Advantages and disadvantages of the civil war
The American civil war (1861 – 1865) is considered as the bloodiest internal battle ever fought in the United States. Simply put, it was as a result of significant differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. At the time, slavery was mainly concentrated in the southern states whereby they were used them as farm hands and hence formed the nerve center of the predominantly agricultural economy. The northern states were mainly industrial, and many citizens here viewed slavery as immoral and inhuman. The Southern states felt threatened that slavery was soon to be abolished. Eventually, they were convinced that the common government would attempt to abolish slavery nationally. This led to a total of eleven southern states seceding from the Union and forming their own parallel Confederate States of America to protect their support of the institution of slavery. Consequently, this led the Northern United States of America led by the then President Abraham Lincoln, to initiate a war that ravaged the country for four years. The president was firm to ensure the country was united and obviously refused to recognize the southern states as an independent nation. It is critical to note that the African Americans also came forward voluntarily in support of the cause of the Union. This was as a result of the issuance of the emancipation proclamation. These events and uncompromising differing views set the table for a war that left a major impact on the American History forever.
With that in mind, we will now delve into the advantages and disadvantages brought about by the war.
Political and social advantages
The main one here being slavery abolishment after the constitution was amended. This was done after the inclusion of the 13th amendment to the constitution. Furthermore, other amendments were added including the 14th amendment that guaranteed every citizen would receive equal protection under the law, this prompted women rights gaining momentum and some recognition and finally the 15th amendment that granted all males voting rights regardless of color.
Many consider and know that medical care at the time had a barbaric reputation but the Civil War set the stage for the advancement of modern medicine. During a war, casualties and fatalities are expected. Certain techniques deployed to aid the wounded soldiers, led to progress in pain management to those who were injured or had contracted diseases. Doctors developed new ways to treat nerve injuries and chronic pain, initiating the start of contemporary neurology. It is also this period that the ambulance system was conceived as it was a means to ferry injured soldiers from the battlefield to hospitals. Injuries that resulted to amputations at that time now lead to X-rays, bone setting and a four to five-week recovery period. Finally safer surgical techniques were birthed during this war as initially the surgeons never washed their hands which led to many contracting infections due to the unhygienic tools of surgery.
Advancement in war artillery and tactics
Frankly, both the secessionists and the Union were developed regarding weaponry and soldiers. It would be unfair not to credit that some tactics contributed to the progress of modern warfare. Though some equipment was not fully refined, they later would be used in later years and conflicts. Such advancements include the use of submarines, soldier ID tags, the use of landmines, trench warfare, repeating rifles, and iron-clad ships just to mention but a few.
Last but not least, without going into much detail, systems to honor war veterans and first cemeteries are also other advantages that were brought about by the civil war.
On the flipside, the American Civil War also had a myriad of disadvantages.
Loss of lives
Number one on the list is the loss of countless lives due to injuries, starvation, and diseases. A total of more than 620,000 men died in the war. That’s an entire generation wiped out.
Destruction of property
Destruction and loss of property also occurred heavily. The south was left bankrupt as most bank halls were bombed or ransacked. Most of the roads, livestock, farms and factories were left in catastrophic disarray and destruction.
Environmental destruction also occurred as most soldiers camped in the forests. They cut down trees for fire and also being a human camp, shady and unhygienic pit latrines were constructed. Guns and explosives used left a chemical imprint in the environment leading to low yields of farm produce.
Spread of diseases
This led to spread of diseases e.g. dysentery and diarrhea.