American Historical Development in the Pre Civil War of 1865

A number of events shaped America historical development. For instance, the war of the mid 19th century was the turning point for the economic take off for the United States from a developing nation to world super power currently. To begin with, the war also saw the U.S. triple its size due to acquisition of more territories within a span of a century. This territorial growth resulted from Mexico Cession, conquest of Alaska, Texas, Oregon, and Florida. The 1812 war is regarded as the second American liberation from Great Britain, which still had interests in the affairs of the U.S.

Trade issues also led to dispute between America and Britain since the latter wanted all trade ships headed for France to pass through Britain and any ship that did not stop was regarded an enemy. This led to conflict between the British authority and American citizens involved in the trade prompting hostility between the two nations. The third issue that led to the 1812 war was the Embargo Act passed by President Jefferson that sought to influence European economy by stopping American vessels from sailing to Europe and this compromised trade with the European nations. The effects of the embargo adversely affected American state of economy until the Congress via the Macon Bill reserved the embargo. However, trade wars continued between the British and the Americans.

Because of the war, America got international recognition by successfully resisting the Great Britain for a second time. The war also led to rejuvenation of more ambitious trade links and a sense of nascent nationalism; an era of happy feeling in the whole of U.S. after winning the war against the British. The Manifest Destiny made the Americans span to the Pacific Ocean down from Atlantic Ocean in territorial expansion. In sum, the war made the U.S. take off independent economic growth, a strong military system, and a widened national territory.

Jacksonian Democracy

Jacksonian democracy is a political policy in the U.S. that brought to rest the monopoly and government dominance due to efforts made by President Andrew Jackson as from 1824-1854. He expanded the number of electorates to include all white adults from the earlier practice where electorates were only landowners. Jacksonian democracy gave more powers to the president and the executive arm rather than the Congress while at the same time, it advocated for citizen participation in government decisions. In addition, he changed mode of assigning judges duty from appointment to election, via various amendments to the constitution. The Jacksonian democracy also seconded the territorial expansion under the Manifest Destiny and strongly downplayed slave trade and encouraged free economy. As a result, America made significant democratic steps in administration of government duties. Economic prospects that resulted from the free economic principles removed trade barriers that created monopoly in American land.

Between 1816 and 1824, Congress raised tariff for imported agriculture products and other products and this affected industries a number of local industries. Tariffs were further increased in the 1828, a matter that ignited protests. The resultant effect was the coining of the theory of nullification to resist the unconstitutional tariff law that the administration imposed through Congress. The nullification sought to find out whether it was right for such an act to be institutionalized and if so, what interest did it serve because common citizens against tariff the increases. Vice President John Calhoun drafted the theory. Olson affirms that the nullification was a war between the supremacy of the federal law and the state laws. The minority interest was safe guarded by the state law exercised via the state sovereignty. The war between the federal law and state law ended in Congress, which gave superiority to federal law in favor of state law in case of conflict.

Transcendentalism and the American Socio-Political Policies

Transcendentalism in essence is a collection of religious, cultural, philosophical, or literary ideas that were first evidenced in New England in the 19th century. These ideas are also referred to as American transcendentalism to distinguish it from the general meaning of transcendental.  Transcendentalism emerged as protest against societal norms whose ideals are conceptualized in the spiritual mind and reflected in individuals’ perception. One of the most remembered transcendentalists are Emerson and Thoreau whose writing influenced human perception of socio-political reforms.

The literary work of Emerson The American Scholar acted as a motivational piece of material that influenced American citizens to work tirelessly and consistently at a time when the American economy weak. According to Felton, American citizens were inspired with a wakeup call by Emerson-Thoreau’s essay and speeches that called for revolution of human consciousness to awake from new idealistic philosophy. Emerson and Thoreau ideals conform to the principles of transcendentalism though they had different real life views of family and social manifestations. The success of these transcendentalists work is evident from the economic rejuvenation resulting from ambitious labor the citizens. It is under the manifestation of transcendentalists ideas that the Manifest Destiny was coined to foresee the terrestrial conquest. It led to expansion of American jurisdiction that constitutes the current United States. In addition, the ideals of Emerson and Thoreau were the foundation of Mental Science that was later changed to New Thought Movement; which regards Emerson as their intellectual father.

Emancipation of Proclamation of the 1863

Abraham Lincoln denied that he would review status of the slaves in America before the start of the Civil War. After war begun, Lincoln gave an assurance that he would restore the Union while on the other hand, he supported slavery that existed in some parts of the country. His stand on was supported through the Crittendo-Johnson resolutions. However, in 1862, Lincoln’s stand, especially on slavery was altered for many reasons. This was because Negro Emancipation as a war strategy had more credentials. In addition, Negro slaves aided the war in the Southern and at the same time, a series of defeats in the Northern had lowered public morale. A morale boost was necessary to give soldiers an encouragement to push on with the war. Lincoln made a number of public speeches to win the public will on their potential strategy of Emancipation. After winning public support, Lincoln finally signed the Emancipation of Proclamation on January 1, 1863. That move immediately meant that slaves would be released to the rebel lines.

The implementation of the Proclamation was subdivided into two parts: September 22, 1863 preliminary, which was an outline of the contents of the second part. The second part was officially signed after 100 days when the Civil War was in its second year. The declaration meant that all slaves would be permanently freed in Confederacy territories that were under federal control before January 1863. The ten affected states by the declaration were Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama. The missing states were Union slave states: Kentucky, Delaware, Missouri, and Maryland. In addition, Tennessee was also left because it was seen as evenly split state between the Union and Confederacy. The Union also resided in the states under Confederacy where the Proclamation and been immediately implemented with the aid of local commanders. These areas included South Carolina, Virginia, Corinth, and Winchester among others.

Impacts of the Emancipation of Proclamation

Guelzo, points out that the there is no single statement that changed the lives of American people like the Emancipation of Proclamation declaration made by Lincoln. Guelzo claims that the declaration has remained a document of conflicting interpretations and held with great suspicion. Emancipation of Proclamation had impacts in the politics of America and the rest of the world. Proclamation had immediate impact as celebrations were noted in Port Royal and Hilton Head in South Carolina, after the Negroes were informed of their recognized status of freedom. Consequently, Lincoln formally recognized the right of the Negro in the army, a measure that led to all-black division under which the 54th Massachusetts was established.  This division that was based on race and as a result, it created tension within the military camps and troops from both the Union and Confederacy attacked black soldiers.

The assistance of the Negroes in the war was average, as they only constituted a 10% of the army. 38,000 soldiers committed to join the war, a feat that marked the transformation for the Union’s revolution that saw the defeat of the older system. In the contrary, the Confederacy was opposed to the Emancipation of Proclamation, as it was a threat to execution of slave military troops. Confederate troops killed Negro soldiers and refused to accept the blacks as soldiers. This standoff increased tension that resulted to fatal incidences.

Emancipation of Proclamation was the turning point from war to the preservation of the Union. The Proclamation showed the divisive nature of the Union and how infuriated the Confederacy was. Most American citizens were seriously concerned by the racial integration whereas Lincoln thought about measures of ensuring that Confederate collapsed. He achieved this aim by withdrawing a number of workers who aided the Confederates. The Emancipation of Proclamation was a step towards narrowing the racial gap and a increasing racial equality in accordance with the demands of most Americans by that time.

Another impact of the Emancipation of Proclamation was the political realignments. The public that was opposed the election of Lincoln and his party in the Congress was now embracing the Emancipation. In the contrary, great pressure mounted from the abolitionist and hardliners who were eagerly waiting for success in the military war. In addition, the Democrats were united in opposing the Proclamation. They claimed that the declaration was anti-constitutional while the Republicans supported the declaration. The growing abolitionist perception among the Republican was a boost to Lincoln’s re-nomination bid in the year 1864.

Democrats’ opposition to the Proclamation made them gain political mileage as they gained 36 seats in the Congress. In addition, the Democrats captured the governorship of two states: New Jersey and New York. In a bid to restore dominance of the Republican Party, Lincoln introduced absent voting to enable soldiers who were preoccupied in the war to vote. As a result, Republican was able to capture five seats in the Senate. Consequently, the Emancipation Proclamation resulted to transition as the preservation that was held against the Union was withdrawn. This resulted to a declaration of total war against the Old South. This infuriated the Confederate while at the same time showed how the Union were divided.

Finally, Emancipation Proclamation had a global impact as the Americans joined the global movement seeking to end slavery that begun way back in the eighteenth century. Industrialized countries formed a consensus holding that slavery had no future in the social and economic fronts. Miller observes that Lincoln was faced with the need to make radical changes that would concur with international ideals of equity and liberty. An end to slavery was unstoppable. The North in America also made the same resolution to end slavery in the antebellum era. To instill this notion, Civil War was the only way of achieving a more direct strategy. Americans had conflicting ideas on the subject of slavery and this standoff was practically resolved with the Emancipation of Proclamation.

The declaration had an international impact in that it led to foreign popular opinion that favored the Union. This was possible as the Emancipation of Proclamation contained a statement that the war had a goal of ending slavery. As a result, the Confederacy loyalty from the United Kingdom faded because the British were against slavery. Before Lincoln made the declaration, the British enjoyed mutual diplomatic ties with the Confederate as they allowed the British to set up a base for warship building: CSS Florida and CSS Alabama. The Union prior to the declaration was not in good terms with the British. Issues escalated from the Trent Affair. To put an end to this cordial relationship between the Great Britain and Confederacy, the Union had to revive their diplomatic ties with the British and the declaration was a positive step towards achieving that goal. The war was now cast in terms of liberation of slaves and end to slavery. The French and British could not now support the Confederacy as this could have been seen as support for slavery, which at the time both France and Great Britain had abolished.  


Postbellum is a term used to refer to a period after a war, a term that is especially used to refer to the American Civil War of 1863. Towards the late stages of the Civil War, abolitionists’ main concern was that the declaration could be construed because it was for the purpose of war only and once peace returned, it would no longer apply. Abolitionists were also concerned with securing freedom of all slaves other than the ones freed by the Lincoln’s declaration. Lincoln further pressed for the inclusion of the Emancipation of Proclamation in the constitution as one of his reelection pledges. He promised to amend the declaration and the amendment would ensure freedom of all slaves within the American territory. His campaign was given a further boost following votes by Missouri and Maryland to abolish slavery. In November 1864, slavery was constitutionally abolished in Maryland. In Missouri slavery ended in January 1865 following executive proclamation by Governor Thomas Fletcher.

Lincoln won his re-election bid and embarked on an ambitious plan of passing the amendment proposal under the 38th Congress because the 39th Congress had not convened. In January 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment that legally banned slavery in the United States was sent to legislatures in various states for ratification. This led to the liberation of slaves in Kentucky and Delaware. Lincoln became one of the celebrated American presidents following the Proclamation’s results. The celebration is marked as black holiday also known as Juneteenth holiday.   The climax of the celebrations was marked in 1913 (15th anniversary) and as the years passed by, lifestyle continued to be frustrating for blacks, cynicism for the Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation notwithstanding. According to Holzer, Medford and Williams, the declaration has to date travelled a bumpy road with criticisms and admiration withdrawn from the public perception. The authors assert that currently the document raises controversy for opposite reasons.


American as a nation developed because of a number of liberation wars that were fought to gain independence. Whereas the 1812 war led to economic empowerment of the United States, Emancipation of Proclamation as declared by Abraham Lincoln was the beginning of the fight for liberation of black people and fight for equal rights and justice. Though the declaration is viewed differently with others opposing it while others support it, it is one of the reason president Abraham Lincoln remains one of the most celebrated president in the United States history.  

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