When you hear the term “America”, many different ideas come to mind. Some of these ideas include loyalty, patriotism, equality, and freedom. It took hundreds of years for America to be known for these ideals. When America was first undergoing settlement, it was introduced to many different people from all across Europe. These settlers from Europe came to America for many different reasons such as religious, economic, and political. Around the time America began to thrive and the people began to prosper, conflicts arose. One of these major conflicts faced involved the people of the north and the people of the south. This conflict arose due to the differences in their views on the issue of slavery. The southern states felt that slavery was a necessity for the economic success of the people of the south and many people in the north felt that slavery was inhumane and that it had to be stopped. As time went on, America became divided into northern free states and the southern slave states. This conflict soon led a one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the world: the American Civil War. For a long time now there has been the question of when the settlers of North America actually became true Americans. It took a long time for the settlers of North America to become true American peoples. Some feel that when the declaration of independence was created that that was the moment that the people of British North America became Americans. However, the time that these settlers actually became “True Americans” was right around the time of the post-civil war era.
The differences in views between the north and the south went on for a long time before the American Civil War took place. There were attempts to solve these differences and for the moment they seemed to alleviate the tension between the two groups however it did not last. During the early 1800’s, the land that makes up America at this time will greatly expand due to the Manifest Destiny; which was a policy of imperialistic expansion that was proposed during the earlier 19th century. This period of expansion will bring on more tension between the north and the south. There was a series of compromises during this time period that were made in order to meet the needs of both the people of the south and the people of the north. One of these compromises was know as the Missouri Compromise (1820), that made the new state of Missouri a slave state as long as the north would receive a free state as well in order to equal the balance between slaves states and free states. This compromise led to the institution of the state of Maine as a new American statehood. Another of these compromises that was made was know as the Compromise of 1850 which made the state of California a free state. Another benefit for the north off of this compromise was the proposal that Washington D.C. would no longer be able to hold auctions in order to sell or purchase slaves within its’ boundary lines; however, it was legal to own slaves there. The south benefited by allowing it so that when the Utah and New Mexico territories became states, the people would vote on whether it would become a slave state or a free state. This procedure was known as popular sovereignty. The south would also get the introduction of the Fugitive Slave Law which gave slave owners the right to go into the north to recapture any escaped slaves and the government would have to do everything in their power to assist them. The south felt that they had benefited from this compromise because they felt that the introduction of the Fugitive Slave Law would guarantee the existence of slavery so that they would not have to fear for the abolishment of slavery. The Final compromise that was established was known as the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854). This compromise made the understanding that the people would decide whether the areas of Kansas and Nebraska would be slave states or free states. However, with this understand came a secret agreement between the high officials of the north and the south that Kansas would become a slave state and Nebraska would become a free state. This agreement led to a great migration to these areas by people of the north and people of the south as well. The result of this was a minute civil war known as “Bleeding Kansas.” All of these compromises alleviated the tension between the two groups but that was only for a short time.
These three agreements that were made between the north and the south was what sparked the beginning of the American Civil War. It was shortly after this that the south felt that they had been dealt the short end of the deal. Although both the people from the north and the people from the south were seen as Americans, it was the people of the North that were really the “True Americans.” People of the north had the true American view when it comes to the idea of slavery. It was only in the eyes of a true American that they would see that slavery was inhumane and that all people should be treated on the same level. The slaves on these southern plantations were treated so harsh and poorly that it was as though they were animals. One woman that felt it was her duty to expose the ways in which the slaves were treated on these southern plantations was Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe was a white woman from the north that agreed that slavery was inhumane. Stowe exposed the treatment of slaves by writing a book called, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” which gave a fictional account of life as a slave. Although she had never witnessed first hand the treatment of slaves she did interview former slaves who gave an accurate depiction of life as a slave. This book was one of the most influential pieces of literature of its’ time. It was banned in the south and also managed to outsell the Bible for that year. It was so widespread that there would be one copy of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” for every four houses in the north. The publishing of the book caused many people to get more involved in the movement to put an end to slavery. The “True Americans” of the north shared the idea that the African-Americans should not be treated in such a harsh manner. Only a “True American” could see this and the people of the south were blind to this fact.
Both the people of north and the south felt that their motivations for fighting in the American Civil War were derived from the ideals that were presented during the American Revolution. The south wanted to create a government that would be weak enough that it could not trample the rights of its’ citizens. What they actually wanted was to be able to continue on treating the African-American slaves as a piece of capital with in their business. They could not face the fact that slavery was coming to an end and the north had the advantage in the war. The north was so powerful over the south because the north had about six times as many factories that could be utilized for producing materials that would be needed for the war. One major asset for any war is production. If you do not have the means for production then you do not have the means for a victory. Another way in which the north had the advantage in the war was the size of their population. The north had a population that was five times greater then what the south had. The only thing that kept the south from getting destroyed during this war was the fact that the military leaders in the south were much more advanced then those in the north. One of the greatest military strategies that was in the south’s favor was that they would fight with an aggressive defense and that they would take the offensive attack whenever it was seen necessary. Some examples of battles that would be seen as offensive battle fought by the south would be the battle of Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862) and the battle of Gettysburg (Sept. 1, 1868). The south was going into a war that they had no chance of winning. Their military abilities is what kept them in the war for as long as they were.
It was not until the abolishment of slavery that the people of America could truly be called “True Americans.” You are not a true American if you feel that slavery is a viable way to treat another human being. They south felt this way and they felt so strongly about it that they went to battle with the north even though they were greatly out numbered. The compromises that were made between the north and the south managed to keep the peace between the two for a short time but it was actually what triggered the start of the American Civil War. After the war was finally put to an end in 1865 when Robert E. Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Court House, we begin to see all the people of America taking on the role of “True Americans”, not just the people of the North.