The Unfinished Nation: Chapter 14 The Civil War


Chapter 14 Main Themes:


  1. The establishment of the Confederacy, the failure of the final attempts at compromise, and the road to Fort Sumter.

  2. The social and economic mobilization of both the Union and Confederacy for war, and what that mobilization revealed about the nature and character of each side.

  3. The military strategy and campaigns of the Civil War, leading to the Union victory in April of 1865.



A thorough study of Chapter 14 should enable the student to understand:


  • The reasons why all attempts to reach a compromise in the time-honored way failed in 1860 and 1861.


  • The many interpretations of the causes of the Civil War advanced by historians.


  • The ways in which the Confederate States of America compared with the United States in manpower, natural resources, finances, industrial potential, and public support.


  • The significant nationalistic legislation enacted by Congress once southern members were no longer a factor, including the Homestead Act, Morrill Act, and National Bank Acts


  • The step-by-step considerations involved in President Lincoln's decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and its reception in the North, in the South, and in Europe.


  • The military mobilization of the North, including the role of women in the Sanitary Commission and the eventual adoption of black military units, beginning with the 54th Massachusetts.


  • The basic structure of the government of the Confederate States of America, how it differed from that of the United States, and how it dealt with the vital question of states' rights.


  • The efforts of presidents Lincoln and Jefferson Davis to act as commanders in chief under their respective constitutions.


  • The crucial roles of sea power and international diplomacy in securing victory for the Union cause.


  • The American Civil War in context of the worldwide movement to create large, consolidated nations.


  • The military strategies adopted by both sides of the Civil War, and the major battles that marked the course of America's bloodiest conflict.





Unionists   Residents of the Confederate states who counseled against secession and who often remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War. Unionists were more common in upcountry regions of the South, where the slave-based plantation economy was less influential than in coastal areas of the South. Some Unionists left the South during the Civil War, but many remained.