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Jeffrey Sprung Blog Post 9/28

Zinn’s chapter, Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom and the video The American Civil War Video Part 1, provided me with a much broader understanding of the American Civil War. Both the chapter and the video presented a more well-rounded, truthful depiction of the Civil War era, which reminded me that history within the United States is often taught with many biases and false narratives. The Civil War is one of my favorite periods within the history of the United States as I am fascinated by the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. It was very interesting to learn about Lincoln’s initial wariness in outright opposing slavery at the beginning of The Civil War to his ultimate decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation towards the end of the Civil War. Originally, Lincoln was cautious about outright opposing slavery as he was aware of the crucial role that slaves played in the operation of South’s plantation-based economy. Lincoln tried to appease the South by making it clear that his goal was to preserve the Union and not free the South’s slaves. However, as the Civil War progressed, Lincoln’s intentions of the Civil War shifted to abolish slavery and completely form a new Union. 

Before reading Zinn’s chapter and watching OverSimplified’s video, I was entirely unaware of many events that occurred during the Civil War. For example, I had no idea of the large role that slaves played in the Union army after Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation. I was surprised to learn that two hundred thousand blacks were enlisted in either the Union army or navy and that 38,000 blacks were killed. Zinn mentions that, “Without [slaves] help, the North could not have won the war as soon as [they] did, and perhaps could not have won it at all” (194). Furthermore, I was frustrated to learn of the wage gap and mistreatment of blacks within the Union army. Even though black soldiers performed the most grueling work during the war, such as digging trenches and loading ammunition, they only received $10 a month, while white soldiers received $13 a month.

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One Comment

  1. Mohamad Kassem Mohamad Kassem

    I agree that American history is taught with false narratives and often in a biased way. For example, it was really interesting to see that Lincoln’s actual intentions to abolish slavery were because it benefited the economy and not because of his moral values while in the video it is shown in a different more biased way picturing him as a moral president. I was also unaware of the role black people played in the army and that it was due to the help of the slaves that the North has won the war.

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