Civil War

A Divided Nation

Cultural, economic, and political differences between the North and the South eventually resulted in the Civil War.

Issues that Divided the Nation


    • Northerners believed that slavery should be abolished because it was unethical

    • Southerners depended on slaves for their economy

    • One big conflict was whether new states should allow slavery

Cultural issues

    • The North was urban, and people held jobs in cities

    • The South was agricultural, and people lived in small villages, farms and plantations

    • Because of their cultural differences, people of the North and South found it difficult to agree on social and political issues

Economic issues

    • The North had more factories, and its people favored tariffs (taxes on imports and exports) that protected factories from foreign competition

    • The South opposed tariffs because they would cause prices of manufactured goods to increase and would cause Great Britain to stop buying cotton from the South

Political issues

    • A major conflict was how much power the central government should have vs. how much power the state governments should have

    • Northern states believed the central government should be more powerful, but Southern states thought the state government should be more powerful

Compromises Attempting to Resolve Differences

Missouri Compromise (1820): Missouri entered the Union as a slave state and Maine entered the Union as a free state to balance the numbers of slave and free states

Compromise of 1850:

    • California entered the Union as a free state

    • Southwest territories could decide the slavery issue for themselves

    • A stricter fugitive slave law was created

    • The slave trade was banned in Washington, D.C.

Kansas-Nebraska Act: People in each state would decide the slavery issue (“popular sovereignty”)


Southern Secession

  • Following Lincoln’s election (he opposed slavery), many southern states seceded (broke away) from the Union

  • Lincoln and many Northerners believed that the United States was one nation that could not be separated or divided

  • Most Southerners believed that the states had freely created and joined the Union and could freely leave it

States that Seceded from the Union

  • Alabama

  • Arkansas

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Louisiana

  • Mississippi

  • North Carolina

  • South Carolina

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Virginia

Border States (slave states that did not secede):

  • Delaware

  • Kentucky

  • Maryland

  • Missouri

Free States

  • California

  • Connecticut

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Iowa

  • Kansas

  • Maine

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • Minnesota

  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • Ohio

  • Oregon

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • Vermont

  • West Virginia (western counties of Virginia that refused to secede)

  • Wisconsin

The War

The Civil War was fought between the Union (North) and the Confederacy (South) from 1861-1865.

Civil War Leaders

Abraham Lincoln

    • 16th president of the United States

    • Opposed the spread of slavery

    • Issued the Emancipation Proclamation that freed all slaves

    • Believed the United States was one nation, not a collection of independent states

    • Wrote the Gettysburg Address that said the Civil War was to preserve a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”

Jefferson Davis

    • President of the Confederate States of America

Ulysses S. Grant

    • General of the Union army

Robert E. Lee

    • Commander of the Confederate States Army

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

    • Skilled Confederate general from Virginia

Frederick Douglass

    • Former slave who promoted African American involvement in the Civil War

Major Battles and Events

  • The South Carolina militia fired on Union troops in Fort Sumter, South Carolina, starting the war (1861)

  • The First Battle of Bull Run in northern Virginia was the first major battle (1861)

  • The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, many of whom joined the Union Army (1863)

  • The Battle of Vicksburg in southern Mississippi gave the North control of the Mississippi River (1863)

  • The Battle of Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania was the turning point of the war in which the North stopped Lee’s invasion (1863)

  • Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, ending the war (1865)

Effects of the War

Effects of the War

  • Family members and friends were often pitted against one another

  • As the war went on, Southern troops became younger and more poorly equipped and clothed

  • Much of the South was devastated at the end of the war (Atlanta and Richmond were burned down)

  • Disease killed many soldiers

  • Clara Barton, a Civil War nurse, created the American Red Cross

  • Combat was brutal and often man-to-man

  • Women were left to run businesses in the North and farms and plantations in the South

  • The collapse of the Confederacy made Confederate money worthless

Effects of the War on African Americans

  • Many freed African Americans fought in the Union army

  • The Confederacy used enslaved African Americans as ship workers, laborers, cooks, and camp workers

  • African American soldiers were paid less than white soldiers

  • African American soldiers were discriminated against and they served in segregated units under the command of white officers

  • Robert Smalls, an African American naval captain in the Union army, was highly honored for his bravery