In considering the development of the USA in the years 1815-1917, how far can the union victory in the civil war be seen as a turning point?
In 1865 America was re-united after the civil war. This was certainly a significant moment for America as the re-unification itself marked an absolute change in American history. For this discussion a ‘turning point’ will be defined as a point at which a very significant change occurs; a decisive moment. To measure whether American development met this criteria, we must consider the main areas of development in this period the primary areas will be the lives of African Americans and Native Americans, westward expansion and immigration, economic developments and foreign affairs.
In the development of the lives of African Americans the union victory did act as a change. In some ways this can be seen as a decisive moment, which would make it sufficient to be described as a turning point. Evidence to support this is that the development of African American lives were improving, as they were creating their own identity, enhancing their religious and cultural believe, therefore the Civil War triumph can be seen as a trigger of freedom for African American, a turning point. In practise African American involvement politically were also progressing, by late 1870’s 64 out of 140 Representatives where Black Americans in the state Mississippi, this proves the union victory assured opportunities and a turning point for former slaves, additionally 13th Amendment was set in 1865, abolishing slavery, which was a support for black Americans freedom. But yet it was a limited turning point as many former slaves still feared to break away and develop their lives. In contrast in the long term meaning this caused in response brutal racial actions from radical racist white American. Their notable response was on going terrorism from the Ku Klux Klan formed in 1865 and Jim Crow laws set in 1876 this was to prevent African Americans development in society. Therefore in actuality the Civil War Victory did not assure drastic change for black Americans in society, it was another form of slavery; a continuation. Nevertheless in some aspects the Civil War can bee seen as a turning point for African Americans as it helped to encourage the American government to place a change for African American in legal terms ‘de jure’. But these legal changes yet again did not provide extreme transformation as it did not change the mentality of racist white Americans.