The Second American Revolution and Reconstruction Research Paper by writingsensation

The Second American Revolution and Reconstruction
A discussion of the Civil War and its effects on American Society today.
# 91226 | 1,275 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2006 | US

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The paper examines the claim by Civil War historian, James McPherson, that the Civil War brought about more radical changes in government than the American Revolution of 1776. The paper shows how the country was tested in such a way that it did gain strength in many ways, but also once the Union reformed, suffered many weaknesses that still exist in today's American culture. The Civil War also, in many ways, acted as a catalyst for change in American identity. The paper also looks at the issue of slavery in the South and argues that the South was never whole after the war and that it continues to function within the ghost of slavery. The paper concludes that the issue of slavery remains ingrained in American culture as it divides Americans in identity whether it be race, class or economic status.

From the Paper:

"The life of a slave prior to the Civil War was an ugly, dehumanizing life that as modern people, one would be appalled at the conditions and the treatments of African Americans at the time. Slave men were worked to death with very little food or water while slave women feel victim to rape and controlled reproductive rights. The way Southern society worked was to continue demoralizing and dehumanizing the slave existence. To the Southern slave owner, the slave was simply property, a tool to make the owner's life free of back breaking labor. As a result, much of even today's Southern culture is based on leisure and proper behavior, including separation of the races and class division. In the years before the outbreak of the Civil War, many slaves were not even aware changes were coming. They were at a disadvantage being uneducated and isolated from information. In 1860, Lincoln committed to keeping the western territories free of slavery and later signed in 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation long before war ever broke out. Still as much as this seemed like change in the right direction for slaves, Lincoln's main objective was to keep the Union together (Africans in America 4). This action seems only half hearted but essentially, Lincoln nor government policy has control over slave owners freeing their slaves. In fact, months after the signing of the Proclamation, many slaves were not aware this document freed them (Africans in America 4). The South's secession from the Union put an end to this freedom as it established its own constitution making slavery legal again. It is this break from the Union, in Lincoln's mind that started the war."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Africans in America. 1 Dec. 2005 <>.
  • Foner, Eric. "Radical Individualism in America." Literature of Liberty 5-31.
  • McPherson, James, M. The Struggle for Equality. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1964.
  • Mr. Lincoln and Friends. 1 Dec. 2005 <>.
  • The Why of the Civil War Discussion. 1 Dec. 2005 < whydiscussion.htm>.

Cite this Research Paper:

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The Second American Revolution and Reconstruction (2006, December 25) Retrieved May 27, 2023, from

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"The Second American Revolution and Reconstruction" 25 December 2006. Web. 27 May. 2023. <>