What Was The Purpose Of The Civil War?

What Was The Purpose Of The Civil War

Civil wars are internal wars that fought between the citizens of the same country. America had its share of civil wars that started in the year 1861. The Civil War dragged on for four years and came to an end in 1865.

The question is, what was the purpose of the Civil War?

Historians describe the Civil War as the most significant and most destructive conflicts in America. Bearing this in mind, the question that comes to mind is what the purpose of the Civil War was. It was primarily to restore unity to the country and prevent new slave territories for the Northern states, on the one hand. It was a fight for their rights and asserting their power in the face of domination for the Southern states.

The Primary Issue That Led To The Breakout Of The Civil War

The fundamental problem that led to the Civil War was the friction arising from the economics of slavery that existed between Southern and Northern states of America. It accounts for why the Civil War is also known as the War Between the States.

Before this time, there had been tensions between these states. It is as a result of the contention between the slave states and the free states. The government sought to prevent the presence of slavery in those territories that were yet to become states. It led to the contention between the free and slave states. They were divided on the issue of the power of the government to take such actions.

However, the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 heightened the tension. It is because Abraham Lincoln was elected under the ideology to restrict slaves from some territories. With this, the Southern states felt that they had lost their influence, and seven of them seceded to form a new country called the Confederate States of America in the act of rebellion against the national government of the United States. Four other southern states also seceded and joined the Confederate States of America, increasing their number to eleven states.

The Northern States were called the Union. They were the states that demonstrated their loyalty to the national government of the United States. However, the United States government refused to recognize the Confederate States.

The Confederate States were determined to preserve their long known tradition of slavery while the Union States were determined to maintain the unity of America. Their unresolved differences led to the outbreak of the Civil War.

The Commencement Of The Civil War

The Civil War took off officially on 12th April 1861 when the Confederate forces launched an attack against Fort Sumter, which is controlled by the Union. It was after the capture of Fort Sumter that the other four states joined the Confederate States.

The fall of Fort Sumter

The fall of Fort Sumter is significant in narrating the history of the Civil War. The conflict that ensued at the Fort Sumter was intense. The Confederate States forced the Union forces to surrender, especially when they ran out of ammunition to effectively resist the attack.

It is worthy to point out that there was no loss of life in the course of this attack and the series of firearm that the Confederate States fired. However, in the course of evacuating, two lives were lost. The loss was a result of an explosion arising from firing the salute.

The Confederate states took over Fort Sumter and used it as the Union had already blocked access to the Atlantic seaboard.

What Was The Number Of Casualties From The War?

The American Civil War has been the deadliest and most significant War in the history of America. Several sources have summed up all the casualties of the Civil War to be about 1.5 million casualties. This number of fatalities includes the dead, the wounded, and the missing persons as a result of the War.

The record has it that about 620,000 men died in the process. So many files were missing. It makes it difficult for the reports on the casualties of the War to be accurate. Thus, the records state that about 620,000 persons lost their lives during the War. Some persons believed that the losses were higher and could have been up to 700,000 persons.

Compared to the Union, the record of the Confederate States was more inaccurate because of the issue of missing documents. As a result of the lack of adequate medical services, the death rate among the Confederate States was higher.

Some died in the War, some were wounded, and some got missing during the period of the War. The ones that died did not only die from the injury inflicted on them using the weapons of war, but some died from diseases and infections from wounds due to lack of adequate medical care on the fields.

What Was The Outcome Of The War?

In the course of the war, it seemed that the Union had a more significant advantage over the Confederate States, which primarily is the reason for the defeat of the Confederate states.

The series of activities that gave rise to the end of the Civil War started on 9th April 1865, at the Battle of Appomattox Court House. During this battle, the Confederate General, General Robert E. Lee, and his troop surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. It didn’t take long for other generals on the side of the Confederate States also to yield. It brought an end to the intense War that has dragged on for four years in America.

The Impact Of The Civil War

The Civil War had the effect of preserving the country as one nation. It also abolished slavery in America and secured the freedom of millions of slaves. One impact of the War is that it led to the destruction of several infrastructures, lost lives, and properties. It equally crippled all forms of economic and political structures that were in existence.

The Key Players Of The Civil War

Several personalities featured prominently in the activities that led to the War and during the duration war itself. History cannot ignore these persons when talking about the American Civil War.

They are prominent personalities like Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S, Grant, and Jefferson Davis. Others include Robert Gould Shaw, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Tecumseh Sherman, Winfield Scott, Ambrose Burnside, Joshua Chamberlain, Phillip Sheridan, Frederick Douglass, Andrew Jackson, John Brown, George Meade, George McClellan, and Winfield Scott Hancock, etc. They all contributed immensely to how the War played out.

Abraham Lincoln was the president of America when the war broke out. It was his election that triggered the secession of the eleven southern states. When this happened, he issued a declaration refusing to recognize the secession and communicated his readiness to go to war to preserve the unity of America.

Robert E. Lee and his counterpart, Ulysses S. Grant, were both Generals of the Army. They served in the Confederate and Union Armies, respectively. The final moments of the war had General Robert E. Lee surrendering to General Ulysses S. Grant.

The Confederate States made Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America while it lasted. He was the first president and happened to be the only president. Many historians point to his poor leadership style as one of the reasons the Confederate states were defeated.

All these prominent personalities played significant roles during the Civil War that one cannot forget in a hurry.

Other Factors That Led To The Breakout Of The War

Apart from the friction arising from the economics of slavery between the Union and the Confederate States, there were other factors that we can trace to the root of the American Civil War.

These factors have long been in existence. It is just that the election of Abraham Lincoln triggered an immediate secessionist reaction from the Confederate states that culminated in the armed conflict known as the American Civil War. It was easier to tackle other factors through diplomatic talks and negotiations. It was only the issue of slavery they could not resolve in such a manner. Some of these other factors are cultural, economic, and political differences.


War is not a pleasant situation. Instead, it is one of the most saddening and depressing occurrences in the history of humanity. Losses of lives, injured soldiers, damaged properties, etc. are critical characteristics of wars. Bearing this in mind, one would like to ask, what was the purpose of the Civil War?

The purpose of the American Civil War is in two dimensions, and each dimension depends on the angle from which you are looking at it. There is the angle of the Union or the Northern States. Also, there is the angle of the Confederate States known as the Southern States.

The Union sought to unite America and prevent the expansion of slave territories. The Confederate States, on the other hand, sought to establish their influence and expand their slave territories. However, the ultimate purpose achieved by the American Civil War is to unite America and abolish slavery in the country.

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