The Many Facets of the Civil War
Historians agree that the United States Civil War has been the most significant conflict the nation has ever faced. The outcome of the war helped transform the USA into a world superpower, paved the way for its leadership in civil rights, and strengthened the federal government. It is also a war that can be examined from a variety of perspectives and facets, each of them providing fascinating insight into the War Between the States.
Slavery and its abolition was a powerful motivating factor behind the American Civil War. Before the war, slavery was an accepted way of life in the South, but the contributions of significant individuals and movements led to its eventual prohibition.
• Harriet Ross Tubman — a time-line of the remarkable woman’s life
• Harriet Tubman Biography — a brief biography of Harriet Tubman
• The Underground Railroad in Rochester, New York — general site on the Underground Railroad that includes specific information on how it worked in Rochester, New York
• The Underground Railroad Site — good overview of the Underground Railroad produced for a class at the University of California
• WebQuest: The Underground Railroad — all about one of the most significant anti-slavery crusades
• Slavery Links — links to all kinds of information about slavery in the southern United States
• Slavery in the United States — a look at the economic factors that contributed to the introduction and spread of slavery in the United States
• Statutes of the United States Concerning Slavery — the text of various 18 th and 19 th century U.S. statues on the institution of slavery
No one on either side of the Civil War actually wanted to enter an armed conflagration. Prior to the onset of hostilities, legislators from the North and the South worked tirelessly to form compromises to keep the union together. Many of these had to do with the extension of slavery into new states.
• Compromise of 1850 — details on the complex deal that admitted California as a free state, abolished the slave trade in Washington D.C., and more
• The Kansas-Nebraska Act — how this act led to the rise of the Republican Party, Lincoln, and the abolition of slavery
• The Missouri Compromise — information on the Missouri Compromise of 1820
The Civil War was caused by regional pride as much as anything else, and there were distinct differences in culture between the northern states and the southern states. Understanding the distinctive cultures of these regions helps explain why the Civil War started in the first place.
• Dixie Song — activities and lesson plans on the “Dixie” song that illustrate Northern and Southern sectionalism prior to the Civil War
• University of Arizona: Sectionalism — a brief overview of the differences between North and South from the University of Arizona
CIVIL WAR TRIVIA
There is much interesting and entertaining trivia related to the Civil War and its events and figures. Those who are passionately interested in the study of the Civil War have developed many fine resources on trivia from the American Civil War.
• 2005 Civil War Trivia — some interesting facts from the 15 th New York Calvary
• Civil War Trivia Quiz — self-grading trivia quiz from the North Carolina Museum of History
• Smithsonian Associates Trivia — several trivia questions and answers related to the Civil War
BLUE VS. GRAY
Each battle between the North and South featured soldiers wearing blue (North) and gray (South). These soldiers represented distinctive governments led by towering figures, and it is amazing how much the sides had in common even as they warred over their differences. These fascinating figures, soldiers, and more make the study of the Civil War quite rewarding.
• The Making of America — comprehensive collection of primary documents from both the union and confederate governments
• Statutes and Constitution of the Confederacy — University of North Carolina site with original documents from the Confederate States of America
• The Abraham Lincoln Association — a great site with many resources on the 16 th president of the United States
• Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum — official museum devoted to Abraham Lincoln
• Jefferson Davis — a short biography of Jefferson Davis
• The Papers of Jefferson Davis — an online collection of the writings of the only president of the Confederate States of America
• Civil War Soldiers — lesson plans with links to many primary sources on the life of soldiers during the Civil War
• Civil War Veterans — informative site dedicated to the soldiers on both sides of the conflict
• Little Known Facts about Ulysses S. Grant — some trivia about the leader of the Union army
• The Robert E. Lee Papers — online repository of papers from the leader of the Confederate army
• VMI: Stonewall Jackson — lots of information on this celebrated Confederate general
• Battles by State — chief battles of the Civil War organized by state
• Major Battles of the Civil War — a listing of major battles of the Civil War and their outcomes
• The Civil War Artillery — comprehensive information on artillery and the role it played in the U.S. Civil War
• The Rifle-Musket — all about the chief firearm of the U.S. Civil War
• American War Statistics — statistics from all U.S. military engagements including the Civil War in pdf format
• Statistics on the Civil War and Medicine — Civil War-specific medical statistics
CLIMATE OF THE COUNTRY
Those acquainted with the social and political climate can explain why the Union was divided and warred against itself. Grasping this climate is one of the key pursuits of Civil War historians.
• Before Brother Fought Brother — Middle School lesson plan on the political and social climate leading up to and during the Civil War that features links to online resources
The American Civil War did not last forever and eventually ended. The events that led to this peace and the reconstruction of the Southern states and their reintegration into the Union had lasting effects that are still felt in the United States today.
• America's Reconstruction — site with an overview of the U.S. reconstruction after the Civil War
• Appomattox — brief account from the Smithsonian on the surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomattox
• Proclamation of Peace, Order, and Tranquility in the United States — President Andrew Johnson’s 1866 proclamation on the end of the Civil War
CIVIL WAR SITES
Those who are interested in more information on the Civil War can find tons of information about the conflict on the Internet. Here are some of the best sites about the Civil War, its history, and its landmarks.
• The American Civil War Homepage — great site maintained by a professor at the University of Tennessee
• American Civil War Rare Map Collection — contains many maps drawn during the Civil War period
• Civil War Traveler — featuring resources to plan a trip through important Civil War battle sites and other historical landmarks
• National Civil War Museum — Pennsylvania Museum dedicated to exploring both sides of the Civil War
• National Park Service: American Civil War — U.S. National Park Service website dedicated to the American Civil War