How Did The Civil War Preserve The Union

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What led to the American Civil War is a topic of debate which lacks a simple answer. There is heated debate whether the war was fought for emancipation or to preserve the Union. Historians can advocate for either argument since both sides have ample evidence to support their respective standpoint. Both Hollywood and scholarship agree that the Civil War is a war to preserve the Union. While the issue of slavery was a massive factor in the war, it was not the defining factor. The Union army never declared war to coerce the South into abolishing slavery, but to keep the country united. The Union Army fought to maintain the Union, and the emancipation proclamation serves as a means to end the war. Like many scholars, Glory, Gods and Generals, Gettysburg, …show more content…
First, a popular sentiment in the North, including Lincoln’s, was viewing the Confederacy as a rebellion instead of a separate nation. In having that mindset, the war was never to force your laws upon the rebellion forces, but instead it was to reunite the divided nation. Second, Northern troops enlisted in the armed forces to join the fight against the rebellion, and a great number of Northerner troops were upset with the war becoming a war of emancipation. In Gods and Generals, there was a scene where Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Chamberlain talks about how freeing the slaves was not a war aim. Gods and Generals included a scene where Chamberlain’s soldiers were clearly displeased with the Emancipation Proclamation and the idea of fighting to free the slaves. Chamberlain’s soldiers had reason to be displeased as they were fighting for something they did not believe in. Union men enrolled in the military with the intent of reuniting the Union, the passing of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation made them believe the war was being prolonged. In a letter to his wife, Union Solider George W. Tillotson wrote, “I have lost confidence in most of the head officers, for I don’t believe they want the war to end, by fighting. I am not alone in this opinion, for it is one generally, and openly expressed throughout the ranks, except by some of the new troops, who have no …show more content…
In the film, it was an uphill struggle to propose the amendment the amendment and convince Congress to pass, Lincoln’s own advisors advised against it. Lincoln in the film was firm in his belief that ending slavery would end the war thus reuniting the Union. In a meeting with his cabinet, he tells them about the importance of passing the amendment in the war efforts “I can 't listen to this anymore. I can 't accomplish a goddamn thing of any worth until we cure ourselves of slavery and end this pestilential war! I wonder if any of you or anyone else knows it. I know! I need this! This amendment is that cure”. From Lincoln’s words in the film, the war will only end once slavery is no longer existent. Compare Lincoln’s belief about ending slavery in the film and his letter to Horace Greeley. In Lincoln, he viewed ending slavery as a way to end the war, while in the letter he mentions that if he could save the Union without freeing any slave he would do so, and whatever he does about slavery he’ll do it to save the Union. Both the films and historical text agree that Lincoln wanted to preserve the Union, and he would end slavery if it meant he could accomplish said

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