US Civil War

Slavery in the US

African Americans were kidnapped and brought to the US and sold as property. Enslaved workers were forced to work in inhumane conditions and subjected to brutal treatment. A movement to abolish slavery began in the northern states.


Sectionalism refers to the philosophical divide that existed in The US in in the years leading up to The Civil War. White southerners began to feel they had different values than those in the north. They had more of an agriculture-based economy, while The North was beginning to industrialize and more people were working in factories. Those in The South sought to preserve slavery, while an abolitionist movement was growing in The North.

US Civil War

The US Civil War began when southerners fired on a US Navy base at Fort Sumter South Carolina in 1860. The southern states the seceded and declared themselves an independent nation. Richmond, Virginia was established as the capital of the Confederate States of America. As the war went on, both sides saw massive casualties. Major battles include Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh and Richmond. As US troops closed in on Richmond, the Confederate army burned the city and fled to Appomattox Courthouse, where they signed a peace agreement.

Civil War Amendments

Several important constitutional amendments were passed during the Civil War era. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude (except for criminals). The 14th Amendment defined citizenship and equal protection under the law, and made every person born in the US a citizen, including those who had been enslaved. The 15th Amendment prohibits restricting voting based on race, color or previous servitude.


Reconstruction was the period after the Civil War when the US was recovering from the war. A focus was put on transforming the Southern economy away from slavery. Some northern politicians went south to be elected and were called “carpetbaggers.” The South entered an economic depression.