The American Civil War
by findingDulcinea Staff
The surrender of the Confederates to the Union Army in 1865 was a drawn-out but monumental process that effectively ended slavery forever. But the enormous death toll from the war and the accession of the South was a mixed blessing for the United States: two percent of the population was lost in the war, and African Americans had to wait exactly a century before the end of the Civil War would fully mean freedom.
The Civil War is a grand and tragic milestone in U.S. history. We continue to study that time, to write books about it, and to marvel at the struggle of its witnesses, whom some of us can even claim as forebears. Our fascination lies in the seemingly unanswerable question: Why did America go to war with itself? In the PBS documentary “Civil War,” Ken Burns proclaimed that, “Americans made war on each other and killed each other in great numbers—if only to become the kind of country that could no longer conceive of how that was possible.”
Return tomorrow for a glimpse at the divisive stances of North and South, and just how longstanding differences catapulted the young United States into war.