What did the Civil War accomplish?

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Civil War settled the question of whether unhappy states could leave the union with a resounding no. The North's win bound the country together as one indissoluble union, and this helped pave the way for it to acquire superpower status in the twentieth century.

The war also ended slavery in this country. The 13th Amendment was not ratified until December 6, 1865, a few months after the end of the war, but it was passed during the war, and it became clear in 1863 that the North's victory would free the slaves. 

As a result of the demand for guns, uniforms, cannons, and other war supplies on a massive scale, the North accelerated its industrialization. After the war, these factories turned to peacetime production, helping to make the U.S. a very wealthy nation.

On the downside, the war helped accomplish both socially sanctioned and institutionalized racism. Some southerners resisted Reconstruction, and this gave rise to organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings, and rigid legal segregation. Black people did not fully win legal equal rights until the 1960s. 

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Civil War accomplished a few things. There was a great deal of discussion about slavery in our country prior to the Civil War. Some people wanted to keep slavery in existence. Other people want to prevent slavery from spreading but to allow it to remain where it already existed. Other people wanted to ban slavery completely. This Civil War resolved the slavery question. Slavery was abolished after the Civil War ended.

Another question resolved by the Civil War was the issue of states’ rights. The South believed the states should have the power to nullify federal laws if those laws hurt a state. The North believed that federal laws should take priority over state laws. The Civil War made it clear that federal laws take priority over state laws.

The Civil War also helped Americans to realize there was a better way to resolve their differences. With over 600,000 dead and over one million casualties, Americans realized that fighting each other was not a good way to resolve the differences that existed in our country.

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