Fought 1861-1865, the American Civil War was the result of decades of sectional tensions between the North and South. Focused on slavery and states’ rights, these issuescame to a head following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Over the next several months eleven southern states seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. During the first two years ofthe war, Southern troops won numerous victories but saw their fortunes turn after losses at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in 1863. From then on, Northern forces worked to conqueror the South, forcing themto surrender in April 1865.
Causes & Secession:
The roots of the Civil War can be traced to increasing differences between North and South and their growing divergence as the 19th centuryprogressed. Chief among the issues were expansion of slavery into the territories, the South's declining political power, states’ rights, and the retention of slavery. Though these issues had existed fordecades, they exploded in 1860 following the election of Abraham Lincoln who was against the spread of slavery. As the result of his election, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texasseceded from the Union.
Conscription (Military Draft) In the Civil War
There was no general military draft in America until the Civil War. The Confederacy passed its first of 3 conscription acts16 April 1862, and scarcely a year later the Union began conscripting men. Government officials plagued with manpower shortages regarded drafting as the only means of sustaining an effective army andhoped it would spur voluntary enlistments.
But compulsory service embittered the public, who considered it an infringement on individual free will and personal liberty and feared it wouldconcentrate arbitrary power in the military. Believing with some justification that unwilling soldiers made poor fighting men, volunteer soldiers despised conscripts. Conscription also undercut morale, as...