Armed Hostilities

Racial Profiling: Necessary Evil or Discrimination?

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Civil War
  3. Social and Economic causes of the Civil War
  4. Conclusion
  5. References


The historic American Civil War occurred between the years of 1861 and1865. The United States’ survival as one nation was in the balance and therefore the war outcome depended fully on the ability of the nation stakeholders’ to bring civic education to her citizen on the values of liberty, justice, equality and human dignity David et al (2001).

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The election of the Abraham Lincoln as the president of the USA in 1860 was the climax of the dispute between the relative powers of the federal and the state governments. About the time of Lincoln inauguration, six (6) states had broken away from the unity and formed autonomous states and within a short period again five (5) states followed. The resulted war between the South and the North actually placed the constitutional government under acid test David et al (2001).

Civil War

The war between South and North began in April 1861. The Southern wanted to be autonomous and they thus broke away from North and formed Southern confederate states. The Northern states retaliated under Lincoln leadership by tempting to stop the rebellion and to restore the Union. Twice as many states and people occupied the Northern region compared with the Southern region. The Northern was endowed with facilities for manufacturing war arms and in addition they had superb infrastructural system. The advantage the Southern had was that they had more experienced military leaders and they had clear understanding of their territory James (2002).

The war that was fought in the next four years involved hundred of thousands of armies and it was so intense in states like Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and Pennsylvania. The war that was fought in the seas and oceans occurred mostly off the coast of Atlantic and on the Mississippi River. The war favored the Union forces for they were able to subdue their rivals and they registered victories in the above regions. However the Union lost Virginia in an attempt to take over the Richmond which was the capital of the confederate states James (2002).

The heaviest toll happened in September 7, 1862 when the two antagonistic groups met in Antietam creek near Sharpsburg. The group led by General Robert Lee, representing the confederate states succumbed to pressures from the group led by General George McClean, representing the Union and had to retreat back though his soldiers did not suffer any casualties.

The battle was not conclusive in military terms though the magnitude of the impact was enormous. The plans by the Britain and France to recognize the confederate states failed and thus the south did not get the aid they desperately needed from them David et al (2001).

President Lincoln, months later issued emancipation proclamation that started the process of releasing slaves living in the confederate states and gave the directive of recruiting African American into the Union army. The main reason for the North region to go to war was to end slavery in the regions for it was rampant. The American Civil War was suppressed in April 1865 with the defeat of General Robert Lee by the Union forces under the military leadership of General in Virginia. The surrendering terms were observed as generous and President Lincoln began the process of reconciliation. However he was assassinated by a Southerner who was embittered by the defeat and his deputy Andrew Johnson, Southerner was left with the responsibility of reconciliation process. He favored reconstruction that was quick and easy to implement James (2002).

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Social and Economic causes of the Civil War

Slavery was a dominant issue between the years 1820-1860 in the Southern and Northern regions. The lives of people were affected socially, politically and economically. Economies of both North and South depended on labor from slaves David et al (2001). Cotton was considered to be the main product in the South and because it was labor intensive, slaves supplied plantation owners with the labor needed. Northern region benefited a lot because they bought cotton from Southern people and then sell it at huge profit to England and the proceeds was used to buy the much needed manufactured goods. The manufactured goods bought from England by the Northerners were sold in America. Hence the Southern region became a one crop economy meaning that they had to depend on slaves to work on their cotton plantations while the Northern economy depended more on industry than agriculture. The raw cotton was purchased by Northern industries and then processed into finished goods. This brought major disparities in terms of economic attitudes David et al (2001). The Southern economy was based on plantation system as opposed to Northern economy which focused on the city life. With time Northern society was characterized by diverse cultures and different classes of people had to work together while the South maintained their old fashion social order. Liberty party was established in 1840 on the foundations of slave abolition. Thus the attempt by the two regions to protect their beliefs and ways of life caused the outbreak of Civil War in 1861 David et al (2001).


The American Civil War of 1861 to 1865 can be described in multiple ways as the ultimate phase of violence in a conflict of two regions with subcultures; as a democratic breakdown of the political system; as a climax of decades of social system reforms and as a turning point in American racial history David et al (2001). The American Civil War would therefore stand as war that was characterized with heroism, sacrifice, tragedy and triumph.

However the Civil War could not have broke out if the two antagonistic groups had agreed to settle their differences. The War was also inevitable to guarantee freedom for blacks because they were treated as objects of abuse. The Civil War ended slavery and atleast blacks were considered human and they could therefore participate in the election process James (2002).


David, D, Jean, B, Michael, H. “The Civil War and Reconstruction”. NY: Oxford Press, 2001.

James, M. Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam.New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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