Sunday, February 9, 2020

American Civil War Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 words

American Civil War - Essay Example These polarized objectives constructed the value system of the two Generals and their respective armies. More so, they shaped the history of America; and gave a blueprint of its future - the American life. On April 9, 1865, when Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, the Civil War came to the edge of end. It was a moment in history when a nation was going to be born sans slavery, sans right of succession, and abiding everything 'freedom' and 'equality' meant in essence. However, the constant collision of ideologies that had preceded this conclusion for about five years of Civil War (1861-65) is an interesting phenomenon to observe. Lee came from Virginia, and family-values, culture, traditions, chivalry, knighthood, were the elements around which his people and his life revolved and evolved. That stratification was a convenient and apt way to construct the social order - he firmly believed in. That 'land' is the primary and only source of wealth and influence - was the motivation behind all his actions. That the privileged who owned the land shoulder responsibility towards the rest of the community as well as possesses the power to monitor the actions and occupations of the community - he upheld it. Slavery and right to succession were corollaries to the beliefs of the 'land lord'. And the belief in 'landed nobility', was the guiding factor for thousands of elite men from the Southern states who plunged into war, willing to die, willing to sacrifice their everything for the cause that Lee believed in. However, the day Lee surrendered at Appomattox, it was the culmination of 'landed nobility' and the cause was lost. (Catton, pp. 17-44) On the other hand, Grant, who came from the Western front, was the son of a tanner. His background signified everything he was, and believed in - in living life the tough way, in self-reliance, in forgoing past, and in focus on future. He turned down the social order based on privileges that ran down the traditions and land-ownership. He stood for democracy, equality, and competition. If privileges meant anything to him - those were the privileges that a man earned by virtue of his competitiveness. However, along with these beliefs, ran a strong sense of nationalism. He believed in living and working in a country where nation supported the individual and individuals supported the nation - prosperity of both being complementary to each other. To Grant and his people (the Westerners), 'community' meant the whole of United States of America as against the Southerners, to whom 'community' meant only their region. This is the striking line that sets apart General Lee and General Grant and their respective people. (Catton, pp. 47-59) Lee and Grant: Two Similar Leaders Though Lee and Grant were as different as two men could ever be, yet the aspiration that ran beneath everything that they did made them strikingly similar to each other - it was the aspiration to lead their people towards a future they believed in. The two leaders were no better fighters than each other - none gave up in the face of adversity. While in spite of his army's and his personal handicaps Grant fought his way down the Mississippi valley, Lee hung on in a trench at Petersburg even when defeat stared him in his face. They both moved with resourcefulness and speed. Due to this, Lee won at Second Manassas and

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