Civil War of Northern Aggression Is the Term Paper

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Civil War of Northern Aggression

Is the Term Accurate?

The Civil war has been one of the most controversial topics in the history of United States. Where it has been given many names like War Between the States, the War of the Rebellion and the War for Southern Independence, one of its most controversial names is the War of Northern Aggression. There is an enormous amount of literature written on the subject matter in the form of books, articles, research papers etc. however, James McPherson has managed to present a rather accurate and unbiased account of civil war. According to McPherson, despite the violence showed by Northern States, it was the secession of the southern states and initiation in firing the first shot which started the war in the first place[footnoteRef:1]. Therefore, considering that Southern states were just operating in their defensive mode would present a rather inaccurate account of the history. [1: James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford University Press, 2003).]

The American Civil War is presented as the war of ideologies between two wings of states i.e. Northern and Southern states. Where the intention of Northern states was to abolish the slavery and conform to a common federal government, Southern states initiated the secession of the Confederate states which lead to the formation of Confederacy. The warfare continued for more than four years which resulted in enormous bloodshed and then ended up in the surrender of Confederacy. Following this surrender, the slavery was abolished everywhere in United States and the efforts of Abraham Lincoln to restore the Union became fruitful.

If the course of events from 1860 onwards is observed, it will be noticed that Northern and Southern states were fighting a war of confused philosophies which transformed several times during the war. Where Northern States believed in formation of a singular federal government resulted by the union of all the states; Southern states were fighting a war of self-defense which lacked principle grounds. But in-depth analysis would reveal that the intent of Southern states was rather unclear. Ignoring the loss that Southern states had to go through, one would identify that if the initiation of war by Southern states is called struggle for independence, one can raise a question that from whom they wanted the independence. Was it a war of cause or bloodshed over ego of few states?

The work of James McPherson presents a rather neutral account of the civil war. According to him, the Northern states were provoked by Southern states' aggression. In the presidential elections of 1860, Lincoln presented an idea of abolishing slavery and abandoning its further extension beyond the states in which it was already present. At this point, the Southern states did share their concerns making the Republicans aware of the threats of disunion. After the elections of 1860 which resulted in Republican victory, it was evident that the measures presented by Lincoln would be accepted nationwide. As a result of this probability, the Southern states formed their confederacy and declared their secession. However, this confederacy failed to gain the advocacy of and recognition from the former government of President James Buchanan and the incoming government of Lincoln. Furthermore, no foreign government showed their support for the Confederacy.

Considering the course of events, it is evident that prior to the bloodshed, many chances were given to the Southern states to opt for a peaceful course of actions and show their alliance to the Union. McPherson presents an argument that more than the role of ideology; it was the result of battles fought during these four years which decided the fate of the Civil War. Also, McPherson believes that Lincoln was an ideal leader for those times with a single and clear motive: to save the Union. Where many historians have presented Lincoln as the leader who abolished slavery, McPherson has managed to prove that the idea behind Lincoln's effort was to keep…

Sources Used in Document:

Work Cited

McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, Oxford University Press, 2003.

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