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What role did the Battle of Gettysburg play in the victory of the North in the American Civil War

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Introduction

What role did the Battle of Gettysburg play in the victory of the North in the American Civil War? The events of July 1st-3rd 1863 otherwise known as the Battle of Gettysburg played a significant role in the eventual victory of the twenty-three state Union over the eleven state Confederacy. The battle 'will always be remembered as the turning point of the Civil War'1 and foreshadowed General Robert E. Lee's eventual surrender at Appomattox Court House, April 9th 1865. The A3 class handout comments,2 The Southern defeat at Gettysburg, coupled with the loss of Vicksburg on July 4, marked a turning point in the Civil War. Never again did the Confederacy possess the power sufficient either to invade the North in force or to impose peace through victory on the battlefield. Firstly the Pennsylvania blood-bath led to large Confederate military casualties, in essence a great portion of the Confederate forces were eliminated on the fields of Gettysburg. While, in contrast the Union suffered mildly from the attack. The South was reduced to instituting defensive ploys rather than launching an attack on the North, as was intended by taking Harrisburg and Baltimore through victory at Gettysburg. ...read more.

Middle

During the war, General Lee's forces were focused advancing into Northern territories rather than taking over the North. The invasion of Harrisburg or Baltimore was then vital to Southern interests. James Anderson comments, A great victory on Northern soil might also lead to European mediation in the struggle. From the beginnings of the war, the South relied heavily on foreign intervention with the belief that European nations needed their cotton for their textile industries. A Southern perception arose these European investors may if necessary, fight the North to get their cotton. This proved to be false, as England and France found other sources of supply for cotton and profited from trade as a neutral. Rather than France and England being dependant on the Confederacy, the South itself became isolated. Despite this and a passive intention from England to avoid war with the United States, several commerce destroyers were built in England for the Confederacy. However, England remained neutral to an extent while sympathizing with the North's moral stance to fight slavery and cheap labour. While there were apparent discrepancies between allegiances, what remains clear is the South's defeat at Gettysburg proved costly in gaining important European aid. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the North's defeat of the South at the Battle of Gettysburg was significant in the final defeat of the Confederacy to end the American Civil War. The 'battle in Pennsylvania was a turning point in the Civil War of the United States,'9 as it emphasised the vast difference in resources between the sides, lead to the withdrawal of any foreign intervention, uncovered the questionable leadership qualities of General Lee and paved the way for further important Union victories. The bloodiest battle on American soil proved to be the 'turning point' and 'beginning of the end' for the American Civil War. The battle would maintain a unified America and stable political centre, Abraham Lincoln comments at an address delivered at the cemetery at Gettysburg, These dead shall have not died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom- and that government of the people, by the people, shall not perish from the earth. 1 Russell Heywood, A Summary of the Battle of Gettysburg 2 A3 Class Handout 3 William H. Seward 4 A3 Class Handout 5 'Gettysburg' Battle Outlines & Maps, Source Book 6 Russell Heywood, A Summary of the Battle of Gettysburg 7 Russell Heywood, A Summary of the Battle of Gettysburg 8 A3 Class Handout 9 Russell Heywood, A Summary of the Battle of Gettysburg ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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