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Early American Wars

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Early American Wars

History 120

University of Phoenix

September 3, 2005

Early American Wars

The Civil War began in 1861, and continued on until 1865. "The war claimed more American lives than any other conflict in history, with approximately 560,000 total killed (1.78% of population) and over 970, 000 casualties (3.09% of population)" (Wikipedia, 2005). To this day the cause of the Civil war and even the name of the war are still debated. Before the Civil War the United States was composed of four regions; the Northeast, the Northwest (known as the Midwest now), the Upper South, and the Southwest.

Each regions economic, social, and political development was growing during this time. Some more rapidly than others but the country was still growing. "With two fundamentally different labor systems at their base, the economic and social changes across the nation's geographical regions- based on wage labor in the North and slavery in the South- underlay distinct visions of society that had emerged by the mid- nineteenth century in the North and in the South" (Wikipedia, 2005). The Civil War greatly helped the economic, political and social parts of the United States grow and develop better than they were.

The Civil War not only became the greatest war in history, but also developed into an economic, social, and government policies. The North and South had their moments dealing with economic distress, but the South was affected more. Throughout the war southern wealth was beginning to decline into the 43% due to war cost; while the North's industrialization expanded. So, as can be imagined the South was concerned greatly with their cotton plantations especially if they lost their working slaves. One article explains the Civil War economic consequence mentioning (2002); One major economic result of the war was that it helped change the United States from a country with an essentially agrarian society to one dependent on mechanization and a national market system.

Along with any war comes power and that power resides through political influence. In the Nation of Nations book it mentions (2002), Politically, the war dramatically changed the balance of power. The South lost its substantial influence, as did the Democratic Party, while the Republicans emerged in a dominant position. The Union's military victory also signaled the triumph of nationalism. The war destroyed the idea that the Union was a voluntary confederacy of sovereign states, which theorists like John C. Calhoun had argued, and that the states had the right to secede.

After the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, it was portrayed that the Republicans took over many projects creating political confrontation and wanting to reprimand the South for instigating the Civil War. President Lincoln's objective during the war was basically to reunite all the states back into one America again. Many political issues were on the rise, but there was one in particular that consisted with black politicians. Many confederate states did not like the idea of free slaves especially when the African Americans achieved the right to vote and serve in Congress.

As can be imagined the social impact before, during, and especially after the Civil War have been quite a roller-coaster ride. The war is mentioned to have corroded the order of society. During the war and even today many families had to cope with or even console other family members regarding their husbands, sons, and daily lives in order to distract themselves from war anxiety. The war was a difficult task for the fighting soldier particularly from the social standpoint the individual carried out before entering the war. Many of the soldiers had been either farmers or factory workers. There were other social life impacts resulting from the war, which included women, children, and religion. Women had to take the role of their husbands as farmers, which undoubtedly made caring for children and preparing hot meals no longer their only responsibility. There were women who joined the war as nurses, which aided the wounded and assisted doctors. Far from the war and farm, women filled 100,000 new job positions within several industries. Religion had somewhat abated throughout the war giving no social or faith support to the citizens until the reform movements gained its zeal once again through evangelical religious impact.

World War I started with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. He was killed by Garvilo Princip who a member of a Serbian terrorist group. This caused a war between many countries; those countries were Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, and eventually America. It lasted from 1914 to 1918.

There were many factors that contributed to the U.S. position of neutrality on World War I. President Woodrow Wilson believed that remaining neutral would preserve the national peace. Since America had no role in the creation of the war it was not its place to remedy it. President Wilson felt that if America chose a side it could cause a rift with the peace Americans enjoyed (At least from War). During the years before World War I America was experiencing an economic boom. With increased production with agriculture and railroading Americans were able to move around the country more and had more excess to grain and meat. America was also unprepared to wage war. It did not have a state of the art Navy and its Army was not one of the largest at the time, Russia, China, Germany, Great Britain, and Spain all had larger Armies.

As the war dragged on many soldiers died. It became very difficult for France and Great Britain to replenish its ranks. There was an outcry for support from France and England, Russia, and Italy (The Allies). They wanted America to join the war effort in an effort to tip the scales in their favor. America was to send over 250,000 solider to the front. Great Britain would be responsible for their transportation. In a letter to the US War Department the Prime Ministers of Great Britain, France, and Italy expressed there thanks to President Wilson for aid. Without that aid the war could have turned very differently. Germany was using tactics and equipment that were never before used in battle. Germany employed chemical weapons take could halt a person breathing. Machine guns that could fire up to ten times faster then modern rifles

On February 3, 1917, President Wilson addressed Congress to announce that diplomatic relations with

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