The Civil War- Causes and Events

Compromise of 1850

The Compromise of 1850 was January 29, 1850. The government created this to try and avoid conflict between the North and South. It stated Texas would give up their public lands for ten million dollars and four territories would be organized as states. the most controversial part, however, was that each of these new states got to choose if they wanted slavery or not. Abolitionists and slavery supporting people alike were very angry with this, because it would upset the balance of power in Congress.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 gave the people of Kansas and Nebraska the right to decide if they wanted slavery. This is a representation of state's rights. This, much like the Compromise of 1850,  made many people mad because the balance of power would be upset in Congress.

The 1860 Presidential Election

The 1860 presidential election was one of the main causes of the war. Who you vote for depended on their views of slavery. There were two Democratic candidates and only one Republican candidate. so the South had to split their votes. Lincoln won all the Northern votes and the election. He didn't get a single Southern vote. This made the Southerners so upset, that they started to secede from the Union. South Carolina was the first state to secede on December 20, 1860 followed by eleven other southern states. They formed the Confederacy.

The Civil War Begins

On April 12, 1861, Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.  The battle carried on for 36 hours, but the Union didn't return fire for 2 hours. The Union couldn't strike back because they were surprised. The Union forces surrendered on April 13. Surprisingly, no soldiers were killed during the battle. Oddly enough, this was not actual considered a battle.

The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg is considered to be one of the most important battles of the whole war. It was the turning point of the war for the North. The battle was fought from July 1 to 3 in 1863 by Union General George G. Meade and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Over fifty-one thousand lives were lost in this battle. After an unsuccessful charge called "Pickett's Charge", where Confederate forces attempted to attack the Union's center at Cemetery Ridge, Lee was forced to withdraw his army and lose the battle.

The Civil War Ends

After four long years of fighting and his men tired, hungry, and exhausted, General Lee had to consider the option of surrendering. On April 9, 1865, Lee and General Grant met at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The surrender took place in the front parlor of William McLean's home and ultimately ended the Civil War. Grant quickly wrote out the terms of the surrender. All men of the Confederate army were to be pardoned and sent home with all their belongings, including their horses. The officers would keep their side arms, which were their swords, which was uncommon because the losing army officers usually had to give up their swords, and Lee's army would be given Union rations because they were all starving. The Civil war had ended.

The Civil War matters because it was a turning point in our history. This was the event that got slavery abolished in the U.S. It also shows how a country can easily turn against one another and that we need to make sure we stay united.

The Civil War changed Texas' economy and way of life. Texas used to be a southern slave state. After the war, slavery was abolished and all the other states, including Texas, had to change. They had to figure out how to thrive without the slaves.

If the Civil War had not taken place, Texas would be drastically different. If the Civil War hadn't existed, the civil rights era would't have existed. African Americans would probably still be slaves or in another form of forced servitude, and Texas would remain a slave state. On the other hand, the slaves might have revolted soon enough if the Civil War hadn't happened. It just might not have been a war that won them their freedom.

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