About 150 years ago from 1861 to 1865, the American Civil War occurred.
Now, anytime there’s a civil war, that’s because there are warring factions or different sides that claim allegiance to the same country.
In the case of the American Civil War, the warring factions included the Confederacy or the Southern States, versus the Union or the Northern States.
There is a disagreement among scholars that studied the Civil War period about the specific causes that led to the South seceding or leaving the Union and triggering the Civil War.
However, there is a consensus about five causes that led to the beginning of the Civil War.
Those causes include slavery, sectionalism, territorial crisis, national elections, and states’ rights.
Next Lesson: Civil War: A North vs. South Overview
The transcript is for your convenience
Now, the American Civil War, like all civil wars, was and still is today our most bloody conflict. The American Civil War resulted in at least 600,000 deaths, and that 600,000 deaths on both sides – North and South. And because most of the Civil War was fought in the South, it left many Southern states and communities devastated. Now, when we look at the Civil War from a military standpoint, we’re primarily looking at two personalities. In the South, we had Robert E. Lee. By far, Robert E. Lee was one of the South’s most powerful military commanders. Now, Robert E. Lee started off as the Commander of the Army of Virginia, which was by far the South’s largest unit, and from the South’s probably most prominent state, Virginia. Eventually, Lee would be promoted to Commander in Chief of Confederate Forces.
Then, for the North, you had General Ulysses S. Grant. At the beginning of the Civil War, Lincoln, who was the President at that time, had to go through many generals to find one that could come up with a strategy to defeat the South and bring the Union back together. Eventually, Lincoln would settle on Grant. He would be promoted to be commander of all Union forces, and eventually, he became the 18th President of the United States.
Now, looking at the Civil War, there were many battles. Some historians would say that there was an engagement during the Civil War nearly every day, from 1861 to 1865. But we saw here in 1860; Lincoln was elected. The South is beginning to realize that because of their economic position, which is translating to their political position, they are losing a lot of influence in the United States when it comes to national elections.
Now, 1861, Southern forces fire on Fort Sumter, where there are Union forces located. This signals the beginning of the Civil War in Fort Sumter, South Carolina. By 1863, we have this great battle in Pennsylvania, called the Battle of Gettysburg. There were many casualties, and this battle was a signal of the tide turning from the South to the North, an eventual victory by 1865 at the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, where Lee surrenders to Grant, and the Civil War ends.