The book by McPherson describes the civil war in the United States that is also believed to be the second American Revolution that occurred under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. According to the book, the civil war was motivated by the slaves who wished to gain their freedom. The northern part of America did not support slavery while the southern part was characterized by ownership of slaves. The slaves worked in the land of the white people, and they were paid poorly.
The civil war led to the destruction of property, and many whites died in the southern region. By the time the war came to an end, the African slaves were freed and would then provide their labor for better terms. The author argues that the revolution did not end just after the slaves gained freedom, but there were moves to distribute the land previously owned by the whites to the slaves. The Abraham Lincoln government distributed government land to slaves where they settled and started their agricultural activities.
The ownership of land helped improve the status of the African American slaves at the period. The fact that they produced their own output meant that their GDP was improving. On the other hand, the GDP for the whites who had lost their slaves was declining. The African American population started to increase while that of the whites declined. It is obvious that the whites already had greater GDP and were living better lives than black Americans, but it is obvious that the freed slaves were now living better lives.
According to the book, there were other authors who emerged in the 1950s and 1960s and refuted the argument that there was no second revolution in America, but a civil war had occurred and was disastrous to the economy. This group of people proposed the idea that the war should be treated like any other civil war and not a revolution. This group argued that the war led to the death of many people as well as loss of property. They also argued that the inventions in agriculture had already been achieved even before the war and the later plans by the government to improve infrastructure and develop industries leading to industrial revolution would have happened even in the absence of the civil war.
The author argues that it is true that industrial revolution would have happened even in the absence of the civil war, but the war hastened the achievement of the revolution. In addition, US would not have been a democratic capitalist it became because it would be ignoring the fundamental of democracy which includes equality of all individuals and the freedom of all citizens. It is after the revolution that these were achieved.
The civil war is described to be a revolution because it brought great changes in the various sectors of US, including social changes, economic and political. First, Republicans were supporting the freedom of the salves and after the revolution, new laws were passed to allow the black Americans to vote. When this happened, more Africans were elected in various posts in Congress, and this facilitated the political changes in the US. As the black Americans were empowered through ownership of land and the fact that they engaged in farming activities, many of them acquired formal education. Civil rights movements emerged, and more rights for black Americans were achieved. The blacks occupied various government positions and even worked in the private sector.
The greatest changes were the political changes that were witnessed. Apart from the increase in the number of African Americans in the Congress, it should be noted that the other parties never ruled for a decade from the time the civil war started.
The then president is described in various ways by the author. Abraham Lincoln supported bringing to an end the slavery in the southern states by all means. Through the use of presidential powers as well as military decisions, the president was able to supervise the bringing to an end the slavery in the southern states and the class system that existed before where the whites were the wealthy while the black Americans suffered in poverty.
It should be realized that after the civil war, there were great developments in terms if railway and other forms of infrastructure which hastened the industrial revolution. The free farmers supplied the raw materials that were needed in the industries. It means that the civil war in a great way facilitated the revolution under the leadership of a radical president.
The book leaves readers confused because of the argument that the Republicans led the revolution especially the civil war. This is because the president supported the war by all means regardless of whether he was not a Republican. There are chances that many unionists at the time were also in favor of the civil war that liberated the black Americans from slavery.
McPherson, James M. Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution. New York: Oxford UP, 1990. Print.
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