Modern Visions of the American Civil War

The history of any country is a chain of events that aftersound in people’s hearts for quite a long time. The Civil War hit the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century. Although it finished more than one hundred and fifty years ago, it remains quite an interesting object of the research for many historians. The world of the Civil War is particularly frightening as it is hard to understand how can people living in the same territory have a battle with each other. Having access to many important documents, modern researchers can take a close look at the events of those days, and express their views on the role and consequences of this war. As it is one of the most murderous wars in the history of the United States, the Civil War and its impact on modern society often becomes a reason for discussions among historians.

Even though the American Civil War is often regarded as a constant terror, it is also believed to have certain positive consequences. One of the reasons for the war between the Southerners and the Northerners was growing discontent about slavery that was a strict violation of human rights in itself (Oakes et al. 429). In modern society, civil wars are generally believed to disconnect people, but such a conclusion should be made after a thorough study of the results of certain wars. In the case of the American Civil War, in the final reckoning it is regarded as a power that helped to unite parts of the United States. Anyway, the methods of such a joining were not appropriate from the point of view of morality, but history of any country cannot be changed, and its aim is to help us to avoid such events in the future.

In his essay devoted to the American Civil War, James McPherson tries to analyze its reasons and consequences. As he believes, the human cost of the war shows that it was “by far the most devastating in American history” (McPherson par. 2). To him, the romanticization of the Civil War that takes place today, seems to be absolutely inappropriate as the main task of history is to depict significant events as realistically as possible. Besides, he highlights that people’s interest in tragedies is the reason why the Civil War remains a popular topic of books and films that tend to show it in the way that the audience would like it to look. At the same time, he is positive about the fact that many young people would like to know more about this period of their ancestors’ life. From his point of view, such a consciousness of these events is more typical for modern Americans living in the South.

McPherson believes that the continuous “fascination with the Civil War” demonstrated by both historians and common people is likely to be rooted in its participants’ self-sacrificing attitude (par. 6). To me, the author’s statements sound quite convincing, and I agree with him on many points. He believes the war to have produced a very negative impact on the United States as “brother against brother” is the worst option ever (par. 3). To him, the destructiveness of the war cannot be overstated as it claimed the lives of almost a million people. To continue, the impact of the war on modern society is quite significant as it was a critical factor in abolition of slavery. To some extent, it has changed the course of history. As for the immediate consequences of the Civil War, the economy of the Confederate states was destroyed, and the country was experiencing a period of decline as it usually happens after such great human losses.

As for the general consequences of the Civil War, it is regarded as a factor that contributed to the establishment of the human rights for former slaves. To some extent, the Civil War was a step for America to meet the industrialization and gain more influence in the field of economy. To become one of the most powerful countries in the world, the United States needed to have a strong government that would protect numerous industries. The war resulted in the victory of the Union; due to that, its economical decline was not as severe as the one that the Confederate States experienced right after the war. In general, McPherson regards the Civil War as a total war as it urged both parties of conflict to mobilize all the resources that they had. What is more, the economy and the frame of a society of the Confederate States were ruined whereas the winner gained more influence.

To conclude, American Civil war is still of interest for scholars in the field of history and common citizens of the United States. It is considered to have produced a great impact on the life of people of the nineteenth century but some historians believe this impact to be even more significant.

Works Cited

McPherson, James. A War That Never Goes Away. Citrus College, Web.

Oakes, James, et al. Of the People: A History of the United States, Volume 1: To 1877. Oxford University Press, 2015.