• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent did the African-American effort contribute to the victory of the northerners in the American Civil War?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent did the African-American effort contribute to the victory of the northerners in the American Civil War? The American civil war was intended to be a brief encounter between the confederates and the union, such hope was dashed as this war stretch for four years. Between 1861 and 1865 many lives were lost during the American civil war. Despite this loss, the civil war brought slavery to an end and 'dealt a severe blow to states' right'. The African Americans were able to prove themselves in the American civil war of 1861. Their contribution is seen to have aided the north in its victory against the south. However historians debate that other factors contributed to the success of the union during these years. In order to examine to what extent the African Americans' war effort contributed to northern victory, it is therefore important for me to view the other factors and the historiography concerning these issues. Initially the idea of integrating black soldiers into the U.S. army was a notion hated by most northerners. They believed it was 'a white man's war' and therefore the blacks shouldn't get involved. There was a popular belief by the northerners that blacks (as know as Negroes) ...read more.

Middle

This instilled courage and hope in the black soldiers to fight, a certain advantage for the union. What made their effort worthwhile was the great risk involved in entering the war especially as a black soldier. The south was furious at the Emancipation Proclamation and therefore was determined on executing any captured black soldier. The idea that they might face horrific maltreatment by their captors was feared by all black soldiers. This would have been an encouragement to the black to fight to the death rather than surrender. However some could argue that not all black soldiers died heroically or on the battlefield; but that only 3,000 died in combat, 30,000 died from illness (due to lack of proper medical facilities) and the fate of 4,000 were uncertain. The African American soldiers didn't truly go into crucial battles until 1863. Nevertheless there seems little doubt that the flood of black troops had a positive effect on the union war effort during crucial times when the white Americans were increasingly reluctant to fight in the American civil war. By the end of the war, blacks were a major part of the union army. Not all African Americans fought in the war for instance, runaway slaves often provided useful information about the opposition during the time of the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

This became a key turning point for black Americans. Although the raising of black troops was unpopular at the start, opinions began to change as the black troops proved themselves in battles. A private of the 89th Illinois wrote after the battle of Nashville 'I have he[a]rd men say that they would not fight beside a Negro soldier but... whites and blacks charged together and fell as well as we did...' this source suggest the change of attitude towards the use of black troops in combat. It gives a positive feedback of their contributions to the war. The confederacy also commenced integrating blacks into their army in later stages of the war as they faced defeat in the American civil war. The General Order 14 signed by President Jefferson Davis on March 13 1865 saw the use of African American soldiers for the first time in the confederacy. This does suggest the mere importance of the use of blacks in the war. If they felt there was a chance of victory with the help of the blacks, perhaps this pushed them to issue the order. This clearly supports Eric Foner's point that the African American soldiers did play a crucial role. Even Lincoln's speech suggests the crucial importance as he proclaimed in September 1862 that 'if I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it...' ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Why did the South lose the American Civil War?

    leader of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis as a far weaker leader than Abraham Lincoln. The historian David Potter saw Davis's leadership as the most important reason why the South lost, and if Lincoln was leading the Confederacy they may well have won.

  2. "The main cause of the American civil war was undeniably slavery". Assess the ...

    Although it is also fair to say that whilst these contributed to sectionalism the southern states would not have seceded to these conditions alone. From the Louisiana Purchase to the beginning of the Civil War, politics was the key to every event.

  1. The American Revolution

    One soldier was clubbed and another was knocked down prompting the remaining soldiers to open fire upon the crowd, killing or wounding at least eleven "innocent" civilians, including the leader of the mob, Crispus Attucks. Word quickly spread of the skirmish which was coined the Boston Massacre and soon many Colonists were calling for blood.

  2. Only Yesterday by Frederick Lewis Allen - review

    Again, these are the rewards you gain from writing such a book so prematurely. Now that the reader has an idea of what the general mood was shortly before the pre-war decade began, Allen began the wonderful story that is the 1920s.

  1. To what extent was the Civil War the main factor in the Bolshevik

    have weakened this argument as they were included like the war against the greens which leads me to the impression that this source is not very credible. And they would be cautious on what sort of signal they would have emitted to the rest of the world as the communist soviet government was still in power in during the time.

  2. The great Patriotic war - From incompetence to victory.

    Russia saw many problems to their existence, but the main two were the leading capitalists of the time - Great Britain, and the rise of a fascist Germany that was being appeased by the west. This appeasement began in 1935; Germany introduced conscription and announced the creation of the Luftwaffe, both in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

  1. American Civil War (1861-1865).

    This section of Virginia was admitted into the Union as the state of West Virginia on June 20th. Despite their admittance of slavery, in June, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri decided not to join the confederacy. Although divided in their loyalties, a combination of political manoeuvring and Union military pressure kept these states from seceding.

  2. Introduction to American drama.

    The importance of these groups was that they produced the plays of European dramatists, including Ibsen and Chekhov, and that they nurtured American playwrights, giving them the opportunity to write without the commercial pressures of Broadway. 'Broadway' is a generic term generally used to denote mainstream, New York commercial theatre.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work