How Did the Civil War Change Society Essay

Unquestionably, the Civil War was the turning point in the development of American society. In fact, this war regardless its negative short-term effects, produced a significant positive impact on the development of American society at large and American democracy in particular in long-term perspective.

The results of the Civil war were contradictory, on one hand, the North wan and got control over the whole country keeping it united. Furthermore the slavery was abolished and the most important legislative acts were implemented, including the Emancipation proclamation in 1863, which freed slaves. Eventually, it was supported by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865 that abolished slavery in the whole country. In such a way, the basic principles of equality of rights and opportunities for all people living in the US, regardless race, religion, beliefs, and other factors that contributed to discrimination were legally realized. In fact, it was the most substantial legislative changes on the way to legal realization of the main principles of democratic society, including equality and tolerance.

Traditionally, this post-Civil War period is called the Reconstruction, but its consequences are treated by many specialists as highly controversial.

First of all, it concerns former slaves who were freed but they did not really improve their social and economic status. We may say that this freedom was only formal while in real everyday life black Americans were permanently discriminated and deprived, and certainly they were not equal to white Americans though we cannot deny some positive aspects of the Reconstruction such as the creation of free of charge public school for black and white Americans. Furthermore, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution formally provided equality for all citizens of the USA, while the 15th Amendment provided all people for the vote right, regardless their race. But, in my opinion, the laws did not work effectively enough and real position of former slaves had hardly changed. Economically, the Reconstruction period was marked by attempts to support southern states, which suffered the most from the Civil war, through tax regulation and financial help from North.

However, this period was also marked by an extremely high level of corruption. So, it is hardly possible to definitely say that it failed because their were some positive aspects but it was not very effective because of the corruption, moral and cultural norms that contributed to the development of racism both in North and particularly South, finally it is impossible to change the whole country in a decade. Anyway, in actuality, the Reconstruction and all the changes that took places within American society were a step forward in the direction of a new, more democratic, free and equal society.

Thus, it is possible to conclude that the Civil War had changed American society dramatically and created the basis for the further development of democratic principles of equality of rights and opportunities of all citizens of the country. However, such a transformation, naturally, needed time and could not occur in one day. This is why stereotypes and prejudices had existed for quite a long time and discrimination, being legally banned, had remained a part of American reality for decades until the second half of the 20th century. Nonetheless, the dramatic change of American society was irrevocable and symbolized the shift from oppressive society, where exploitation and discrimination of ethnic minorities used to be a norm of social life, to really democratic one.

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