Glory notions

Different Developments In The North And South

The northern soil and climate favored smaller farmsteads rather than large plantations. Industry flourished, fueled by more abundant natural resources than in the South, and many large cities were established (New York was the largest city with more than 800,000 inhabitants). By 1860, one quarter of all Northerners lived in urban areas. Between 1800 and 1860, the percentage of laborers working in agricultural pursuits dropped drastically from 70% to only 40%. Slavery had died out, replaced in the cities and factories by immigrant labor from Europe. In fact an overwhelming majority of immigrants, seven out of every eight, settled in the North rather than the South. Transportation was easier in the North, which boasted more than two-thirds of the railroad tracks in the country and the economy was on an upswing. Far more Northerners than Southerners belonged to the Whig/Republican political party and they were far more likely to have careers in business, medicine, or education. In fact, an engineer was six times as likely to be from the North as from the South. Northern children were slightly more prone to attend school than Southern children.
The fertile soil and warm climate of the South made it ideal for large-scale farms and crops like tobacco and cotton. Because agriculture was so profitable few Southerners saw a need for industrial development. Eighty percent of the labor force worked on the farm. Although two-thirds of Southerners owned no slaves at all, by 1860 the South’s “peculiar institution” was inextricably tied to the region’s economy and culture. In fact, there were almost as many blacks – but slaves and free – in the South as there were whites (4 million blacks and 5.5 million whites). There were no large cities aside from New Orleans, and most of the ones that did exist were located on rivers and coasts as shipping ports to send agricultural produce to European or Northern destinations. Only one-tenth of Southerners lived in urban areas and transportation between cities was difficult, except by water. Only 35% of the nation’s train tracks were located in the South. Also, in 1860, the South’s agricultural economy was beginning to stall while the Northern manufacturers were experiencing a boom. A slightly smaller percentage of white Southerners were literate than their Northern counterparts, and Southern children tended to spend less time in school. As adults, Southern men tended to belong to the Democratic political party and gravitated toward military careers as well as agriculture.

Abolitionist Movement

The abolitionist movement was a social and political push for the immediate emancipation of all slaves and the end of racial discrimination and segregation. Advocating for emancipation separated abolitionists from more moderate anti-slavery advocates, who argued for gradual emancipation, and from “Free-Soil” activists who sought to restrict slavery to existing areas and prevent its spread. Radical abolitionism was partly fueled by the religious fervor of the Second Great Awakening, which prompted many people to advocate for emancipation on religious grounds. The abolitionist movement became increasingly prominent in Northern churches and politics beginning in the 1830s, which contributed to the regional animosity between North and South leading up to the Civil War.

Missouri Compromise

In the years leading up to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, tensions began to rise between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions within the U.S. Congress and across the country. They reached a boiling point after Missouri’s 1819 request for admission to the Union as a slave state, which threatened to upset the delicate balance between slave states and free states. To keep the peace, Congress orchestrated a two-part compromise, granting Missouri’s request but also admitting Maine as a free state. It also passed an amendment that drew an imaginary line across the former Louisiana Territory, establishing a boundary between free and slave regions that remained the law of the land until it was negated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The Missouri Compromise was an effort by Congress to defuse the sectional and political rivalries triggered by the request of Missouri late in 1819 for admission as a state in which slavery would be permitted. At the time, the United States contained twenty-two states, evenly divided between slave and free. Admission of Missouri as a slave state would upset that balance; it would also set a precedent for congressional acquiescence in the expansion of slavery. Earlier in 1819, when Missouri was being organized as a territory, Representative James Tallmadge of New York had proposed an amendment that would ultimately have ended slavery there; this effort was defeated, as was a similar effort by Representative John Taylor of New York regarding Arkansas Territory. The extraordinarily bitter debate over Missouri’s application for admission ran from December 1819 to March 1820. Northerners, led by Senator Rufus King of New York, argued that Congress had the power to prohibit slavery in a new state. Southerners like Senator William Pinkney of Maryland held that new states had the same freedom of action as the original thirteen and were thus free to choose slavery if they wished. After the Senate and the House passed different bills and deadlock threatened, a compromise bill was worked out with the following provisions: (1) Missouri was admitted as a slave state and Maine (formerly part of Massachusetts) as free, and (2) except for Missouri, slavery was to be excluded from the Louisiana Purchase lands north of latitude 36°30′.

Fugitive Slave Act

The Fugitive Slave Act or Fugitive Slave Law was passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slave-holding interests and Northern Free-Soilers. The Act was one of the most controversial elements of the 1850 compromise and heightened Northern fears of a “slave power conspiracy”. It required that all escaped slaves, upon capture, be returned to their masters and that officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate. Abolitionists nicknamed it the “Bloodhound Law”, for the dogs that were used to track down runaway slaves. Signed into law by President Millard Fillmore on September 18, 1850.

Underground Railroads

The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-19th century, and used by African-American slaves to escape into free states, Canada and Nova Scotia with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. Various other routes led to Mexico or overseas. An earlier escape route running south toward Florida, then a Spanish possession (except 1763–83), existed from the late 17th century until Florida became a United States territory in 1821 (ending the safe haven for escaped slaves was the main reason Florida changed nationality). However, the network now generally known as the Underground Railroad was formed in the late 1700s, and it ran north to the free states and Canada, and reached its height between 1850 and 1860. One estimate suggests that by 1850, 100,000 slaves had escaped via the “Railroad”. British North America (present-day Canada), where slavery was prohibited, was a popular destination, as its long border gave many points of access. Most former slaves settled in Ontario. More than 30,000 people were said to have escaped there via the network during its 20-year peak period, although U.S. Census figures account for only 6,000. Numerous fugitives’ stories are documented in the 1872 book The Underground Railroad Records by William Still, an abolitionist who then headed the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee. “Conductors” led or transported the fugitives from station to station. A conductor sometimes pretended to be a slave in order to enter a plantation. Once a part of a plantation, the conductor would direct the runaways to the North. Slaves traveled at night, about 16–32 km to each station. They rested, and then a message was sent to the next station to let the station master know the runaways were on their way. They would stop at the so-called “stations” or “depots” during the day and rest. The stations were often located in barns, under church floors, or in hiding places in caves and hollowed-out riverbanks.

Dred Scott Case

The Dred Scott case of the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied Scott his freedom by ruling that negro-slave descendants were not U.S. citizens, was the end of years of legal cases during 1846–1857, in lower federal district court and Missouri courts which had granted Dred Scott freedom for about 2 years, until overturned upon appeal. Back in 1846, having failed to purchase his freedom, Scott filed legal suit in St. Louis Circuit Court. Scott stood on solid legal ground, because Missouri precedent dating back to 1824 had held that slaves freed through prolonged residence in a free state would remain free when taken back to Missouri. The doctrine was known as “Once free, always free”. Scott and his wife had resided for two years in free states and free territories, and his eldest daughter had been born on the Mississippi River, between a free state and a free territory. Dred Scott was listed as the only plaintiff in the case, but his wife, Harriet, played a critical role, pushing him to pursue freedom on behalf of their family. She was a frequent churchgoer, and in St. Louis, her church pastor (a well-known abolitionist) connected the Scotts to their first lawyer. The Scott children were around the age of ten at the time the case was originally filed, which was the age when younger slaves became more valuable assets for slave owners to sell. To prevent the family from breaking up, Harriet urged Dred to take action. In 1853, Scott again sued; this time under federal law. Irene Emerson had moved to Massachusetts, and Scott had been transferred to Irene Emerson’s brother, John F. A. Sanford. Because Sanford was a citizen of New York, while Scott would be a citizen of Missouri if he were free, the Federal courts had diversity jurisdiction over the case. After losing again in federal district court, they appealed to the United States Supreme Court in Dred Scott v. Sandford. On March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the majority opinion. Taney ruled, with 3 major issues, that:

  1. Any person descended from Africans, whether slave or free, is not a citizen of the United States, according to the U.S. Constitution.
  2. The Ordinance of 1787 could not confer either freedom or citizenship within the Northwest Territory to non-white individuals.
  3. The provisions of the Act of 1820, known as the Missouri Compromise, were voided as a legislative act, since the act exceeded the powers of Congress, insofar as it attempted to exclude slavery and impart freedom and citizenship to non-white persons in the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase.

The Court had ruled that African Americans had no claim to freedom or citizenship. Since they were not citizens, they did not possess the legal standing to bring suit in a federal court. As slaves were private property, Congress did not have the power to regulate slavery in the territories and could not revoke a slave owner’s rights based on where he lived. This decision nullified the essence of the Missouri Compromise, which divided territories into jurisdictions either free or slave. Speaking for the majority, Taney ruled that because Scott was simply considered the private property of his owners, he was subject to the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the taking of property from its owner “without due process”.
The Scott decision increased tensions between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in both North and South, further pushing the country towards the brink of civil war. Ultimately after the Civil War, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution settled the issue of Black citizenship via Section 1 of that Amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside …”

Formation Of Confederacy

The Confederate States of America was a collection of 11 states that seceded from the United States in 1860 following the election of President Abraham Lincoln (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas. After the American Civil War began in April, four slave states of the Upper South—Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina—also declared their secession and joined the Confederacy.) Led by Jefferson Davis and existing from 1861 to 1865, the Confederacy struggled for legitimacy and was never recognized as a sovereign nation. After suffering a crushing defeat in the Civil War, the Confederate States of America ceased to exist. The Confederacy used the U.S. Constitution as a model for its own, with some wording differences and a few changes regarding the executive and judicial branches. The Confederate president would serve for six years with no reelection possibility, but was considered more powerful than his Union counterpart. While the Confederate Constitution upheld the institution of slavery, it prohibited the African slave trade.

Causes Of The Civil War (1861-1865)

The causes of secession were complex and have been controversial since the war began, but most academic scholars identify slavery as a central cause of the war. James C. Bradford wrote that the issue has been further complicated by historical revisionists, who have tried to offer a variety of reasons for the war. Slavery was the central source of escalating political tension in the 1850s. The Republican Party was determined to prevent any spread of slavery, and many Southern leaders had threatened secession if the Republican candidate, Lincoln, won the 1860 election. After Lincoln won, many Southern leaders felt that disunion was their only option, fearing that the loss of representation would hamper their ability to promote pro-slavery acts and policies.
Between 1803 and 1854, the United States achieved a vast expansion of territory through purchase, negotiation, and conquest. At first, the new states carved out of these territories entering the union were apportioned equally between slave and free states. Pro- and anti-slavery forces collided over the territories west of the Mississippi.
The South argued that just as each state had decided to join the Union, a state had the right to secede—leave the Union—at any time. Northerners (including President Buchanan) rejected that notion as opposed to the will of the Founding Fathers, who said they were setting up a perpetual union.
Sectionalism resulted from the different economies, social structure, customs, and political values of the North and South.
Slave owners preferred low-cost manual labor with no mechanization. Northern manufacturing interests supported tariffs and protectionism while southern planters demanded free trade. The Democrats in Congress, controlled by Southerners, wrote the tariff laws in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s, and kept reducing rates so that the 1857 rates were the lowest since 1816. The Republicans called for an increase in tariffs in the 1860 election. The increases were only enacted in 1861 after Southerners resigned their seats in Congress. The tariff issue was a Northern grievance.
Nationalism was a powerful force in the early 19th century, with famous spokesmen such as Andrew Jackson and Daniel Webster. While practically all Northerners supported the Union, Southerners were split between those loyal to the entire United States (called “unionists”) and those loyal primarily to the southern region and then the Confederacy.
While the South moved towards a Southern nationalism, leaders in the North were also becoming more nationally minded, and they rejected any notion of splitting the Union. The Republican national electoral platform of 1860 warned that Republicans regarded disunion as treason and would not tolerate it: “We denounce those threats of disunion … as denying the vital principles of a free government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant people sternly to rebuke and forever silence.” The South ignored the warnings: Southerners did not realize how ardently the North would fight to hold the Union together.
The election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860 was the final trigger for secession. Efforts at compromise failed. Southern leaders feared that Lincoln would stop the expansion of slavery and put it on a course toward extinction. The slave states, which had already become a minority in the House of Representatives, were now facing a future as a perpetual minority in the Senate and Electoral College against an increasingly powerful North. Before Lincoln took office in March 1861, seven slave states had declared their secession and joined to form the Confederacy.

Develpments And Outcome Of The War

The Southern economy nearly collapsed during the war. There were multiple reasons for this: the severe deterioration of food supplies, especially in cities, the failure of Southern railroads, the loss of control of the main rivers, foraging by Northern armies, and the seizure of animals and crops by Confederate armies.
The North and West grew rich while the once-rich South became poor for a century. The national political power of the slaveowners and rich Southerners ended.
The war resulted in at least 1,030,000 casualties (3 percent of the population). The war accounted for more American deaths than in all other U.S. wars combined.
The war destroyed much of the wealth that had existed in the South. All accumulated investment Confederate bonds was forfeit; most banks and railroads were bankrupt. Income per person in the South dropped to less than 40 percent of that of the North, a condition that lasted until well into the 20th century.
Southern influence in the U.S. federal government, previously considerable, was greatly diminished until the latter half of the 20th century. The full restoration of the Union was the work of a highly contentious postwar era known as Reconstruction. The Emancipation Proclamation enabled African-Americans, both free blacks and escaped slaves, to join the Union Army. About 190,000 volunteered, further enhancing the numerical advantage the Union armies enjoyed over the Confederates, who did not dare emulate the equivalent manpower source for fear of fundamentally undermining the legitimacy of slavery.

Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation was issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. It changed the federal legal status of more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the designated areas of the South from slave to free. As soon as a slave escaped the control of the Confederate government, by running away or through advances of federal troops, the former slave became free. Ultimately, the rebel surrender liberated and resulted in the proclamation’s application to all of the designated former slaves.
Around 25,000 to 75,000 slaves in regions where the US Army was active were immediately emancipated. It could not be enforced in areas still under rebellion, but, as the Union army took control of Confederate regions, the Proclamation provided the legal framework for freeing more than three and a half million slaves in those regions.

Visual Portrayal

The visual that I chose to add to my blog about “Glory” is a video that explains what the Underground Railroads were actually like and how hard it was for people to escape using them. I like this video, because it brings in counterarguments about what I found myself about the Underground Railroads. From what I found, I understood that the Railroads ran through north and south, but the video explains that, if slaves escaped they had to make it from the south to north on their own, because there actually weren’t any of the railroads in the south and only in the north. The video also explains other things, but I just like this because it explains the most important facts in a very short video, that was easy for me to understand.

Critical response

The 1989 film “Glory” takes place during the American Civil War and tells the story of 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry from the point of view of Colonel Robert Shaw, who is promoted to command one of the first regiments in the Union Army, that consists of only African-American soldiers. The movie shows the thoughts, feelings and emotions of African-Americans from different paths of life, who decided to fight on the North side in American Civil War. “Glory” has been said to be one of the most historically accurate movies about the American Civil War. This can be seen in the many nominations and awards the movie has won. From the critics, the movie has got mostly good reviews, but ofcourse there are a few individuals, who found more flaws in the movie than other people.
“Glory is, without question, one of the best movies ever made about the American Civil War … it is the way in which the filmmakers weave an impressively large historical tapestry without ever losing sight of the characters that make up the individual threads.” ( I definitely agree with these sentences, even though I have not seen many historical or war movies, that I can compare this movie to. But I do conclude from the information I have found out about this era, that this movie is undeniably doing a good job at portraying the lives, which African-American soldiers lived during the American Civil War. Also throughout the rest of the review, the author very much praises the movie for almost everything it did.
Another person had this to say: “I didn’t understand why it had to be told so often from the point of view of the 54th’s white commanding officer. Why did we see the black troops through his eyes – instead of seeing him through theirs?” ( I do not actually know how I feel about this statement. I think the times where Robert dictated his letters to his family, did in a way overshadow over the other characters feelings and thoughts, because we only found about their opinions, when they spoke them out loud. But at the same time I feel, that mostly the movie focused on the African-Americans, not so much on Robert. But maybe I just can not differentiate people’s points of view.
I conclusion, definitely the majority of the public feels like this a very good, historically accurate movie, that reflects the reality of American Civil War very well. And even the people, who do not consider this movie their favorite, can still agree, that looking past the problems they personally find with movie, it still is a good movie to showcase the reality of African-Americans in the army during Civil War. The film certainly shines a light on what African-Americans had to go through at that time and how important their contributions in the war were.



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