The American Civil War Portal
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, formed of eleven southern states' governments which moved to secede from the Union after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. The Union's victory was eventually achieved by leveraging advantages in population, manufacturing and logistics and through a strategic naval blockade denying the Confederacy access to the world's markets.
In many ways, the conflict's central issues – the enslavement of African Americans, the role of constitutional federal government, and the rights of states – are still not completely resolved. Not surprisingly, the Confederate army's surrender at Appomattox on April 9,1865 did little to change many Americans' attitudes toward the potential powers of central government. The passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution in the years immediately following the war did not change the racial prejudice prevalent among Americans of the day; and the process of Reconstruction did not heal the deeply personal wounds inflicted by four brutal years of war and more than 970,000 casualties – 3 percent of the population, including approximately 560,000 deaths. As a result, controversies affected by the war's unresolved social, political, economic and racial tensions continue to shape contemporary American thought. The causes of the war, the reasons for the outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of much discussion even today.
The Red Badge of Courage
is a war novel
by American author Stephen Crane
(1871–1900). Taking place during the American Civil War
, the story is about a young private
of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound—a "red badge of courage"—to counteract his cowardice. When his regiment once again faces the enemy, Henry acts as standard-bearer
Although Crane was born after the war, and had not at the time experienced battle firsthand, the novel is known for its realism. He began writing what would become his second novel in 1893, using various contemporary and written accounts (such as those published previously by Century Magazine) as inspiration. It is believed that he based the fictional battle on that of Chancellorsville; he may also have interviewed veterans of the 124th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the Orange Blossoms. Initially shortened and serialized in newspapers in December 1894, the novel was published in full in October 1895. A longer version of the work, based on Crane's original manuscript, was published in 1982.
The novel is known for its distinctive style, which includes realistic battle sequences as well as the repeated use of color imagery, and ironic tone. Separating itself from a traditional war narrative, Crane's story reflects the inner experience of its protagonist—a soldier fleeing from combat—rather than the external world around him. Also notable for its use of what Crane called a "psychological portrayal of fear", the novel's allegorical and symbolic qualities are often debated by critics. Several of the themes that the story explores are maturation, heroism, cowardice, and the indifference of nature. The Red Badge of Courage garnered widespread acclaim—what H. G. Wells called "an orgy of praise"—shortly after its publication, making Crane an instant celebrity at the age of twenty-four. The novel and its author did have its initial detractors, however, including author and veteran Ambrose Bierce. Adapted several times for the screen, the novel became a bestseller. It has never been out of print, and is now thought to be Crane's most important work and a major American text.
Grand Parade of the States
At the time of the American Civil War, Canada
did not yet exist as an independent country. Instead, the territory consisted of the seven remaining colonies of British North America
and crown territory administered by the Hudson's Bay Company
. The United Kingdom
(and therefore its North American colonies) was officially neutral for the duration of the American Civil War
and sympathies in the nation were divided. Despite this, tensions between Britain and the North were high due to incidents on the seas, such as the Trent Affair
and the Confederate commissioning of the CSS Alabama
from Britain. If the conflict had continued to escalate, Canada would probably have been the first target of Union forces. During the war, Britain thus reinforced its garrisons in Canada.
At the same time, however, Canadians were almost universally opposed to slavery, and Canada had long been the terminus of the Underground Railroad. Close economic and cultural links across the long border also encouraged Canadian sympathy towards the Union. Some Canadians even served in the U.S. Army, including the writer of the future Canadian national anthem.
Caleb Blood Smith
(April 16, 1808 – January 7, 1864) was an American
journalist and politician, serving in the Cabinet
of Abraham Lincoln
during the American Civil War
. Born in Boston, Massachusetts
, he emigrated with his parents to Ohio
in 1814, was educated at Cincinnati College
and Miami University
, studied law in Cincinnati
and in Connersville, Indiana
, and was admitted to the bar in 1828. He began practice at the latter place, established and edited the Sentinel
in 1832, served several terms in the Indiana legislature
, and was in the United States Congress
in 1843–1849, having been elected as a Whig
. During his congressional career, he was one of the Mexican
claims commissioners. He returned to the practice of law in 1850, residing in Cincinnati and subsequently in Indianapolis
. He was influential in securing the nomination of Abraham Lincoln
for the presidency at the Chicago Republican National Convention
Lincoln appointed Smith as the United States Secretary of the Interior in 1861 as a reward for his work in the presidential campaign. He was the first citizen of Indiana to hold a Presidential Cabinet position. However, Smith had little interest in the job and, with declining health, delegated most of his responsibilities to Assistant Secretary of the Interior John Palmer Usher. In 1862, he was interested in the empty seat in the United States Supreme Court vacated by John Archibald Campbell's resignation the previous year. However, Lincoln nominated David Davis for the position instead. After Smith resigned in December 1862 as the result of his discord with the Emancipation Proclamation, Usher became Secretary. Smith went home to become the United States circuit judge for Indiana. He died January 7, 1864, from his ill health. President Lincoln ordered that government buildings be draped in black for two weeks in a sign of mourning for Smith's death.