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American Civil War StoryAmerican Civil War Story

American Civil War Story

American Civil War Story

Written by the World's leading experts, The American Civil War story is the definitive account of this landmark conflict.This special edition of BBC History Magazine commemorates 150 years since the battle of Gettysburg – for many a decisive turning point in the American Civil War. As well as examining the causes and early stages of the war, The American Civil War Story analyses the tactical phases on which the war was won and lost and discusses the war’s legacy today.

País:
United Kingdom
Idioma:
English
Editor:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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access_time1 min.
welcome

ONE HUNDRED AND fifty years ago this July, Union and Confederate armies clashed close to the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg. Although few realised it at the time, this three-day battle – a Union victory – was to become a defining moment of the American Civil War. “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,” declared Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg address, “but it can never forget what they did here”. He may have been wrong on the first count but he was indisputably correct on the second. Gettysburg, and the American Civil War as a whole, continue to loom large in history, not only in the United States, but in the world at large. For, as James M McPherson writes on page 98, “the international consequences of…

access_time1 min.
on the eve of war

The American Civil War broke out between free states in the north of the Union (where slavery was prohibited) and slave states in the south. The latter seceded from the Union early in 1861 to form the Confederacy, with a capital at Richmond, Virginia. The war would largely be fought in the southern states. Four border states did not secede, although they did have slavery: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri. West Virginia, which split from Virginia over the issue of secession, was also considered a border state.…

access_time13 min.
part one the story of the war

1 The cause of the trouble: slavery AT THE TIME of the American revolution, it was legal to hold human beings as ‘property’ in all the British colonies that rebelled. But in the wake of the revolution, slavery was abolished in New England and, gradually, in the mid-Atlantic states as well. In the south though, where most enslaved people were held, abolitionism stalled and slavery expanded rapidly. Between the revolution and 1860, the slave population increased from 700,000 to nearly 4 million, geographically concentrated in the south. The increase was driven by the profits to be made from the sale of raw cotton – and to a lesser extent sugar, rice and tobacco – on world markets. As Abraham Lincoln was later to say, “all knew” that “somehow” slavery was the cause…

access_time14 min.
with god on their side

SISTER MARY JOHN, of the Catholic convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts, had gone missing. Inflamed by rumours of debauchery, mysterious rites and nuns held against their will, local people were already suspicious of the hilltop convent. They were worried about the 30 Protestant girls who were housed at the convent’s elite Catholic school and now they feared for the safety of the missing nun. Lyman Beecher, a prominent New England evangelical religious figure, was particularly concerned. Caught up in a religious movement known as the Second Great Awakening, he had moved from Boston to the raw frontier town of Cincinnati where he established a seminary with the aim of saving the American west from Roman Catholicism. Anti-Catholic diatribe While in Cincinatti, Beecher set down his ideas in a popular book, A Plea for the…

access_time10 min.
a life in chains hungry, ragged and ill-used

AFRICANS WERE AMONG the very earliest settlers of Britain’s North American colonies. Scattered references to their presence can be found in Virginia census returns of the 1610s. These men, women and children were among the approximately 12 million enslaved people who, from the 15th to the 19th centuries, endured the so-called Middle Passage, the journey in filthy, cramped and pestilent slave-ships from Africa to the new world. The majority of those who survived the dreadful crossing were transported to Spanish and Portuguese colonies, or to British and French possessions in the Caribbean. The British colonies on continental North America that would one day become the United States were a secondary market, the final destination for about 600,000 of these stolen people. Yet that enslaved population would ultimately grow to over three…

access_time4 min.
why people fought: the south

THE CIVIL WAR took a grievous toll of Confederate lives. During the conflict, at least three quarters of a million men, approximately four in every five of the available white population of draft age, served in the armies of the South. More than a quarter of a million of these troops died on the battlefield or from disease. Another 200,000 were wounded in combat. But these appalling figures fail to reveal the full human horror of the fighting. The experience of battle was so harrowing that in their letters home soldiers remained protectively silent about the worst of it. What then propelled southerners in arms – the vast majority of whom were volunteers, not conscripts – to fight in these numbers and at such personal cost? This, of course, is a…

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