Feb 07 2013

Civil War Long-Term Impact

Published by at 9:10 pm under Uncategorized

What long-term impact did the Civil War have on American society? 

The United States after the Civil War was in dire need for a reconstruction period, losing more than 600,000 Americans lives in the war causing business in all markets to have to rebuild. This long period of rebuilding and creating new inventions for the country led to a period called the Industrialization Period. After the Civil War, laws formed by the government that gave federal protection to all American citizens were enacted, thus demolishing slavery. The American people started to realize and believe that the United States were not just a collection of states, but had formed a country.

After the Civil War ended, the South was put into a very hard predicament about their economy. Their work force was now completely gone because the slaves had been freed, making the South look for new ways to get workers. Even though their railroads were mostly ruined, they were able to adapt and improve to make them a huge part of transporting their crops. The North on the other hand, gained a great workload from the amount of freed slaves that moved to the north. The North encountered a railroad phenomenon as railroads were built with federal government support, allowing the North to continue with westward expansion to support their economy.

The United States as a whole adapted and the economy became more and more power over time. The economy especially became financially stronger when “the sale of war bonds pushed the passage of the National Bank Act of 1863. This act allowed banks of a certain capital minimum to qualify for a Federal charter if they used at least one third of their capital in the purchase of war bonds” (C K Liu). These bonds allowed banks to collect interest on the capital form, which made banks more profitable and influential not only for themselves but for the government.

When the United States added the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution after the Civil War, these amendments freed the African Americans and gave them a legal status. These “Reconstruction Amendments” had a particular outcome for the African Americans; the 13th amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, the 14th guaranteed citizenship to all people born in the U.S. and that every state must give protection to all people, and lastly, the 15th amendment gave all males the right to vote regardless of their race.  Although these amendments did not immediately bring equality to African Americans, it allowed an eventual view of racial equality in the U.S. to be formed.

In the end, the Civil War had both positive and negative long-term effects. The South would experience a lot of increased debt from the loss of railroads and workers, while the North flourished with its gaining of new railroad systems and industrialized factories.  This Reconstruction period involving the addition of “federal and state policies” (Woodworth) helped the United States to grow and become a stronger country. Reconstruction “ended in the different states at different times, the last three by the Compromise of 1877” (Woodworth). Although the restoration of the Union was the main accomplishment of the war, the North and the South began to come together to expand the U.S. westward and to build it into a stronger, more economically advanced country.



Steven E. Woodworth, ed. The American Civil War: A Handbook of Literature and Research. Greenwood Press. 1996. 756pp online edition

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JC14Dj03.html, THE SHAPE OF US POPULISM, Part 2, Long-term effects of the Civil War, Henry C K Liu Mar 14, 2008

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Civil War Long-Term Impact”

  1. brianworcesteron 11 Feb 2013 at 12:50 pm

    **Could not create a separate blog post so I posed this here**

    American Industrialization and it’s affect on American Society:

    The American Industrial Revolution may have been about a century after Great Britain’s, but America would soon leap frog ahead to the most developed nation in the world. America’s industrialization is mainly thought of as the period after the Civil War. However, its roots can be traced back to the turn of the 19th Century. Samuel Slater is thought to have been a major catalyst with his opening of the first industrial mill in 1790 (www.ushistory.org, 22). This early modernization started the abundance of textile factories that emerged during the 19th Century.

    The Civil War certainly slowed down industrialization growth because of the poor economic climate. However, post-war industrialization boomed with the likes of tycoons such as Rockefellar and Carnegie. America began to rely heavily on railroads for transportation of good; a market cornered by Rockefellar. The growth of railroads helped America to become the most powerful nation in the world at the time. The economy began to switch from primarily agricultural based to industrial based.

    This process has a huge impact on American society. Families and business began to shift their focus towards working in industries. The American work day became less labor intensive and more skill based. As the economic climate changed, so did the roles of women. No longer were they expected to just take care of the house. Now, they would join the industrial workforce (with children, too) and work under grueling conditions. They would become servants to the growing middle class, often performing sixteen hour work days. This period also had an impact on the Native American population. The sudden migrations by Americans to the West, combined with the railroads, caused my Native Americans to be relocated. Possibly the biggest group of people affected were the farmers of America. The farmers of America saw their crop yield grow by exponential rates during this period. The reason being that they had farming equipment, such as the plow, that helped them seed and cultivate their land in a fraction of the time. With the building of railroads, a farmer could get their product to markets farther away much more quickly. (www.inventors.about.com)

    This time in American history was fast paced and unpredictable. Self-made millionaires (billionaires in today’s money) began to spring up with their latest capital investments. The American workforce went from mainly farming to mainly industry in a matter of a few decades, and the American family changed as a result. The United States of America jumped in front of the few developing nations at the time to become the most powerful, where it has remained ever since.


    http://m.voices.yahoo.com/affected-groups-19th-century-industrialization-5218655.html – Randall Hardman/jan 11 2010


  2. Amsanto14on 11 Feb 2013 at 11:45 pm

    *Wouldn’t let me post to blog so posting here*

    The Civil War was a large war that started in 1861 and ended in 1865. Although it ended, it certainly did not fail to change and impact American society in extreme ways. The war paved a path for long-term impacts on American society.

    For one, as a result of this war, the 13, 14, and 15th amendments were added to the Constitution. The thirteenth amendment stated that slavery be outlawed and involuntary servitude unless you committed a crime, then that would be your punishment. The fourteenth amendment stated that African American people could now be citizens in the United States. The 15th amendment stated the prohibition of denying a male citizen of the United States the right to vote simply on their race, color, or previous condition of servitude (for example, slavery)”. (Wikipedia) These three amendments were added shortly after the end of the Civil War. Due in part to the Civil War, slavery was abolished and African Americans were beginning to be seen as equal.

    However, having said that, although slavery was abolished, which was obviously a great thing, something negative came out of it. The period following the Civil war, essentially immediately after the war, the Ku Klux Klan was formed by various ex-Confederate officers who saw this formation of the group as a way to save the South from racial equality. This group did horrific things to the African American race, and are best known for their night (and day) lynchings of African Americans and burning a cross on the lawns of African Americans and even setting their houses on fire. So, as a result of the ending of the Civil War, this group was formed which held long-term impacts on American society, and still does today.

    Another long-term impact would be that after the war, the economy was not doing very well. The biggest issue was the fact that now that the slaves were no longer bound under involuntary servitude, the South and America in general had no one out in the labor force at all. This called for acceleration of “the development of big business manufacturing in the North initiated by the demands of war production”(Henry C.K. Liu). This acceleration resulted in the push for industrialization in the Northeast parts of the United States. It also caused “the spread of mechanized farming in the Middle West and the opening of new farms and mines in the West…” (Henry C.K. Liu). Slowly, but surely the United States Economy was becoming more powerful with the new era of Industrialization.

    There is no argument that there were positive long-term impacts from the Civil War, but we must not forget the negative long-term impacts as well. Due to the Civil War, a terrible and destructive group formed against all African Americans, but at the same time, the economy of the United States grew more and more powerful as time went on. We can definitely say here that the Civil War had many positive and negative impacts on American society.


    “Between Civil War and Civil Rights .” How the South Won the War. Listening Between the Lines INC., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. .

    C.K. Liu, Henry, and the. “Long-term Effects of the Civil War.” Henry C.K. Liu Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. .

    “What affects did the civil war have on American society.” The Q&A wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. .

    “What is some effects of the civil war? | ChaCha.” Questions & Answers | ChaCha. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. .

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