The American Civil War was the bloodiest conflict to ever take place on American soil. The immediate effects of this conflict was the solidification of the Union (despite finding itself in pandemonium), the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves and kickstarted a decades long civil-rights movement, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the increased independence of women due to their taking up of male roles during the war. The long term effects of this conflict were increased power of the federal government over the states, increased economic/industrial growth, and divisions seen between races and states we still see to this day. Following the war, the US was no longer a group of independent states, but rather a group of unified states which created a true nation. The Emancipation Proclamation, passed in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln, resulted in the freeing of slaves.
This sparked a decades long civil rights movement driven by the black community’s newfound power. No matter how good this may have been, every action produces an equal reaction. This reaction is the assassination of President Lincoln. Lincoln’s assassination shook the newly reunited nation greatly. His death had profound effects on the way reconstruction of the south was handled.
It was more conducted aggressively than it would have been had he been alive to monitor it. Another short term effect of the American Civil War was the independence and self-sufficiency it gave women across the divided nation. Due to many men being off at war, their wives and children were alone by themselves at home. This led to women having to take up roles that the men typically held. The roles and level of influence women had was highly dependent on which part of the US they resided in (Union or Confederacy) and their class height on the socioeconomic ladder. Women of the Confederacy supported their army greatly and carried equipment, delivered supplies, worked as nurses, and helped build monuments after the war. Wealthier women were pushed into the positions of a slave master or were the head of their plantations.
Women of the Union contributed to their war cause in mostly the same ways. They were seen as less patriotic than women of the Confederacy, due to the fact that they did less “physical labor.” The war helped women elevate their status in society and gave them a say in what went on for the first time in the history of the US. A long term effect of this conflict was the increase in the power of the federal government over the states. The federal government’s power to tax was increased greatly, which ultimately led to the development of the National Banking System, the ability to print currency, and the ability to raise an army. Federal Courts became more respected, and influenced the US more than ever before.
The government also developed the first social welfare agency with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Another contributor to the increased power of the federal government was economic and industrial growth of the nation as a whole. Despite being divided sectionally, the nation was united by railways used during the war.
Trade and industry increased in the North, creating more money for the entire nation and all its citizens. The South suffered and much of its land was destroyed as a result of the war so it suffered significantly more than the North from an economic standpoint. Despite the fact that the American Civil War was the bloodiest battle fought on US soil in history, it did many positive things for the nation. The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves and gave blacks the right to citizenship; sparking a decades long civil rights movement that lasted well into the 1950’s and even into modern day to some degree.
Women also had newfound roles in post Civil War American society. They took up more responsibilities than ever before and had a large influence on their communities; their opinions became more respected across the board. The increased power of the Federal government due to the Civil War benefitted a reunited America greatly. A new National Banking System, increased Federal Court powers, and newly granted civil rights to all American people allowed the federal government to protect the American people and enforce federal law in a more active way than before; a way in which the power of the federal government arched over the power of the states.