Helery Kuld

This photo is taken in Bull Run, Virginia, March 1962, and it depicts the ruins of Stone Bridge after the Second Battle of Bull Run. For some reason this photograph really caught my eye and I have two possible explanations why. First, this is a real photograph and it is spectacular because since the first photo ever was made only about 35 years earlier, American Civil War was one of the very first wars to be photographed. Second, I was moved by the passive-aggressiveness of it. There doesn’t have to be blood and bodies lying around to convey the message of the war’s brutality. The destroyed bridge, the only tree still standing and this one man look almost aesthetic but also show that the end of a battle doesn’t mean the end of the war or even that the end of the war doesn’t mean the end of hardships. Civil War definitely left its mark.


Different developments in the North and South – Mason-Dixon line separated North and South. The climate and rocky ground in the North (population of 20 million whites) didn’t support agriculture and large plantations so they needed another source of income – industries. The main occupations turned out to be manufacturing, textile development and fishing, especially whaling (+shoemaking, furniture). Development of the railroad system was also essential for the faster economic growth.  Slaves had been replaced by free immigrants. Northern culture was also on higher levels with theatres, operas and freak shows (Puritanism was slowly abandoned).

South (population of 8 million whites), however, had every prerequisite for farming and which became also the primary means of its wealth (it was measured by the size of your land and number of slaves). Main products were cotton, indigo plants, tobacco which they largely sold to North that then processed the goods and even shipped the South’s goods to Europe.


Abolitionist movement – 1830-1870, social and political movement which goal was ending the slavery and racial discrimination. Abolitionists – full emancipation of slaves, anti-slavery advocates – gradual emancipation, “Free-Soil” activists – restricting slavery to existing areas to prevent its spread. The emancipation was largely advocated on religious grounds and added to the existing tensions between North and South.

Missouri compromise – 1820, an effort by the Congress to defuse the rivalry triggered by Missouri’s request, in 1819, to become one of the states with permitted slavery (at the time there were 22 states, half of them slave states and half free states). The discussions ran for about 4 months before the Congress came up with Compromise, including 2 points.

1. In order to remain that balance, Missouri was declared a slave state but Maine, in contrary, a free one.

2. Slavery was excluded from the Louisiana Purchase lands north of latitude 36o30’, except for Missouri.

Fugitive Slave Act – Two federal laws that allowed the capturing and returning of the runaway slaves within United States. The first one, enacted in 1793, authorized the local governments to return the escaped slaves to their owners and penalize the ones that had helped the runaways. Due to the rampant opposition to the first act, the second one was passaged in 1850. The additions included increased penalties for hindering the return of runaways, up to 1000S and 6 months in jail, and denied slaves the right to a jury trial.

Underground Railroad – late 18th century to civil war, a secret network of routes and safe houses that gave shelter to African American runaways, often aided by whites, to escape into free states, Canada (Nova Scotia). It is estimated that about 100,000 slaves were able to escape.

Dred Scott case – a slave, who before returning to Missouri had lived with his owner in a free state and thus, believed he was already “freed”. He finally sued to US Supreme Court, but it decided that, free or not, US constitution didn’t include citizenship for black people, therefore he wasn’t able to petition the court for freedom. It outraged abolitionists and heightened the tensions.

Formation of Confederacy – February, 1861, 7 states’ representatives met to found the Confederate States of America in hopes of peaceful separation from North. Their constitution, often with the exact same wording, included 4 major differences

  1. A single.term executive with a 6-year term
  2. A presidential item veto
  3. A role for cabinet officials in congressional debates
  4. A prohibition of protective tariffs and federal funding for internal improvements.

The international trading of slaves was prohibited while the right to own slaves was maintained within the Confederacy.

Causes of the Civil War (1861-1865) – slavery is identified as the main cause, but there were more reasons for the secession. The confusion with state’s rights – the South argued that every state has the right to secede any time just like it decided to join the union, but the North didn’t agree, saying that it would go against the wishes of the Founding Fathers. Economic differences – the two very different types of economies created different political values, customs and approaches to ruling the country. Protectionism vs free trade.

Developments and outcome of the war – the results of the Civil War was the decisive defeat of the Confederate States of America, and their eventual resumption of their status in the US. The biggest result was the end to slavery.

Developments –

Communications and transport (ex. telegraph, railroads)

Weapons and ships (ex. long-range weapons, minie bullet)

I just had to

Emancipation Proclamation – on January 1, 1863, US President Abraham Lincoln declared free all slaves residing in territory in rebellion against the federal government. This Emancipation Proclamation actually freed few people. It did not apply to slaves in border states fighting on the Union side, nor did it affect slaves in southern areas already under Union’s control.

500 words

First of all, I really enjoyed the movie. Second of all, I couldn’t find any major mistakes.

“The historical backdrop against which “Glory” transpires is mostly historically accurate. In fact, a great deal of effort went into getting the details correct.”


Thanks to the writings of the real Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, on which the plot is mainly based, it’s true. Even some of the key characters have really existed and the outcome of the final battle was depicted correctly. With the decision to stay true to the actual events, there always lies a risk of the movie becoming dull and boring, but in my opinion that wasn’t the case with “Glory”.

“Glory could have easily become one-sided, but, instead of presenting just Shaw’s perspective, Zwick successfully gives us five distinct points-of-view.”


Even though Shaw has the dominant voice, the film managed to keep the perfect balance between the different points of views. In addition to Shaw’s, the white officer, there were represented the views of an angry runaway slave Trip, an educated and free black Thomas and proud and polite Rawlins.

“Watching “Glory,” I had one reccuring problem. I didn’t understand why it had to be told so often from the point of view of the 54th’s white commanding officer.”


With that I do not agree. The whole movie is based on his letters so to me it makes perfect sense that he is the one to present his stories. In addition, a considerable part of the movie’s purpose was to show the changing attitude towards the black and what better way would there be to convey it through a white man’s eyes. As said in the previous paragraph, I also didn’t feel like the voice of Robert was being overpowering.

I found “Glory” a remarkable movie, both, as a historical film giving a true overview of the American Civil War, and as an entertaining one to watch on a Saturday night. The historical accuracy is impressive, but, thanks to the amazing work by K. Jarre and E. Zwick, it has also got an epic feel that many today’s movies are lacking, which makes it enjoyable to watch.

Movie discussion

In what war were the characters in the movie fighting in? Give a brief overview of the causes of the war.

The action of the movie took place in 1863, when the Civil War was in full swing. The Civil War was fought between the Northern, industrialized, educated and anti-slavery, states and the Southern, rural. railway, arms, pro-slavery, states. Many slaves lived free lives in the northern states and they wanted to live in a free America, where no-one was a threat to them. Pro-slavery states supported Democrats, while northerners wanted Republicans. The gap between the states became so large, that the South declared their own nation, the Confederate States of America. Many African-Americans escaped up north and wanted a personal freedom and to fight. That is why many wanted to go to military, but there was very few attempts on a coloured regiment.

Who was Shaw’s father? How is he depicted in the film?

Shaw’s father was the Governor of Virginia??? (Francis Shaw???) and he firstly offered his son to be the colonel of a new coloured regiment in Massachusetts. Shaw wrote him letters from the army and he wanted his father to directly write a letter to president Abraham Lincoln in order for his regiment to go to battle.

What are the backgrounds of the soldiers in the regiment? How do they differ?

Some were free men , some were slaves. Thomas grew up together with Shaw, he was an intelligent person (Snowflake). Trip former slave, doesn’t know how to read. They came from very different backgrounds, but were eventually equal in the regiment.

What was the opinion of other white soldiers towards the Massachusetts 54th Regiment?

Noobs, don’t know how to fight, weak. Racism was very widespread. Only suitable as slaves. When the black soldiers first entered the camp, many white soldiers were booing and they were used to slavery and not that they could be in the army themselves.

Why didn’t Thomas fit in with anyone? How does that change throughout the film?

Thomas was black so at that time even in Northern States, he was still not equal to others. He had his friend(Shaw) who looked at him as an equal but most people wouldn’t quite accept him. In the 54th regiment, black men look down on him because he has a higher education and stand out. Trip is really mad as he believes that Thomas wants to look and seem white, but from Trips experience that is not possible and Thomas is a dumb white mens lap dog in his mind. Thomas tries to help but Trip makes it feel like Thomas thinks better of himself than others in the 54th regiment. By the end, Thomas has managed to educate quite a few of the soldiers and taught them to read, he is definitely accepted as a part of the family the men created while serving together.

What differences were there between whites and blacks? What difference did Robert mention?

The ability to relax and enjoy the moments –

“But the moment they are dismissed from drill, every tongue is relaxed and every ivory tooth is visible and you would not know from the sound of it that this is an army camp.”

The fearlessness and bravery

How did Shaw learn the issues of soldiers in the training camp?

He talked to Rawlins, the wise old man, who gave information about the well-being of the soldiers. For example, Rawlins told Shaw that they need new shoes. When Shaw realised the true situation, he demanded new shoes for everybody. Also with the blue uniforms.

How did the the blacks’ attitude towards Shaw change throughout the movie and vice versa?

They considered him a young, “small guy” who tried to hide behind his title, but realised he really cared for them and was becoming one of them, they respected him more than anyone.

At first, Robert tried to stay distant and remain the “higher power”, later became closer, forming a team.

Robert said “I owe them my freedom… my life if necessary”. Why?

“It is my job to get these men ready. And I will. They have risked their lives to be here, they have given up their freedom. I owe them as much as they have given. I owe them my freedom… my life if necessary.”

What kind of an outlook does general Montgomery have on black battalions and soldiers?

Montgomery is racist and he is certain that African-Americans are a bunch of senseless monkeys who are there for labor and hardwork, or destroying villages by stealing from houses and burning them down.

What is the difference between Montgomerys’ and Shaws’  battalions? Where does the difference come out and how? Why is there a difference?

Roberts’ 54th regiment is well behaving honourable soldiers, who are treated like normal soldiers. Montgomery already treated his men like wild animals so they act like a bunch of headless chicken, ramaching houses and burning villages without thinking about what they are doing. It is shown in the way the two regiment march to a village in Georgia and what happens while they are in the village.

What happened in Georgia? Why did Robert let the town be burnt down?

Montgomery gives orders to raid the town and when one soldier proposes burning down the town he responds, “Why not. Go ahead,” then goes on to insult the negro soldiers,calling them “animals”.

Montgomery threats to take his troops away.

What did Robert have to do to get his men the permission to fight?

He blackmailed a higher officer. (Smuggling, looting, grafts)

Why do you think Thomas didn’t want to go home after shot in the battle of St. James Island?

He wasn’t a coward and didn’t want to lose the first chance he ever had to fight for what he believed in.

Why doesn’t Trip want to carry the flag?

Because he’s not fighting for Robert nor for the country, he’s fighting for himself and the ones who share his destiny.

What is there to fighting? What do these mean?

Character, strength of heart – courage, determination, self-confidence, ability to control emotions.

Why did Shaw want to be the “suicide squad” at the invasion of Fort Wagner?

Because he wanted to show, that his men are eager to fight for freedom and are ready to die for it. Proving, that black people are vital and equal to others as well. It was considered an honorary move and white soldiers saluted them, when they went to battle.

Why did the soldiers meet the night before the final attack? What happened there?

It was a singing party, everyone made a speech. Rawlins, Thomas, Trip as well. It showed, how close they had become during their training. Trip said, that the regiment was like a family for him. As many soldiers did not have a family, it really meant a lot for them to have someone that took care of them.

What were your expectations concerning the end of the movie? How did it make you feel after watching it?

The end of the movie should be realistic, depicting the accurate end. Too many good people died? Very sad, tragic, that they could not conquer it. But it showed, that the brave attack influenced the Congress to encourage black people. The end was symbolic, as it was a right step towards equal rights for all races.

Did you find anything else odd in the final scene if the film?

The dead soldiers’ weren’t wearing any shoes(they had probably been taken before burying them to give to other regiments) but everyone was still dressed to their uniforms. Historically their uniforms were taken off as well.

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