The civil war was a complicated time for Americans, being divide by different ethics and beliefs. One one side, you had the Union who had different moral standards and views from their southern counterparts. On the other side, you had for the first time the confederacy and their southern views on what America should be or continue to be. We need to remember that prior to the events of the Civil War, America was still recovering from the last war its was in, specifically talking about The Revolutionary War. The United States at the time, was still focusing on improving its economy, agricultural, and expansion into becoming a large nation. Multiple visionary’s and idealist were coming out with ways on how the United States should be run.
Which leads to what many people today believe what the South or The Confederate army was fighting for, the idea of keeping slavery. Although slavery was a huge aspect of southern living, It was not the soul purpose. The South was fighting for what we call Southern Sovereignty in making sure the South keeps its traditions and laws unchanged unlike the North. With that out the way, lets start with Abraham Lincoln and how the civil war put him in a tight position. We know Abraham Lincoln as the “president who freed the slaves”, but that wasnt always the case with him in the beginning. You see, Lincoln at first didnt want to free the slaves, and It was not his main concern as president. Quite frankly, even with the notion of “freeing” the slaves, he wasn’t attending to keep them in the U.S. but send them “back” to their original place of origin or another country. However, because of people embracing the idea that slavery was a bad moral concept, and more people were accepting the idea that slavery in general was never a good idea, Lincoln had no choice but to listen to what people wanted. Lincoln knew, that by freeing the slaves, he would stay in good favor of the people in the union. So in 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves. Stating that all slaves would be free within the rebellious states, meaning only in the states of the Union. The problem with this, is that in the Confederate side, slaves were receiving information about these Free States, and thus started waves of slaves escaping their owner’s in order to be free. However, with this problem rising in the south, laws were put where if a slave were caught escaping, they would be killed, and even stated that if any Slave was caught in the Union, they were to be sent back to their owner back in the south.
As far as black soldiers in the army and how they shaped It, we need to remember that this wasnt the first time blacks soldiers were used in wars. Prior to the Civil War, soldiers of colored weren’t allowed to enlist in the army. That was until the colonies saw that the British armada, was allowing colored folks to enlist in his majesty army, with promise of freedom given at the end of the war, as well as pay. The Colonials knew, this was going to provoke multiple slaves to want and join the British army, and so they allowed slaves to join, but only for clerical and labored tasks. Taking care of equipment, becoming personal servants to officer ranks, etc.
There was promise of pay, but as for freedom, that was never fully given but was given to some extent. Now in the civil war, majority of black soldiers were recruited in the Union. This was not the first time black men were allowed into the army but It was the first time they were given an actual combat role. They were giving a uniform, and even a weapon, although not the best, but It was the first time the US military would incorporate a company of all black soldiers. The 54th Massachusetts Infantry, consisted of all black men, lead by a white officer named Robert Gould Shaw. Consisting of 1007 black soldiers and 37 officers. At the time, the South had declared, that every black soldier captured in war, would be put back into slavery, and any white officer caught leading black troops would be killed. During this time, black soldiers were paid 10 dollars a week, while white soldier were paid three dollars more, leaving another issue with blacks feeling inequality. Shaw and his men would forever be remembered in history, on the day they attacked Fort Wagner, and he lead his men into the fort only to be killed alongside his men. Although the battle was lost, the damage sustain by the Southern troops eventually forced them to leave the fort, and this act of heroism would be seen by the Union and motivate them to fighting harder. Colored folks were even used in espionage, gathering intel and reporting back to the Union army. Working behind enemy lines and being in service of high ranking southern leaders, they would send importation information back to the Union. With majority of black men wanting to join the Union for freedom, it was easy to see how the Union had the larger numbers as well, when it came to manpower, unlike their southern counterparts. Black soldiers played a huge part in the Civil War unlike the previous war. However, just because the Union won the war, problems for African Americans were only just beginning, as laws were passed that made It difficult for the colored person to succeed in life. As African americans finished the war with slavery and were now consider free, a new war started on the issues of equality and pursuit of happiness. Segregation will take place and countless of African americans will now fight a battle that would last up into the 60s and some say even still fighting to this day.