What two major points did Lincoln make in his Inaugural Address?
First, in an attempt to mollify the South, Lincoln vowed not to interfere with slavery where it currently existed. Second, Lincoln stated unequivocally that Northern forces would not fire the first shot.
"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine is the momentous issue of Civil War. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors."
Where is Fort Sumter?
Fort Sumter is in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina and was built to protect the harbor from foreign enemies.
How did Lincoln's actions at Fort Sumter prompt the South into firing the first shot of the Civil War?
Deep in Confederate Territory, a small Union force held Fort Sumter. Instead of defending Sumter or abandoning it, Lincoln announced that he was sending non-military supplies by an unarmed ship to the federal troops inside.
As such, the South was now faced with a difficult choice; either attack the fort and begin a war, or let the troops inside receive food, and enable them to hold on. They chose the former, and on April 12, 1861, Lt. Henry S. Farley fired the first shot of the war, a 10-inch mortar.
At the outset of the Civil War, Lincoln took three acts which were an unprecedented use of Presidential executive powers. What were they?
Congress was not in session, and Lincoln, using his executive powers, acted without its approval to:
- Suspend the writ of habeus corpus, allowing for the indefinite detention of those suspected of actions against the government
- Call upon the governors for 75,000 militia troops to serve for three months
- Authorize spending for military purposes
The South possessed two major military advantages during the Civil War. What were they?
The South's two major military advantages were:
- Interior lines: the South would be fighting a defensive war, allowing it to move troops to affected areas and offset in part the Union advantage in manpower
- Able commanders: the South had a distinct military tradition, and many of the Confederacy's senior commanders had significant military experience
Robert E. Lee was so highly regarded at the outset of the War that Lincoln offered him field command of the Union troops.
During the Civil War, the South's military disadvantages became apparent. What were they?
The South's military disadvantages were plentiful, but the most prominent were:
- Lack of manpower: the South fielded significantly fewer troops than the North
- Lack of industry: an agrarian economy at the outset of the War, the South lacked an industrial base, and was chronically short of arms and ammunition
- Lack of a navy: although large numbers of U.S. Army officers joined the Confederacy, the U.S. Navy drew from New England, and remained loyal
What military advantages did the North possess in the Civil War?
The North was in a strong position at the outset of the Civil War, with numerous advantages, including:
- Large population: Northerners outnumbered Southerners 4 to 1, and an influx of new immigrants (many of whom joined the U.S. Army) added to the advantage
- Naval power: drawing primarily from the New England states, the U.S. Navy remained loyal, and was able to blockade the Confederacy
- Industry: most industry was based in the North, and Union factories churned out arms and ammunition
Despite its advantages, it took the North four years to subdue the South in the Civil War. What Northern military disadvantage contributed to the lengthy war?
The primary Northern disadvantage was the lack of effective commanders, and a number of Northern generals proved incompetent. Only at the end of the War did an effective Northern military establishment emerge from experienced field commanders in the West, including Ulysses S. Grant, William Sherman, and Philip Sheridan.
Although referring to a different war, the phrase "Lions led by Donkeys" is accurate to describe the Union forces during the early years of the War.
How did the Upper South react to Lincoln's call for 75,000 troops?
The states of the Upper South (Arkansas, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee) announced they were seceding and joining the Confederacy.
The Confederates rejoiced at the new additions to their ranks, and the Confederate capital was moved to Richmond, Virginia.
After the secession of the Upper South, four slave states remained within the Union (Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, and Kentucky). How did Lincoln treat these states?
The secession of the border states would have doubled the Confederacy's population. Federal troops were dispatched to Delaware and Maryland. Missouri experienced its own miniature civil war and had both a Confederate government and Union government.
Lincoln's biggest worry was Kentucky, the largest border state. He allowed Kentucky to declare neutrality, foregoing action unless the South invaded. Lincoln said "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky."
How did the existence of slavery in the border states affect Lincoln's actions with regard to the Peculiar Institution?
In an effort to keep the border states on the Union side, or at least neutral, Lincoln did not push to end slavery in the first few years of the Civil War.
Lincoln insisted that the War was not about slavery, but about preservation of the Union.
How did the North's economic advantages compare with those of the South?
While the South's cotton could be used to exert economic pressure on Europe, the North possessed:
- a significant banking sector that would assist fundraising
- more railways than the South
- a large number of clerks and bookkeepers, who proved adept at keeping the Northern forces supplied
How did the Confederacy's weak central government hinder the South's warmaking ability?
Dedicated to a strong state-level government and a weak central government, the governors of individual Southern states resisted calls from the Richmond government for troops and funds. The lack of centralized control hampered Jefferson Davis's ability to defend the Confederacy.
At one point, Alexander Stephens, the Confederate Vice President, considered requesting that Georgia secede from the Confederate government.
What was the effect of the Confederate victory at the First Battle of Bull Run?
Having expected a quick conquest of the South, the Confederate victory at Bull Run came as a shock to the North. The victory demonstrated that the War would be a long one.
During the battle, General Thomas Jackson's forces withstood a fierce Union attack, before counter-attacking and driving their enemy from the field. Jackson's troops were said to stand "like a stone wall," earning the General his nickname.
After the First Battle of Bull Run, whom did Lincoln place in charge of the Union Army?
McClellan proved adept at training the new Union Army. Despite the President's urging, McClellan was hesitant to use the new army in combat and Lincoln fired him twice.
McClellan did not particularly respect Lincoln, and called him "The Original Gorilla."
After the First Battle of Bull Run, Lincoln agreed to implement General-in-Chief Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan. What were the elements of Scott's Plan?
The Anaconda Plan called for a:
- Union blockade of Southern ports, cutting off the Confederacy from needed supplies and hard currency
- military force to move down the Mississippi, cutting the Confederacy in half
Scott anticipated this would require a 50,000-man army.
What was the Trent Affair?
In late 1861, a Union warship stopped Trent, a British steamer carrying Confederate diplomats James Mason and John Slidell to Europe. Mason and Slidell were captured and imprisoned in the North.
When the British government threatened war, Lincoln quietly released the two men.
Cotton Diplomacy was the South's attempt to induce recognition and intervention by Great Britain and France. The South believed that Great Britain was dependent on Southern cotton to run its textile mills, upon which the British economy depended. In the early part of the War (before the Union blockade was firmly in place), the South cut off cotton exports.
France was widely believed to be willing to recognize the Confederacy once Britain had done so.
Why did Cotton Diplomacy fail to induce Great Britain to recognize the Confederacy?
The Confederacy overestimated Britain's need for Southern cotton because Britain was able to find other sources of cotton, including India and Egypt.
The British working class were strongly antislavery, and after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and made ending slavery a prime goal of the War, British political leaders lacked the domestic support to recognize the Confederacy.
In 1861 and 1862, Congress passed two Confiscation Acts. What did these Confiscation Acts do?
The first Confiscation Act allowed U.S. forces to confiscate the property of those engaged in rebellion against the Union. The second Confiscation Act freed slaves of persons engaged in active rebellion against the Union.
The confiscated property included slaves, who were deemed contraband-of-war, or "contrabands" for short. As the Union Army moved into the South, the contrabands fleed for the freedom of Union Army camps.
What financial reforms did the absence of Southern Democrats in the House permit Republicans to accomplish?
Republicans were able to enact many long-cherished financial reforms, such as the creation of a national bank, and raising tariff rates to finance the War (the Morrill Tariff Act, 1861).
What did the Homestead Act (1862) accomplish?
The Homestead Act offered 160 acres of free land upon the Great Plains to anyone who was willing to farm it for five years.
The goal of the Homestead Act was to increase the population of the Great Plains, as well as to stimulate agricultural production.
What did the Pacific Railway Act (1862) establish?
The Pacific Railway Act allowed for the building of a transcontinental railway through a Northern route.
Before the Civil War, Southerners in Congress had been advocating for a Southern route which was the impetus behind the Gadsden Purchase. With Southerners absent, Congressional Republicans were able to establish a Northern route instead.
Lincoln took advantage of the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam to make what announcement?
Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation. International opinion required that Lincoln issue the Proclamation only after a major victory, so as not to appear as an act of desperation.
How many slaves did the Emancipation Proclamation free?
The Emancipation Proclamation freed no slaves, as it applied solely to those areas in rebellion against the Union, and thus not under Union control.
Nevertheless, the Emancipation Proclamation made the Civil War about more than secession. With slavery as a cause, Anglo-French intervention was forestalled, and thousands of slaves fled to Union lines.
The Proclamation also authorized the use of freed slaves in the Union Army.
What was the role of black soldiers in the Civil War?
Over 200,000 blacks served in the Union Army, and over 37,000 died in the service of their country. Black soldiers served in all-black units led by white officers.
In the Confederate Army, blacks served as laborers, digging trenches and hauling supplies, freeing Confederate soldiers for combat operations.
What was the Confederacy's major bid to challenge the naval supremacy of the United States?
The Confederacy launched the CSS Virginia, an ironclad ship built upon the hull of a Union frigate, the Merrimac.
The Virginia's iron sides deflected cannonballs, and on March 8, 1862 she destroyed two Union warships at the Battle of Hampton Roads.
The ease with which the Virginia had destroyed the Union ships completely revolutionized naval warfare, by making wooden sailing vessels obsolete.
How did the Union Navy counter the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia?
The Union completed its own ironclad ship, the USS Monitor, which arrived in Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9, 1862, one day after the CSS Virginia's maiden voyage. The two ships fought to a draw, and the Virginia was prevented from ever challenging the Union blockade again.
For precisely one day, the Confederates had ruled the waves.
The term "Copperhead" was a nickname for Northern Democrats who opposed the Civil War and who called for immediate peace with the South.
The Copperheads earned their sobriquet from the snake of the same name.
In March 1863, Congress passed the Conscription Act. What did the Conscription Act establish?
The Conscription Act established the first military draft in U.S. history. A provision of the law, which allowed anyone to escape the draft by paying $300, created widespread opposition.
As a result, a popular slogan of the time was "Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight."