McPherson on the Turning Point of the Civil War Case Study

McPherson on the Turning Point of the Civil War
A review of James M. McPherson's "Crossroads of Freedom Antietam 1862: The Battle That Changed the Course of the Civil War".
# 154180 | 1,182 words | 3 sources | 2015 | US
Published on May 04, 2015 in History (General)

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From the Paper:

"McPherson opens his book by referring to September 11th tragedy in order to establish his argument that September 17, 1862 was indeed the bloodiest day in the history of America: The number of casualties suffered on that single day was not only more than 9/11 tragedy but also more than ""than died in combat in all the other wars fought by this country in the 19th century combined: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, and all the Indian wars." (p. 3) This sets the tone for the book and helps the author establish his thesis. By proving, that so much causalities took place on a single day, some 140 years ago,
"McPherson was actually trying to establish his premise that Antietam and not Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil war as he writes "even though the war continued and the Confederacy again approached success on later occasions, Antietam was arguably . . . the event of the war".
"McPherson's work is highly professional in tone written with a kind of authority that only a man with complete knowledge of his subject can radiate. This prolific writer sets out to accomplish one task i.e. to shatter the belief that Gettysburg was the main battle in the Civil War instead he categorically states that it was the two-day bloodletting at Antietam, near the town of Sharpsburg in rural Maryland. In September 1862 that served as the turning point in the Civil War the North, triumphed and Confederates suffered a crucial blow.
"The first two years of the war were very crucial for both the Union and Confederates because "The roller coaster ride of public opinion in response to events on the battlefields, both in the North and the South, was a crucial factor in the war. Victory pumped up civilian as well as army morale and sustained the will to keep fighting; defeat depressed moral and encouraged defeatism." However, from this, Antietam sealed the fate of the South who had suffered some heavy losses earlier in the war because regardless of what we might know about the Civil War, the Confederates were anything but dead before the battle of Antietam. In fact, Antietam was the battle that gave North their morale back because prior to this battle, The South was just a few miles away from sweeping victory and recognition by Europe."

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