To what extent did the Civil War produce a "new birth of freedom" as Lincoln promised? Did we become a government more "of the people, by the people, for the people"?

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The Civil War was certainly a turning point in American history, one that still affects the US today. The war was not only one of the most intense armed conflicts in American history, it also forced America to redefine how it understood freedom. Abolishing slavery and ending the war was...

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The Civil War was certainly a turning point in American history, one that still affects the US today. The war was not only one of the most intense armed conflicts in American history, it also forced America to redefine how it understood freedom. Abolishing slavery and ending the war was supposed to reinforce the message that all men are created equal, at least according to Lincoln.

The Civil War certainly changed the scope of freedom in America and redefined it in some ways; for the first time, African American people were seen as equal under the law, and many were able to relocate and own land. However, it does not seem that the government became more focused on its "of the people, by the people, for the people" roots.

For example, after slavery was abolished, many former slave states quickly passed laws, known as Jim Crow laws, severely limiting the civil liberties of African American people. Although three vital amendments were added to the Constitution, one abolishing slavery, one guaranteeing equal protection, and another giving African American people the right to vote, many of those Jim Crow laws stayed in place until the 1960s.

Essentially, while the Civil War did spur immense Constitutional change and redefine how America perceived freedom, many Americans still struggled with lack of freedom after the war, and those struggles persisted for over a century.

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