The American Civil War – Timeline and a Quiz for History Students

The American Civil War

The American civil war lasted for four years, beginning from 1861 to 1865. It is also referred to as the War Between the States as it was fought between the United States and the 11 Southern states that had attempted to secede from the Union to form the Confederate States of America (Hall, Huff and Kuriwaki). The impact of the civil war on the polity and the American society is believed to be the most traumatic experiences in the American history (Hummel). The purpose of this essay is twofold: to understand the reasons for and outcomes of the war; and to evaluate the need for a strong post-war central government and national development.

Reasons and Outcomes of the American Civil War

There were several reasons that contributed to the American civil war. Some of the reasons and outcomes are discussed below. First, the struggle between the individual state’s rights and the federal government particularly in relation to the issue of slavery contributed to the civil war (Hummel). The Northern and Southern states were sharply divided on the issue of slavery and on the authority of the federal government over individual states. Second, the candidature of Abraham Lincoln who was perceived to be anti-anti-slavery heightened the rivalry between the Northern and Southern states (Hummel). Therefore, the election of Lincoln into office in the 1860 presidential election caused tension in the Southern states. Another reason for the civil war was the attempt of several Southern states to secede from the United States. In 1861, the slave-holding Southern states including Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi attempted to secede from the United States to form a new Southern Confederacy (Hall, Huff and Kuriwaki). The move agitated the Western and Northern states to fight the Southerners from seceding to preserve the Union, and this fueled the civil war.

With regard to the outcomes of the civil war, the loss of life was the most outstanding. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died in the civil war which represented 2% of the total American population as of 1861 (Hall, Huff and Kuriwaki). The civil war also resulted in the reunion of the nation since the Southern states did not succeed to secede. The war also proved the supremacy of the federal government over the states (Hall, Huff and Kuriwaki). Furthermore, the war led to the abolition of slavery.   Finally, the war set the stage for increased industrialization which was triggered by the development and production of wartime technologies.

The American Civil War
The American Civil War

The Need for a Strong Post-war Central National Government and Nation Development

The development of a strong national government after the civil war was important to ensure that all citizens were protected from various discriminatory laws against the religious, ethnic and minority groups practiced by some states. Moreover, the industrial revolution after the civil war necessitated a strong central national government as it was better equipped to handle such changes compared to the states (Hummel). Moreover, the increased industrialization after the civil war placed the country on the global map and hence needed a strong national government that would regulate the trade between the country and other nations (Hall, Huff and Kuriwaki). Therefore, the national government had to be strengthened to regulate commercial undertakings such as banking regulation to revive the economy which had severely been affected by the civil war.

The civil war had serious social, political, and economic ramifications, particularly in the Southern states. Therefore, the reconstruction of the union required embarking on national development to save the country plunging into further problems (Hall, Huff and Kuriwaki). Moreover, the post-war nation development was important to restore the loyalty of state government to the national government that had been lost during the war.

In conclusion, the American civil war remains the greatest crisis in the country’s history which plunged it into severe social, political and economic problems. Therefore, rebuilding a strong central government and nation development was important to ensure that the country recovered from social and economic losses encountered and to prevent it from plunging into a similar situation in the future.


American Civil War

Antebellum- Existing before Warfare: particularly the American Civil War.

Transcendentalism – An unrealistic philosophical and social association that developed in England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism.

Second Great Awakening- It was a protestant religious restoration during the early 19th century in the United States.

New Middle Class-Is the one that stands between the highest and the lowest strata of society.

Separate Spheres- Is an observable social fact within present societies that mark, to some degree, an experimental separation between a home or a private globe and a public sphere.

Temperance- Abstinence from drinking alcohol.

Seneca Falls- Was the first convention of women’s rights.

Shakers- An American religious camp associate, notably the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming, recognized in England c.1750 and living only in celibate mixed communities.

Abolitionist – A person who favors abolishing a practice or institution, particularly capital penalty or slavery.

Henry David Thoreau- Was an American naturalist, philosopher, essayist, and poet.

Wilmot Proviso-Was a proposal that was not successful in 1846 request in the United States Congress to burn slavery in the region acquired from Mexico in the Warfare between Mexico and America.

Compromise of 1850- Comprises of the five laws passed in September of 1850 that were dealing with the question of slavery and territory expansion.

Bleeding Kansas – Was a sequence brutal series of confrontations in Kansas territory, the United States from 1854 to 1859 that developed from the ideological and political dialogue over the legitimacy of slavery in Kansas’s planned state.

Fire Eaters – Was a group of pro-slavery Democrats in the Antebellum South.

Popular Sovereignty-It states that a state’s authority and its rules are formed and maintained by its people’s approval by their elected representative, based on all political power.

Miscegenation- This is the interbreeding of citizens considered to be of different racial types.

Kansas/Nebraska act- Was a bill in 1854 that instructed “popular sovereignty” to allow residents of a region to make their own decision concerning slavery in the borders of a new state.

Freeport Doctrine- This was a doctrine by Douglas that, despite the Dred Scott decision by local legislation that excluded slaves from the region of United States.

Republican Party-Is one of the political parties in the United States.

Underground Railroad- Was a network of secret routes established to help African American slaves escape.

Confederacy- Is the succession of a state from the UnionUnion.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin- Is a novel published in 1852 on the abolition of slavery by Harriet Beecher, one of the American authors.

Sherman’s March to the Sea-Was a military campaign by Maj. Gen.  William Tecumseh Sherman, from the Union Army.

Battle of Bull Run/Manassas- This was the first encounter for the American Civil War, which was considered a Confederate victory.

Fort Sumter- Is an island reinforcement situated in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, mainly known as the spot of the first shot of the Civil War.

Siege of Vicksburg – This was the last significant military action in the American Civil War’s Vicksburg campaign.

Copperheads-Are pit vipers, like rattlesnakes and water moccasins.

Crittenden Compromise – This was a non-successful suggestion to permanently preserve slavery in the United States Constitution, making it unconstitutional for future congresses to bring slavery to an end.

Total War-Is a sequence of planned games established by a British developer Creative Assembly for individual computers.

Habeas Corpus-Was, an early common-law court order issued by a court or judge instructing individuals who hold others in custody and take the person before the court for a specific purpose.

Short Answer Questions


The Second Great Awakening and transcendentalism resulted in the change of antebellum American thought and culture in the following ways:

  • It leads to the unity of the nation hence the broad acceptance of Protestantism resulting from the division of different sects and denominations.
  • It helped propel several restructuring movements, including abolition and temperance, in its attempt to return Christianity to its previous state.
  • It helped to bring back a sense of community.
  • It emphasized the Gospel of Grace instead of the Gospel of Works that preached about an individual’s choice to accept God’s gift of Grace.
  • The theological shift resulted in the weakening of the innate depravity where humans prone to sin believed that only through God, their sinful tendencies could be overcome.

Quiz 2

I’m afraid I have to disagree with the fact that John Brown was a terrorist because of the following attributes:

  • He was the radical abolition leader inciting the slave rebellion to set free states for African Americans.
  • He was dedicated to the abolition of slavery due to the death of Elijah P. Lovejoy.
  • He was involved in the Underground Railroad and volunteered to give his son transport runaway slave from the South to the North to Canada.
  • John Brown founded The League of Gileadites, and a radical set meant to protect slaves from being caught.
  • John Brown planned to take a trip to the South to provoke the revolt of slaves.

Quiz 3

The 1860 elections triggered American democracy, but democracy could be possibly saved because of the following:

  • The fact that Lincoln was elected owed much to the disarray in the Democratic Party.
  • Fire- eaters vowed not to allow a northern democrat like Stephen Douglas to become their presidential candidate.
  • By offering two presidential candidates, the Democrats gave the Republicans a significant advantage to prevent its victory.
  • The Fire-Eaters disagreed with the election results where Lincoln’s name was blocked from appearing on ballots of southern states, which made some of them withdraw from the United States formally.
  • The Nomination of Lincoln to be the elected president garnered 40% of the popular vote.

Quiz 4

Gettysburg Address is a speech delivered by Lincoln in the times of the American Civil War in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery commitment in Gettysburg. The enduring qualities of the Gettysburg Address included:

  • Abraham Lincoln was the one who delivered it.
  • The place the address was delivered and the occasion under which it was offered.
  • It was considered one famous speech in Western history.
  • The rhetorical construction of the speech.

Quiz 5

The Fugitive Slave Act was a compromise agreed on September 18, 1850, by Congress. The enactment aimed was that the slaves be taken back to where they came from, even if in Free states. The act allowed the federal administration to find and return the slave to their homes, which to some extent gave positive results.

Quiz 6

The Confederate State of America failed to receive help from Europe because it was unable to ship cotton to England and other continents at that time, which led to the Davis government surrendering the most potent financial weapon to its hands, leading to the discouragement of cotton growth because of the obstacle placed in the way of shipment to Europe. The confederate’s impact was that some error was recognized in the cotton policy, which could be accrued to the South by any different policy.

Essay Quiz

Abraham Lincoln issued Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, September 22. It comprised the dates that the 3million slave in the United States were to be set free. It also considered the Civil War as a fight that was against slavery. In other words, the Emancipation Proclamation was a law that declared all persons in custody within the rebellious states to be held free.

Lincoln avoided issuing an anti-slavery proclamation in 1861 shortly after his inauguration as the 16th president of the United States because he maintained that the War aimed to restore UnionUnion and not slavery. Lincoln issued this Emancipation Proclamation because of the urgings from radical Republicans and abolitionists and Lincoln’s perception that slavery was morally repugnant. Various political parties, radical Republicans, and abolitionists pressured Abraham Lincoln over the Emancipation Proclamation issue, which resulted in him feeling confined by the authority of the constitution to challenge slavery in war measures.

Lincoln’s cabinet was against making the Emancipation Proclamation announcements until after the assurance of the Union Victory. Lincoln got an opportunity of announcing the proclamation following the win of the UnionUnion at the Battle of Antietam in 1862, September 22, where he declared that incarcerated people in rebellious areas be held free within 100 days. In 1863, on January 1, Lincoln gave the last Emancipation Proclamation, which affirmed all slaves to be open during that time and shall be free. Moreover, the proclamation gave room for the establishment and enrollment of approximately 180,000 African Americans to serve in the army.

The Kansas- Nebraska Act made it possible for territories previously not open for the slave to open as per the Missouri Compromise. With the proclamation, the children and women slaves fled to Union-controlled areas in the South, which was an argument that this could lead to victory in the War. It led to an opportunity for black men to be enrolled in the U.S armed forces. Lincoln also tried to find an agreement between the Border States and the gradual Emancipation, like compensating the enslavers with little success. The Emancipation declared freedom to the slave people since it was the North’s War’s aim other than protecting the UnionUnion. The Emancipation led to an enduring end to slavery in the United States.

The Emancipation Proclamation document was functional to only the region outside the monarchy of his manage, which slightly affected the freedom of the slaves from the nation. Lincoln justified that the Emancipation was a measure of wartime meant to apply to the Confederate States, which are currently in rebellion. Only four border slave states were exempted from the proclamation, and the Union Army controlled all parts.

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