with this, President Lincoln created a Proclamation of Amnesty and reconstruction which said that any Rebel state could create their own government. There was a catch though- it also said that this could only happen whenever “a number equal to 10 percent of those who had voted in 1860 took a formal oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the Union received a presidential pardon acquitting them from treason charges” (Shi, 536). This led to the creation of Radical Republicans who supported the idea of freed slaves with as many rights as the white men had. Because the thirteenth amendment was passed, $4 billion that were invested in slavery were lost. The end of slavery meant the stagnant production of major crop industries such as tobacco and cotton. This also meant that the millions of freed slaves didn’t have any land, food, or education. To try to solve this, the Freedmen’s Bureau was created which created thousands of new schools, reconnect families, and legalize marriages in the former slave community. The most significant of all reconstruction during this time were the creation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments which allowed the federal government to be in charge of “ensuring equal treatment and political equality within the states” (Shi, 565).