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The effect of black soldiers in the Civil War

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  1. Introduction.
    1. The treatment of African-Americans as second-class citizens.
    2. The Civil War and the second war of independence.
  2. Organizations such as the Hannibal Guards.
    1. Utilizing all of the anxious human capital available.
    2. The 1st South Carolina Regiment.
    3. Able-bodied blacks increasingly anxious to fight.
  3. Black army.
    1. Black soldiers that died in battle or from illness.
    2. The shortage of white officers willing to do the job.
    3. 10 percent of the Union forces: blacks.
    4. Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
    5. The issue of black recruitment and the rifts within the Union army.
    6. Undermining the Confederate war effort.
    7. Formation of the Native Guards.
    8. The massacre of black troops at Fort Pillow.
  4. Conclusion.

Throughout the history of the United States, Africans and African-Americans have consistently been treated as second-class citizens. This prejudice is most apparent and appalling in the system of slavery that lasted for more than two hundred years in the United States. In the 1800's tensions over the issue of slavery divided the country into Free states and slave states. The Compromise of 1850 caused more tensions to boil, especially when Congress passed a tougher Fugitive Slave Law, to reduce the number of slaves escaping to the North, which many Northerners refused to follow. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, which allowed there to be slave states north of the 36 30' parallel through popular sovereignty (Nevins, 32). This caused people from all over to move to Kansas to fight to decide whether it would be a slave state or not. In 1859, the radical abolitionist John Brown attempted to start a massive slave rebellion in Virginia, but failed and was hung, which caused more of a rift between abolitionists and Southerners. In 1960 Abraham Lincoln, whom the South viewed as an abolitionist, is elected, and subsequently, South Carolina secedes from the Union (Nevins, 47).

[...] Battles at Fort Hudson, Milliken's Bend, Honey Springs, Fort Wagner, and Petersburg in 1863 and 1864 all proved that the implementation of black troops was a smart and effective move. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a captain of the 51st Massachusetts Volunteers, expressed his surprise when he witnessed the capacity of black soldiers: do not as yet see the slightest obstacle, in the nature of the blacks, to making them good soldiers, but rather the contrary. They take readily to drill, and do not object to discipline; they are not especially dull or inattentive; they seem fully to understand the importance of the contest, and of their share in (Higginson, Dec 1862). [...]


[...] A mother of a black soldier in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment wrote President Lincoln to take proper care of soldiers like her son: son fought at Fort Wagoner but thank God he was not taken prisoner, as many were. I thought of this thing before I let my boy go but then they said Mr. Lincoln will never let them sell our colored soldiers for slaves . It must not be so. You must put the rebels to work in State prisons to making shoes and things, if they sell our colored soldiers, till they let them go Will you see that the colored men fighting now are fairly treated. [...]


[...] Forged in Battle, the Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press Greenberg, Martin H. and Waugh, Charles G., ed. The Price of Freedom: Slavery and the Civil War, Volume I. Nashville, Cumberland House Publishing: 2000. Higginson, Thomas W. Army Life in a Black Regiment. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press Lambert, Robert G. ?Ulysses S. Grant and the Black Soldier.? USA Today. March 1990: 91. Lincoln, Abraham. ?Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Richard T. [...]

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