The American Civil War happened from 1861 to 1865. The main cause was Southern states feeling that the U.S. federal government in Washington D.C. should not have the power to tell them what to do. This was especially true about two issues, taxes and slavery. The Southern economy was based on agriculture while the Northern economy was based on manufacturing. Southern crops like cotton were sold to factories and then Southerners had to pay taxes on the finished goods sold back to them like clothing. Many Southerners felt this was unfair. Additionally the agricultural economy in the south was reliant on the labor of enslaved Africans and their descendants. Many people, especially from the North, felt this was wrong and that slavery needed to be abolished. Southerners felt the abolitionists were threatening their way of life. Seven Southern slave states, banded together, declared their secession and formed the Confederate States of America. The government in Washington D.C. and its army was known as the Union, since they were fighting to keep the country united.
Abraham Lincoln was president of the United States during the Civil War. The President of the Confederate States was Jefferson Davis. The first battle was the Battle of Fort Sumter. During the war President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the freedom of slaves in the Confederate States of America. This action was supposed to show that Lincoln was still in charge of the entire United States.
The Civil War was the bloodiest war fought inside the United States. 620,000 were killed and millions more were injured. One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. 51,000 people from both sides died, more than in any other battle. The Civil War ended in 1865 when General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army surrendered.