Chapter 15- The Crucible of War 1861-1865

What was Abraham Lincoln’s first goal when he took office as president? Stopping secession from spreading to the states in the Upper South. Lincoln’s inaugural address, delivered on March 4, 1861, revealed his strategy for managing the crisis the nation faced. His first concern was to avoid any act that would push the eight slave states that were still in the Union into seceding and adding to the strength of the Confederate States.
What was Jefferson Davis’s objective as president of the newly formed Confederate States of America? To establish the Confederacy as a permanent republic. Davis’s goal was to achieve permanence for the Confederacy. To do so, he knew he had to sustain the secession fever in the Lower South states. He also sought to strengthen the Confederacy by adding more states.
Why did President Lincoln decide not to abandon Fort Sumter? He had promised to defend federal property in his inaugural address. Lincoln knew that by resupplying the federal troops at Fort Sumter, he risked alienating the states of the Upper South. The president understood that he risked war, but his plan honored his inaugural promises to defend federal property and to avoid using military force unless first attacked.
How did most white northerners characterize southern secession? As an attack on a valid, democratically elected government. Northerners felt that by seceding, Southerners were making an unconscionable attack on the authority of a valid government. They felt that the South’s refusal to accept the outcome of a legitimate, democratic election and its attack on government property were challenges to the rule of law, the authority of the Constitution, and the whole idea of Republican self-rule.
Which region had the advantage in resources when the Civil War began? The North had many more resources than the South. The North had enormous advantages by most measures. The North had more than twice the population of the South and many more miles of railroads. It produced 90 percent of the nation’s industrial goods, including 13 times as much textiles as the South, 16 times as much iron, and 32 times as many firearms.
Why did Southerners expect that Britain and perhaps France would ally with the Confederacy? A war could interrupt Europe’s supply of cotton. Britain was especially dependent on southern cotton. More than 700 million pounds of the 900 million pounds of cotton that Britain imported annually came from the South. Southerners believed that if that supply were interrupted, Britain would become a Confederate ally out of economic necessity.
Why was the battle of Bull Run significant? It taught Lincoln that victory would be neither quick nor easy. Bull Run seemed to Southerners to confirm the superiority of their army and the inevitability of their eventual triumph. For Northerners, it indicated that the war was going to be longer and more difficult than they had expected; within four days of the loss, Lincoln signed bills authorizing the enlistment of one million men for three years.
Why did Robert E. Lee push the fighting across the Potomac into Maryland in September 1862? He believed a victory on northern soil might end the war. Lee believed that a victory on northern soil would convince Maryland to leave the Union and perhaps force Lincoln to sue for peace. But a Union soldier had found a copy of Lee’s orders to his army, giving McClellan a major advantage in the fighting. However, McClellan was too cautious to fully exploit that knowledge to destroy Lee’s army.
By the end of 1862, the military struggle in the East had reached a stalemate between the Union and Confederacy. Despite its victory at Antietam, by the end of 1862 the Union had not succeeded in achieving any of its goals in the eastern theater: It had failed to take Richmond, defeat Lee, or decisively end the rebellion.
What argument did abolitionists use to press Lincoln for immediate emancipation? Seceding Southerners had forfeited their right to constitutional protection. Abolitionists insisted that when the southern states seceded, they gave up their right to the protection of the Constitution. As traitors, their property—including their human possessions—could legally be confiscated. Yet Lincoln was concerned that any hint that he was considering emancipation would cause slaveholders in the loyal border states to defect to the South.
In March 1862, Congress established a national policy on fugitive slaves that forbade the return of runaways to their masters. At first, Union commanders sent fugitive slaves back to their owners, but some officers accepted the runaways and put them to work. General Benjamin F. Butler devised a new status for these fugitives, calling them “contraband of war,” or confiscated property. Congress made the policy official in March 1862 by forbidding the practice of returning fugitive slaves to their masters. Slaves still were not legally free, but there was a slight tilt in favor of emancipation.
What was Lincoln’s initial plan to make emancipation more acceptable to white Northerners? To offer to deport African Americans out of the country. Most white Northerners were afraid of freed slaves moving north into white neighborhoods and competing for white jobs. To calm these racial fears, Lincoln tried to promote colonization programs that would send freed blacks out of the country to Haiti, Panama, or other destinations. Blacks, however, resisted colonization, and the program was never funded properly.
What was the easiest task Jefferson Davis and the Confederate government faced? Building the armed forces of the Confederacy. The Confederate army and navy had to be built from scratch. However, hundreds of officers had resigned from the federal army out of loyalty to the South. Also, there were hundreds of thousands of volunteers to fill the rebel ranks. Thus, the Confederacy soon had assembled considerable military manpower.
The Union blockade of the Confederate states made it necessary for the Confederate government to build its own industrial sector. As the Union naval blockade grew more effective, it became increasingly necessary for the Confederate government to develop an independent source for manufactured goods. Thus, the government funded clothing and shoe factories, mines, arsenals, and powder works in addition to harnessing private companies to the war effort.
How did Confederate states respond to Richmond’s policy of impressment? They objected to the usurpation of states’ rights. The need to supply the Confederacy with goods and personnel to engage in war forced the government in Richmond to intrude on the lives of Confederate citizens. The Confederacy adopted a policy of impressment, which allowed the government to confiscate slaves, food, horses, and other goods. Individuals objected to Jefferson Davis’s “despotism” while leaders of Confederate state governments decried Richmond’s usurpation of states’ rights.
During the Civil War, Republicans were able to enact their platform of federal programs to encourage economic growth. When 11 slave states seceded, the Democrats’ strength in Congress was halved. As a result, there was very little opposition to Republican programs, and Congress was easily able to pass the Legal Tender Act, the National Banking Act, the Internal Revenue Act, the Homestead Act, the Pacific Railroad Act, a higher tariff, and a series of sweeping tax laws.
When northern farmers took up arms in the Civil War, who took over their domestic tasks? Women, With more than a million farm men serving in the military, farm women added men’s chores to those they were already doing. Rising agricultural production indicated that they were successful at plowing, planting, and harvesting.
How did General Ulysses S. Grant take the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi? By laying a lengthy siege. In 1863, the city of Vicksburg was the only thing keeping the Union from controlling the entire Mississippi River. Vicksburg was extremely well defended, however; impenetrable terrain made it impossible to take the city from the north, and it was fortified with cannons aimed down at the river. Grant tried to attack the city directly but ended up settling in for a long siege, eventually starving the city’s inhabitants into surrendering.
After General Grant became the general in chief of the Union armies in March 1864, he made the important decision to take on Lee directly in Virginia. As the commander of all the Union armies, Grant was able to implement his strategy for a war of attrition. He ordered a series of simultaneous assaults throughout the South; his most significant decisions, however, involved sending the western armies southeast toward Atlanta under the command of General William T. Sherman, and taking personal control of the Army of the Potomac to go head-to-head with Lee in Virginia.
Why did General Grant not believe that he was defeated even after suffering heavy losses in his 1864 Virginia campaign? Grant lost twice as many soldiers as the Confederates in four weeks of heavy fighting in Virginia. However, Lee had only half the number of troops that Grant had and so had lost proportionally as many men. Grant was well aware that the South could not replace its lost soldiers.

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