The Civil War was one of the critical events in the history of the USA. First of all, it helped to resolve the conflicts within the state and preconditioned its further course of evolution. However, another important aspect of this military opposition is the demonstration of tensions between the representatives of various population groups in the USA. By that time of the Civil War, black people constituted a significant part of the total population, and they played an active role in it. However, although African Americans made an essential contribution, they had to face discrimination, racism, and biased attitude. However, their participation is an essential event in the history of the USA.
The Civil War was a military conflict in the USA from 1861 to 1865 between northern and southern states. The central reason for the clash was the view on slavery and the attitude to these people, their rights, and further destiny (Gallagher and Waugh 56). The initial seven slave states were not ready to accept the abolishment of this institution as their industry depended on it. However, as far as most slaves were black people, African-Americans became one of the parties with their interests (Gallagher and Waugh 56). In such a way, their participation was not only the question of necessity but also their conscious choice to improve their position and struggle for freedom needed for them.
At the beginning of the war, African Americans were not able to fight in the army. The Federal Law of 1792 prohibited them from joining troops and bearing arms (“Black Soldiers in the U.S. Military During the Civil War”). However, realizing opportunities and the number of volunteers, the government altered the given regulation, and by the end of the Civil War, about 179,000 black men joined the Union Army (“Black Soldiers in the U.S. Military During the Civil War”). It became substantial support for the Northern States in their struggle against their southern opponents. The statistics also show that about 40,000 African Americans died during the war, with 30,000 from diseases (“Black Soldiers in the U.S. Military During the Civil War”). This broad participation increased the relevance of emancipation issues and the need for change in the attitude to this cohort.
Unfortunately, although thousands of black men joined the troops, racial prejudices and discrimination remained strong. The command did not use African Americans in the same way as white people, with worse conditions and insufficient supply (Gallagher and Waugh 58). They served in segregated units headed by white officers (Gallagher and Waugh 56). Moreover, their salaries were lower compared to other soldiers representing different racial groups (Gallagher and Waugh 87). Even under these conditions, black soldiers managed to earn glory, 16 of them got Medal of Honor, while many others participated in serious military operations (Gallagher and Waugh 111). It demonstrated the importance of this population group and its ability to affect the policy of the state.
Altogether, the Civil War became a critical event in the history of the USA. The clash between states ended with the victory of the Northern ones and a new course presupposing the abolishment of slavery. Black men took part in this military conflict, with about 179,000 of them joining the Northern Army and fighting for freedom. Their participation demonstrated the impossibility of further disregard and the need for change. Even under pressure from racial stereotypes, black soldiers managed to do their best and help the Union Army to win in the Civil War, which changed the course of history.
“Black Soldiers in the U.S. Military During the Civil War.” National Archives, 2017.
Gallagher, Gary, and Joan Waugh. The American War: A History of the Civil War Era. Flip Learning, 2016.