American Civil War
The American civil war began in 1861 and ended in June 1865. The seven states from the
south that mainly dealt in slave trade declared their secession from the USA and were referred to
as the Confederates States of America or the Southerners or the confederates and they later
expanded to eleven states. The other states that remained were known as the Union. The war was
the bloodiest in history as over 600,000 both Confederates and Union soldiers died. A lot of
infrastructure and properties belonging to the Confederates were also destroyed. Never in the
history of the US has it experienced such kind of losses and fatalities. (Heidler, Heidler, Coles,
The Northerners or the Union led by Abraham Lincoln wanted all the states to remain under the
union and the expansion of the slave trade to be restricted. The strategy employed to defeat the
Confederates included the Union blockade which restricted and blocked all the ports in Southen
part of the USA that were largely under the control of the Southerners. The Atlantic and the
Gulf coast were blocked by the Union navy and there was no way that the southerners could
American Civil War 2
export their cotton hence they had no financial income to restock their ammunition supplies and
the strategy effectively shortened the war period.
The South was interested in the expansion of slave trade and was opposed to any form of slave
trade restriction. They planned to win the war by seceding from the Union and upholding the
slave trade. (Heidler, Heidler, Coles, 2002)
The USA could have avoided the war by initiating a dialogue between the pro-slavery and the
anti-slavery states representatives. The major cause of the war was the North’s resistance to the
expansion of the slave trade and which was seen as an attack on the economy of the Southern
states which depended heavily on the slaves to plant and harvest the cotton.
Finally to conclude, the uncompromising decision to restrict the slave trade by the Union led to
the final decision by the Confederates to break away from the Union.
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Heidler, D.S., Heidler, J. T., Coles, D. J. (2002). Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A
Political, Social, and Military History. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO.