Tuesday, January 5, 2021

5.2 Midterm Review of Key Terms due 1/15/21


Midterm Key Terms Review:

Midterms are on Tuesday 1/19/21. 
Directions: Please find below key terms to define and to review for the final. Look up the key term in your text book, read, define and study for the final. Post the definition to 7 key terms. Do not copy the same terms that another student defines. To earn credit your answer must be in your own words and it must be a term not used by another student. 
  • the role of the  Enlightenment and the rise of democratic ideas (John Locke, Natural Rights) 
  •  moral, social and political impact of the Puritans 
  • Mercantilism
  • Constitutional Convention of 1787 (state authority verses federal authority, federalists, antifederalists,)
  • philosophy of government described in the Declaration of Independence
  • The goal of the Bill of Rights
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • James Madison
  • the goal of judicial review
  • Significance of key court case Marbury vs. Madison
  • Nullification Crisis
  • Purpose and Effects of the Open Door policy
  • Describe the purpose of the Spanish-American War and how it affected U.S. expansion into South Pacific
  • The effect of the Civil War on U.S. industry in the north compared to the south
  • Civil Rights attitudes in the South after the Civil War
  • Civil Rights through court cases and policies (Dred Scott, Plessy vs. Ferguson)
  • The significance of the Second Great Awakening
  • The Homestead Act
  • The Dawes Act
  • Populism
  • Progressives activities and political programs  (Hiram Johnson, Theodore Rooselvelt, The Sixteenth Amendment)
  • Social Darwinism
  • Sherman Antitrust Act
  • Americanization Movement
  • Teddy Rooselvelt's foreign policy
  • Emergency Quota Acts of 1921
  • Sedition Acts
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Treaty of Versailles
  • Scopes Trial
  • Jim Crow Laws
  • Chinese Exclusion Act
  • Gilded Age 

5.1 Finals Review: Progressive Era, Due 1/8/21

 The Progressive Era

Directions: To help you study for the midterm on our discussion board for this week, we will review key ideas from the study guide for Chapter 9 and from your textbook. You will answer questions 1-5 posted below and post your answers on the discussion board. You may look in your book or research online for information. Please state your answers in your own words. You will learn the material as you research the information, paraphrase the information in an answer and respond to other posts.Enjoy and Learn!

Women Who Fought for the Vote

1. Name several women who were influential in the woman's suffrage movement and state how they helped the movement.


Events that lead to the reform of food and drug production.

  • 1898-1899. Soldiers in the Spanish-American War die from eating badly-preserved meat or “embalmed beef.” Two generals later testify before Congress about the scandal.
  • November 1901. Children in St. Louis and Camden die from tainted vaccines.
  • 1902-1906. A group of twelve volunteers, nicknamed the “poison squad,” agree to eat food laced with common preservatives of the time, such as formaldehyde. The study is administered by Dr. Harvey Wiley, who is considered the father of the Food and Drug Act.
  • February 1906. Upton Sinclair publishes The Jungle, an expose of the meatpacking industry.
  • June 30, 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt signs the Pure Food and Drug Act as well as the Meat Inspection Act.
2. How did President Theodore Roosevelt administration help protect citizen's intake of food and drugs and overall health ?

3. What legislation was used by Teddy Roosevelt to file 44 anti-trust suits?

4. What is the term used to describe the progressive reforms of President Theodore Roosevelt?

5. Which area did the progressive reform known as the Square Deal NOT  have as a worthy goal: protection of social welfare, creation of economic reform or promotion of business monopolies? 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Month 4 week 3: Chapter 1-13 Midterm Study Guide due 12/18


In an effort to prepare for the final and help you and your classmates complete the study guide, select 2-3 sections from the study guide below. Create notes related to the sections and note the chapter and section. Post the notes on the discussion board. Comment on another student's post. 

U.S. History  Midterm Study Guide

  • Earn extra 10 points towards your final turn in the completed study guide and online  computer scored textbook chapter quizzes for chapters 1-13. (the quizzes will help you master and review the material)
  • The test has 40 Multiple choice questions
  • You may prepare a notecard with notes to use during your midterm.

                               Text: The Americans, published by McDougal Littel


Chapter 1 – Exploration and the Colonial Era
Section 1
Identify the different cultures that have interacted to help create the present-day culture of the United States.
Section 2
Explain the impact of Spanish exploration on Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans.
Section 3
Describe the goals of the English settlement at Jamestown.
Identify the motives that led Puritans to New England and the colonies they founded.
Explain the economic relationship between England and its North American colonies.
Section 4
Explain the influence of Enlightenment thinkers on the founding fathers.
Explain the influence of the Great Awakening on the colonists.
Explain the cause of the French and Indian War and the consequences of the war for the French and British.

Chapter 2 – Revolution and the Early Republic
Section 1
Summarize the ideas behind the American Revolution.
Explain the influence of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.
Explain the reasons for which the colonists declared independence and identify the Enlightenment thinkers/ideas that influence the Declaration of Independence.
Section 2
Identify the factors that helped the colonists to win the war.
Describe the symbolic value of the Revolution.
Section 3
Describe the political and economic problems faced by the Confederation.
Explain the conflicts and compromise reached in creating the new Constitution.
Describe the form of government established by the Constitution.
Explain the debates over the ratification of the Constitution.
Explain the Bill of Rights and why they were added.
Section 4
Identify key steps taken in creating a new government.
Describe the differing political views that emerged in the new government.
Identify challenges faced by the new government.

Chapter 3 – The Growth of a Young Nation
Section 1
Explain how Thomas Jefferson simplified the government.
Explain judicial review and identify the Supreme Court case/chief justice that established judicial review.
Explain the importance of the Louisiana Purchase.
Explain the causes and consequences of the War of 1812.
Summarize the ways in which nationalism shaped American foreign policy.
Section 2
Describe the regional economic differences in the early United States.
Summarize tensions between national and sectional interests.
Explain how Jackson helped to expand democracy and change politics.
Describe the causes and consequences of the Nullification Crisis.
Describe Jackson’s opposition to the National Bank.
Section 3
Summarize the reasons settlers headed west.
Describe Texas settlement, struggle for independence, and annexation.
Explain the causes and consequences of the War with Mexico.
Section 4
Describe the impact of new markets, entrepreneurs, and inventions on the 19th century American economy.
Explain the ways in which workplaces changed during the market revolution.
Summarize the efforts of workers to improve their economic security.
Section 5
Describe the spiritual awakening movements that inspired reform movements.
Describe the abolitionist movement.
Describe the role that women played in 19th century reform movements.

Chapter 4 – The Union in Peril
Section 1
Explain how California’s request for statehood caused a crisis, and how the Compromise of 1850 settled it.
Describe the operation of the Underground Railroad and other forms of protest against slavery.
Explain the political conditions that gave rise to the Republican Party and divided the Whigs.
Explain the Dred Scott decision and why it was so important in the slavery conflict.
Explain how Lincoln’s election resulted in secession.
Section 2
Identify the strengths of both sides at the beginning of the Civil War.
Identify the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Explain the effect of the war on regional economies.
Section 3
Identify the political and economic changes caused by the Civil War.
Explain how the Thirteenth Amendment affected the lives of slaves.
Section 4
Describe the various Reconstruction plans and their political consequences.
Describe how Reconstruction affected life in the South for white Southerners and former slaves.
Explain the reasons for the end of Reconstruction.

Chapter 5 – Changes on the Western Frontier
Section 1
Explain why settlers continued to move westward.
Indentify restrictions imposed by the government on Native Americans and describe the consequences.
Explain the Dawes Act and the goal it sought to achieve.
Explain the causes and consequences of the Battle of Wounded Knee.
Trace the development of the cattle industry.
Section 2
Explain the rapid settlement of the Great Plains due to homesteading and the transcontinental railroad.
Describe how the early settlers survived on the plains and transformed them into profitable farm land.
Section 3
Identify the problems farmers faced and their cooperative efforts to solve them.
Explain the rise and fall of the Populist Party.

Chapter 6 – A New Industrial Age
Section 1
Explain how natural resources fueled industrialization.
Explain how new inventions changed American business and people’s lives at home and work.
Section 2
Identify the positive and negative effects of railroads on the nation’s economy.
Explain the reasons why farmers were angry at railroad companies and explain the reforms that came around as a result.
Section 3
Identify management and business strategies that contributed to the success of business tycoons such as Andrew Carnegie.
Explain Social Darwinism and its effect on society.
Explain the Sherman Antitrust Act and its effectiveness.
Trace the emergence of labor unions and identify the two major types of unions that developed.
Identify the reasons for the various strikes during the late 19th century.
Explain management and government reaction to union activity.

Chapter 7 – Immigrants and Urbanization
Section 1
Identify the various countries that immigrants traveled from and their reasons for coming to the United States.
Define nativism.
Explain anti-immigration actions (Chinese Exclusion Act, Gentleman’s Agreement).
Section 2
Explain why many immigrants settled in the nation’s cities.
Explain the goals of the Americanization movement.
Explain why a number of Americans moved from rural areas to the cities.
Describe the housing problems and other difficulties that immigrants and poor residents encountered.
Describe the Social gospel movement and the help that reformers offered.
Section 3
Explain the role of political machines and political bosses.
Describe the means which many political machines used to maintain power, including the actions of the Tweed Ring.
Describe the consequences of the patronage system and identify reforms made by Presidents Hayes, Garfield, and Arthur.
Explain the positions taken by presidents Cleveland, Harrison, and McKinley on the tariff issue.

Chapter 8 – Science and Urban Life
Section 1
Describe how engineering innovations and urban planning helped improve city life at the turn-of-the-20th century.
Explain the effect of new technologies on communication and transportation.
Section 2
Explain the reasons for the expansion and improvement of public education.
Explain how educational experiences differed for African-Americans and immigrants.
Section 3
Describe the voting restrictions and Jim Crow laws that restricted the rights of African-Americans in the south.
Explain the significance of the Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson.
Summarize turn-of-the-20th-century race relations in the North and the South.
Identify discrimination against minorities in the American West.
Section 4
Describe turn-of-the-20th-century mass culture, including leisure activities, newspapers, fine arts, and literature.
Describe innovations in marketing and advertising.

Chapter 9 – The Progressive Era
Section 1
Explain the four goals of progressivism.
Identify efforts to clean up government, protect workers, and reform elections.
Explain the role of muckrakers.
Section 2
Describe the growing presence of women in the workplace at the turn of the 20th century.
Identify leaders of the woman suffrage movement.
Explain the strategies of the woman suffrage movement.
Section 3
Explain how Roosevelt used the power of the presidency to regulate business.
Identify laws passed to protect public health and the environment.
Summarize Roosevelt’s stand on civil rights.
Section 4
Summarize the events of the Taft presidency.
Explain the division in the Republican Party.
Section 5
Explain the two key antitrust measures, the Clayton Antitrust Act and the Federal Trade commission Act.
Explain how the lowering of the tariff and the introduction of the income tax were related.
Identify the provisions of the Sixteenth Amendment.
Describe Wilson’s banking reforms.
Explain how women finally won the vote.
Identify the 19th Amendment.
Explain the limits of Wilson’s progressivism.

Chapter 10 – America Claims an Empire
Section 1
Define imperialism.
Identify the major factors that contributed to the growth of American imperialism.
Explain how the U.S. acquired Alaska and Hawaii.
Section 2
Explain why some Americans supported Spanish control of Cuba and why others sympathized with the rebels.
Describe the factors that escalated the conflict between the United States and Spain.
Describe the consequences of the war for Spain and the U.S.
Explain why the Treaty of Paris causes debate among Americans.
Section 3
Describe U.S. involvement in Puerto Rico and the U.S.
Identify causes and effects of the Philippine-American War.
Explain the purpose of the Open Door policy in China.
Section 4
Explain the events that led to the building of the Panama Canal.
Explain the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.
Explain William Taft’s dollar diplomacy.
Explain Wilson’s “missionary diplomacy.”

Chapter 11- The First World War
Section 1
Summarize the divided U.S. public opinion about the war.
Explain why the United States entered the war.
Section 2
Describe how the United States raised an army and increased ship production during World War I.
Section 3
Explain why the War Industries Board was established.
Explain how the war affected the U.S. economy.
Explain how the government financed and built support for the war.
Describe the anti-immigrant hysteria and how the Espionage and Sedition Acts affected civil liberties.
Summarize the social changes that affected African-Americans and women.
Section 4
Summarize Wilson’s Fourteen Points and explain why the Allies rejected Wilson’s plan.
Describe the Treaty of Versailles and summarize the opposition to the treaty.
Explain how the war affected U.S. power and prestige in the world.

Chapter 12 – Politics of the Roaring Twenties
Section 1
Explain how Americans reacted to the perceived threat of communism.
Explain how anti-immigration sentiment strengthened the Ku Klux Klan’s attack on ethnic and religious minorities.
Describe the quota system and its impact.
Explain why labor conflicts increased after the war and why labor union membership declined.
Section 2
Explain Harding’s attitude towards the reforms of the Progressive Era?
Identify scandals that plagued the Harding administration.
Section 3
Describe the impact of the automobile and other new products on American life.
Explain ways in which the country’s prosperity was superficial.

Chapter 13 – The Roaring Life of the 1920s
Section 1
Describe life in the nation’s cities during the 1920s.
Explain the causes and effects of Prohibition (18th Amendment).
Describe the clash between religion and science and explain the main issue of the Scopes Trial.
Section 2
Explain the causes and effects of the changing role of women in the 1920s.
Section 3
Describe the popular culture of the 1920s.
Section 4
Explain why many African Americans migrated to Northern cities in the early 1900s.
Describe ways that African-American leaders proposed to combat discrimination and violence.
Describe the Harlem Renaissance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Month 4 week 1 and 2 due 12/11/20 Part 1 and Part 2:Emancipation and Finals Review of the Dred Scott Case

Part 1: 

The Civil War: An Online Exhibit 

Discovering the Civil War Logo

Directions: The Civil War emancipated the slaves and preserved the Union at great cost to American lives. The political and moral convictions that fueled the war were so deep that men and women risked their lives. View actual documents reflective of the core issues surrounding the Civil War by going to an online exhibit at:  Discovering The Civil War: Online Exhibit  Look at the section called: Endings and Beginnings. Answer the questions below. Post your responses. Respond to a classmates post.

Union General Ulysses S. GrantConfederate General Robert E. LeeConfederate General Joseph E. JohnstonAfrican American Drummer Boy

  1.  After the War, how did the South begin to rebuild itself economically? Describe the problems it faced in accepting equal rights for freed slaves?
  2.  How did former slaves begin to shape their lives as free people?
  3. Describe the role the Federal Government played in rebuilding the South politically?
  4. In what ways did government not fully support the freedoms of the former slaves?
  5. What do you think should have been done to ameliorate the lives of former slaves?

Review for your history final: The Dred Scott Case 

Directions: Refer to your textbook on p.166 regarding the historic decision of the Dred Scott vs. Sandford (1857). Review the Dred Scott Case below.

Answer the questions below. Post your response. Comment on another student's post.

The Dred Scott Decision: The Slavery Debate Intensifies

Comprehension Questions: 
  1.  Explain what the Supreme Court declared in the Dred Scott Case. According to the ruling, could a slave be free if he lived in free territory?
  2. Describe the ways the Nation's political debate over slavery changed with the Supreme Court ruling on the Dred Scott Case.
  3. Describe how the ruling polarized the nation moving us closer to Civil War. 
  4. As you studied this Supreme Court Case, what thoughts do you have surrounding this Supreme Court Ruling? 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Month 3 Week 4: Thanksgiving Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln due 11/20

 Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Happy Thanksgiving! I would like you to take a look at the Thanksgiving Proclamation written by President Abraham Lincoln, then answer the following questions in your post:


  1. Why did Lincoln see a need for a National day of Thanksgiving? 
  2. Describe the struggles our Nation was coping with at the time of the Thanksgiving Proclamation?
  3. In your opinion, what current struggles does our Nation face?
  4. How does the First Amendment affect the content of the Proclamation?
  5. Describe areas President Lincoln was thankful for? 
  6. Explain three things that you are thankful for this Thanksgiving?
Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler et al.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Month 3 week 3: The Civil War's effect on the U.S. industry, due 11/13/2020

 Directions: Read the following passage. Answer the questions. Post your answers

Industry and Economy during the Civil War

By Benjamin T. Arrington, National Park Service

As the war dragged on, the Union's advantages in factories, railroads, and manpower put the Confederacy at a great disadvantage.
 Lithograph showing industrial and technological advancements of the Civil War
Lithograph showing industrial and technological advancements of the Civil War
New technologies showing America's emerging industrial greatness were refined the Civil War: the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, and the steam-powered printing press
Library of Congress
The American economy was caught in transition on the eve of the Civil War. What had been an almost purely agricultural economy in 1800 was in the first stages of an industrial revolution which would result in the United States becoming one of the world's leading industrial powers by 1900. But the beginnings of the industrial revolution in the prewar years was almost exclusively limited to the regions north of the Mason-Dixon line, leaving much of the South far behind.

In 1860, the South was still predominantly agricultural, highly dependent upon the sale of staples to a world market. By 1815, cotton was the most valuable export in the United States; by 1840, it was worth more than all other exports combined. But while the southern states produced two-thirds of the world's supply of cotton, the South had little manufacturing capability, about 29 percent of the railroad tracks, and only 13 percent of the nation's banks. The South did experiment with using slave labor in manufacturing, but for the most part it was well satisfied with its agricultural economy.

The North, by contrast, was well on its way toward a commercial and manufacturing economy, which would have a direct impact on its war making ability. By 1860, 90 percent of the nation's manufacturing output came from northern states. The North produced 17 times more cotton and woolen textiles than the South, 30 times more leather goods, 20 times more pig iron, and 32 times more firearms. The North produced 3,200 firearms to every 100 produced in the South. Only about 40 percent of the Northern population was still engaged in agriculture by 1860, as compared to 84 percent of the South.

Even in the agricultural sector, Northern farmers were out-producing their southern counterparts in several important areas, as Southern agriculture remained labor intensive while northern agriculture became increasingly mechanized. By 1860, the free states had nearly twice the value of farm machinery per acre and per farm worker as did the slave states, leading to increased productivity. As a result, in 1860, the Northern states produced half of the nation's corn, four-fifths of its wheat, and seven-eighths of its oats.

The industrialization of the northern states had an impact upon urbanization and immigration. By 1860, 26 percent of the Northern population lived in urban areas, led by the remarkable growth of cities such as Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Detroit, with their farm-machinery, food-processing, machine-tool, and railroad equipment factories. Only about a tenth of the southern population lived in urban areas.

Free states attracted the vast majority of the waves of European immigration through the mid-19th century. Fully seven-eighths of foreign immigrants settled in free states. As a consequence, the population of the states that stayed in the Union was approximately 23 million as compared to a population of 9 million in the states of the Confederacy. This translated directly into the Union having 3.5 million males of military age - 18 to 45 - as compared to 1 million for the South. About 75 percent of Southern males fought the war, as compared to about half of Northern men.

The Southern lag in industrial development did not result from any inherent economic disadvantages. There was great wealth in the South, but it was primarily tied up in the slave economy. In 1860, the economic value of slaves in the United States exceeded the invested value of all of the nation's railroads, factories, and banks combined. On the eve of the Civil War, cotton prices were at an all-time high. The Confederate leaders were confident that the importance of cotton on the world market, particularly in England and France, would provide the South with the diplomatic and military assistance they needed for victory.

As both the North and the South mobilized for war, the relative strengths and weaknesses of the "free market" and the "slave labor" economic systems became increasingly clear - particularly in their ability to support and sustain a war economy. The Union's industrial and economic capacity soared during the war as the North continued its rapid industrialization to suppress the rebellion. In the South, a smaller industrial base, fewer rail lines, and an agricultural economy based upon slave labor made mobilization of resources more difficult. As the war dragged on, the Union's advantages in factories, railroads, and manpower put the Confederacy at a great disadvantage.

Nearly every sector of the Union economy witnessed increased production. Mechanization of farming allowed a single farmer growing crops such as corn or wheat to plant, harvest, and process much more than was possible when hand and animal power were the only available tools. (By 1860, a threshing machine could thresh 12 times as much grain per hour as could six men.) This mechanization became even more important as many farmers left home to enlist in the Union military. Those remaining behind could continue to manage the farm through the use of labor-saving devices like reapers and horse-drawn planters.

Northern transportation industries boomed during the conflict as well--particularly railroads. The North's larger number of tracks and better ability to construct and move parts gave it a distinct advantage over the South. Union forces moving south or west to fight often rode to battle on trains traveling on freshly lain tracks. In fact, as Northern forces traveled further south to fight and occupy the Confederacy, the War Department created the United States Military Railroads, designed to build rails to carry troops and supplies as well as operating captured Southern rail lines and equipment. By war's end, it was the world's largest railroad system.

Other Northern industries--weapons manufacturing, leather goods, iron production, textiles--grew and improved as the war progressed. The same was not true in the South. The twin disadvantages of a smaller industrial economy and having so much of the war fought in the South hampered Confederate growth and development. Southern farmers (including cotton growers) were hampered in their ability to sell their goods overseas due to Union naval blockades. Union invasions into the South resulted in the capture of Southern transportation and manufacturing facilities.

The Southern economy, while shaky throughout the war, grew markedly worse in its later years. The Emancipation Proclamation both enraged the South with its promise of freedom for their slaves, and threatened the very existence of its primary labor source. The economy continued to suffer during 1864 as Union armies battered Confederate troops in the eastern and western theaters. In the East, General Ulysses S. Grant threw men and materiel at Robert E. Lee's depleted and increasingly desperate army. Grant took advantage of railroad lines and new, improved steamships to move his soldiers and had a seemingly endless supply of troops, supplies, weapons, and materials to dedicate to crushing Lee's often ill-fed, ill-clad, and undermanned army. Though the campaign eventually fell into a stalemate at Petersburg, Virginia, Grant could afford to, as he stated, "fight it out along this line if it takes all summer," while Lee could not.

In the western theater of the war, William T. Sherman's Union troops laid waste to much of the Georgia countryside during the Atlanta Campaign and the subsequent "March to the Sea." Sherman's campaigns inflicted massive damage to Southern industry, agriculture and infrastructure. His soldiers destroyed rail lines and captured the major economic and transportation hub of Atlanta and the critical seaport of Savannah. When Sherman famously telegraphed Lincoln in December 1864, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah," his gift included "about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton." Sherman himself later estimated that this campaign, which eventually moved north and similarly impacted the Carolinas, caused $100 million of destruction. An already troubled Confederate economy simply could not absorb such massive losses and survive.

Foremost among these bills was the Homestead Act, a popular measure regularly debated in Congress since the 1840s. This law provided free title to up to 160 acres of undeveloped federal land outside the 13 original colonies to anyone willing to live on and cultivate it. Southerners had for years opposed the idea because it would severely hamper any opportunity to expand slavery into the areas where settlement would be likely. In the North, "free soilers" had clamored for the bill for decades, while abolitionists viewed it as a means to populate the West with small farmers vehemently opposed to slavery's expansion. Abraham Lincoln publicly stated his support while president-elect, stating, "In regards to the homestead bill, I am in favor of cutting the wild lands into parcels, so that every poor man may have a home." He made good on his promise by signing the Homestead Act into law on May 20, 1862.

In order to make the farms more efficient and to help industries develop new and better equipment, as well as provide opportunities for students in the "industrial classes," in 1862 Congress passed the Morrill Act (Land-Grant Colleges Act), by which each state was granted land for the purposes of endowing Agricultural and Mechanical (A and M) colleges. The purpose of the act was "to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts." This unprecedented national investment in higher education also required instruction in military tactics.

Another major initiative was the Pacific Railway Act, approved by President Lincoln on July 1, 1862. The transcontinental railroad linking the East and West had, like the homestead bill, been heavily debated by pre-war Congresses. Southerners wanted a railroad built along a southern route. Northerners, not surprisingly, wanted a Northern route. Once Southerners left Congress at the outset of the war, Republicans passed legislation that actually dictated a so-called "middle route" with an eastern terminus at Omaha and a western one at Sacramento. The construction of the first transcontinental railroad meant jobs for thousands in factories producing tracks and tools as well as those that labored for years to lay the tracks across rough terrain. It also meant the literal and symbolic linking of East and West (to the exclusion of the South) and decreased travel times for passengers and goods. It improved commercial opportunities, the construction of towns along both lines, a quicker route to markets for farm products, and other economic and industrial changes.

During the war, Congress also passed several major financial bills that forever altered the American monetary system. The Legal Tender Act authorized the federal government to print and use paper money, called "greenbacks," to pay its bills and finance the war. Even though greenbacks were not backed by similar amounts of gold and silver, creditors were required to accept them at face value. By the end of the war, the government had printed over $500 million in greenbacks, and the American financial system's strict reliance on transactions in gold or silver ended. The National Bank Act created a national banking system to reduce the number of notes issued by individual banks and create a single federal currency. The Internal Revenue Act eased inflation primarily by placing excise taxes on many luxury items such as tobacco and jewelry. More famously, the first U.S. income tax was imposed in July 1861, at 3 percent of all incomes over $800 up to 10 percent for incomes over $100,000 to help pay for the war effort.

As the war progressed, substantial and far-reaching changes were taking place far from the battle lines. When Lincoln became president in March 1861, he faced a divided nation, but also a Congress dominated by Republicans after many Southern Democratic members left to join the Confederacy. Lincoln and congressional Republicans seized this opportunity to enact several pieces of legislation that had languished in Congress for years due to strong Southern opposition. Many of these bills set the course for the United States to emerge by war's end as a nation with enormous economic potential and poised for a massive and rapid westward expansion. When Southerners left Congress, the war actually provided the North with an opportunity to establish and dominate America's industrial and economic future.

For better or worse, the political philosophies underlying the creation of the Confederate States of America, with its emphasis upon a strong state and a weak central government, coupled with its vast investments in a slave-labor-based agricultural economy, meant that the South had neither the ability nor the desire to develop the kind of industrial economy or centralized financial system required to sustain a "modern" war. By contrast, the Union's willingness and ability to vastly increase the influence and footprint of the federal government not only contributed directly to its military success in the war, but it also transformed many other areas of national life, including industrial, economic, agricultural, mechanical, and financial realms. Simply put, the United States of America would be a very different nation today than had the war never been fought. If we are truly the world's last remaining superpower, then it is, at least partially, the massive industrial and economic expansion enabled by the Civil War that allowed us to ascend to that role in the first place.

This essay is taken from The Civil War Remembered, published by the National Park Service and Eastern National. This richly illustrated handbook is available in many national park bookstores or may be purchased online from Eastern at www.eparks.com/store.

Source: National Parks http://www.nps.gov/resources/story.htm?id=251 (downloaded 10/31/2015)


  1. Based on your reading, contrast the industries of the Southern Confederacy and of the Northern Union during the Civil War.
  2. Compare how the demands of the war effected the Northern Union and Southern Confederacy in the areas of: economy, industry and technology. 
  3. Why was the Emancipation Proclamation a direct hit to the Southern Confederacy work force?

National Parks with Relevant Major Resources Related to the Industry and Economics

C&O Canal National Historical Park, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Governor's Island National Monument, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Richmond National Battlefield Park, Shiloh National Military Park