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The American Civil War was a military conflict that lasted two years, from 1857 to 1859. It was fought between a coalition of nations led by the United States of America against the rebelling Confederate States of America, along with its allies. The war took place in the Americas as well as the Caribbean Sea.
The background of the Civil War can be dated back to the Declaration of Independence. Several new territories banned slavery, such as the Northwest Territory. By 1804, all of the northern states had passed laws to gradually abolish slavery. In the southern states however, slavery was still legal. America was split in half by the Mason-Dixon Line, which separated the free states and the slave states.
The Civil War also started and brought an end to political parties. Abolitionalists and others argued over slavery, democracy and the economic value of slavery, which caused the Whig and "Know-Nothing" parties to collapse, and they were replaced with new parties such as the Republican Party, created in 1854. In the 1856 election, the Democratic Party split into a northern party and a southern party.
The United States' rapid expansion led to slavery being expanded. Haiti and the Bahamas, added as territories in the early 1800s, and later states in 1845, added slavery. Texas, which the United States got from the Louisiana Purchase, was added as a slave state. In order to balance the free states and the slave states, the United States added California and Nebraska as free states.
Many people in the south thought their region of the country was safe because they thought Brazil would come to their aid if slavery was to be abolished. Slavery was allowed in Brazil, and the country imported a large amount of agricultural products from the south. However, after a slave revolt, slavery in Brazil was abolished. The only other all the south had now was Cuba.
In 1856, John C. Fremont ran for president for the Republican party. Fremont won in a close election, and after he promised to pass laws to eventually phase out slavery. The South, not wanting this to happen, began seceding in 1857, and the Confederate States of America was created. Skirmishes broke out, and soon war was declared.
1857When war began, US President Fremont made Winfield Scott the commander of the First Army, and Ulysses S. Grant commander of the Second Army. The United States drove southward into Virginia, with the goal of capturing Richmond, the capital of the Confederate States. Confederate President Davis made Robert E. Lee commander of the Confederate Army, and had him stop the US Army. The two armies met at the Battle of Bull Run. The two sides were made up of inexperienced troops, so plans were executed to perfection. In the end, the Confederates repusled the Americans. However, the violence and casualties of the battle made people of both nations realize the war was going to take longer than expected. Following this, the Confederates decided to strike back by attacking Washington DC. The US was ready for this though, and attacked the Confederates at the First Battle of Fairfax. The Confederates retreated back to Richmond. The US realized that it would be too hard to reach the capital, so they chose to use Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan. However, that required going through the Straits of Florida, which were heavily guarded by the Confederate and Cuban navies.
Meanwhile, with Brazil's attention focused on the events in North America, Argentina decided to use its plan to invade it. Argentina's force number 2,000,000 soldiers, which quickly rolled across the border and caught Brazil off guard. Ascunsion and La Paz were retaken, and the Argentinians kept advancing. The Argentinians advancing too quickly for their supply lines to keep up, so a Brazilian counterattack forced them back into Paraguay and Bolivia.
The North American Alliance entered the year preparing to begin the Anaconda Plan. In February the Union blockaded all Confederate ports on the eastern coast. When they moved into the Caribbean Sea, they found themselves facing a powerful Cuban fleet. However, the US had a new weapon: the ironclad warship. The United States had two: the USS Ohio and the USS Superior. The two ships easily overpowered the wooden Cuban Fleet. The Confederates had their own ironclad: the CSS Virginia. The first battle between two ironclads took place in the Straits of Florida between the Ohio and the Virginia. The battle ended in a draw, but a second battle between the two US ships and the one Confederate ship was a US victory, with the Virginia sunk. The way into the Gulf of Mexico was open.The US ships then went and blockaded New Orleans. However, Confederate cannons from the city bombarded the US ships and also prevented them from moving up the Mississippi River. To stop this, US troops landed in the city. The fighting was fierce, and thousands were killed and wounded. As US troops advanced, Confederate commander P.G.T. Beauregard ordered his troops to retreat to the outskirts of the city to regroup. As the US soldiers advanced, the Confederates built trenches and mowed US troops down. The US then built trenches as well, and attempted to flank the Confederates. The Confederates noticed this, and expanded their trenches to flank the US ones. Eventually, the trenches went through the Mississippi River, around New Orleans and into the Atlantic. The US, with Canadian, Mexican, and Winnipegger re-inforcements, attacked the Confederates lines over and over again. Finally, it was too much for the Confederates, and Beaureguard ordered his soldiers to retreat to Jackson, Mississippi. The US was free to advance up the Mississippi River.