Last Updated 19 Oct 2020

American Civil War History Overview

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The American civil war took place between 1861 and 1865. More than 600,000 people died and this made the civil war the worst around that time.

The reasons that led to the civil war are diverse with some people arguing that the term ‘civil war’ is inappropriate. Some of the speculated causes were social, political, psychological, and economical. It was termed as an ‘”irrepressible conflict” amongst Americans (Columbia Encyclopedia, 1993).

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Pressures that Lincoln faced as he contemplated the question of emancipation and why he did not free all the slaves

Back in 1840, Lincoln was more inclined to compensate emancipation. He was against the slave trade and used to compensate those who lost their slaves. These compensations were financial and he insisted that they were voluntary.

The major pressure that Lincoln faced was from anti-extensionists. They were opposed to compensated emancipation and this agitated Lincoln. He tried to revoke it but he was unsuccessful. Lincoln went ahead to introduce compensated emancipation to Delaware. He wanted his proposal’s inclusion in the Delaware legislature (The Lincoln Institute, 2001).

Gradual emancipation featured in the draft bill and he further offered another bill that would order slave compensation by the federal government. These bills however flopped since George Fisher; the Delaware congressman lacked legislative approval. Slaves were in this era treated as personal property hence their loss would call for state compensation.

The north however failed to agree with Lincoln. Lincoln underwent transformation and now campaigned towards the freeing of these slaves. He however saw it as unfair to just free them without offering their masters any form of compensation. Lincoln talked of having friends who put him under pressure to free the slaves while others wanted them to stay (The Lincoln Institute, 2001).

In his quest for emancipation proclamation, Lincoln did not quite succeed in freeing all the slaves. The southern part remained opposed to this move and so only, the ones in the north were freed. Those states that were under the confederacy refused to honor this move.

The civil war united the south to the north and they had to obey Lincoln’s rule. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation policy ended slavery in America (Think quest Library).

Compare the problems faced by the administrations of Lincoln and Davis in prosecuting the war. Why was Lincoln more successful in resolving his problems?

Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were the U.S president and the confederate president respectively. Prosecuting the civil war was tricky especially on the Southerners side led by Davis. His confederate government was not in a position to sustain its army after several sieges by Lincoln’s troops.

There was a deficit in food supply, transport, and clothing. At the same time, the horses went hungry due to lack of fodder and proper care. The ammunition that was in use was faulty and this made all the logistics work against them.

Lincoln was faced with problems such as rejection by the seven states that indeed pulled out of the union thus the formation of the confederation. He thus embarked on changing his generals and this worked, as he was able to conquer the South (Pagewise, 2002).

The civil war was a major success for Lincoln due to his fighting tactics and ability to strategize. He was seen as a better leader as he was skilled, more eloquent, pragmatic, and flexible and this endeared him to his people. He had great choice when it came to picking subordinates for his administration.

He was also very good in delegation. Davis on the other hand was seen as a lesser leader owing to the fact that he was rigid and antisocial. He therefore managed to make more enemies than friends. His strategy further failed as he followed the southerners’ decision to send armies to the vast confederacy. The resources were limited and this resulted in a thinned out distribution of the army. This led to their resounding defeat (Storie, 2004).


The American civil was something that could have been evaded. They only needed to be more rational. The freeing of slaves has been controversial and Lincoln is said to have cared little about them. The black people were treated as personal property and that is why bills on compensation were doing their rounds.

This was split between two sides where one was for emancipation and the other for their stay in America to provide labor. Lincoln carried the day and slave trade was abolished in all states of America.


Columbia Encyclopedia. (1993). Causes of the civil war. Retrieved from

The Lincoln institute. (2010). Compensated emancipation. Retrieved from

Think Quest Library. (2010). The emancipation proclamation freed all black people. Retrieved


American Civil War History Overview essay

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