preview

The Battle of Gettysburg as the Turning Point of the Civil War

Good Essays
Gettysburg was the turning point of the American Civil War. This is the most famous and important Civil War Battle that occurred over three hot summer days, July 3, 1863, around the small market town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. More importantly Gettysburg was the clash between the two major American Cultures of their time: the North and the South. The causes of the Civil War, and the Battle of Gettysburg, one must understand the differences between these two cultures. The Confederacy had an agricultural economy producing tobacco, corn, and cotton, with many large plantations owned by a few very rich white males. These owners lived off the labor of sharecroppers and slaves, charging high dues for use of their land. The Southern or Confederate Army was made up of a group of white males fighting for their independence from federal northern dictates (The History Place Battle of Gettysburg 1).

The Union economy was based on manufacturing, and even the minorities in the North were better off than those in the South most of the time. The Northern politicians wanted tariffs, and a large army. The Southern plantation owners wanted the exact opposite.

The South was fighting against a government that they thought was treating them unfairly. They believed the Federal Government was overtaxing them, with tariffs and property taxes making their life styles even more expensive than they already had been. The North was fighting the Civil War for two reasons, first to keep the Nation unified, and second to abolish slavery. Abraham Lincoln, the commander and chief of the Union or Northern forces along with many other Northerners believed that slavery was not only completely wrong, but it was a great humiliation to America. Once can see that with these differences a conflict would surely occur, but not many had predicted that a full-blown war would breakout. One did and after three bloody and costly years for both sides we come to the date of July 1, 1863.

Before the battle, major cities in the North such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, and even Washington, were under threat of attack from General Robert E. Lee?s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia which had crossed the Potomac River and marched into Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday morning, June 30, an infantry brigade of Confederate soldiers searching for shoes headed toward Gettysburg (The Hi...

... middle of paper ...

...equal, the Battle of Gettysburg was the second and last great invasion the of the North, for the South had neither arms nor numbers to continue an assault, but the War dragged on for two more years.

On November 19, President Lincoln went to the battlefield to dedicate it as a military cemetery. He spoke for a short period of time delivering what is called the Gettysburg Address, surprising many present in the audience with its shortness and leaving others quite unimpressed, but over time the speech has come to symbolize democracy as we know it today (Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia Vol. 11 385).

The Battle of Gettyssburg was a turning point because the South was desperately relying on that War for supplies and perhaps help from an outside source. They felt if they would have won that battle they would have been able to win the war when before they were just hoping to hang with the so-called well-prepared Union Army. The North needed a good, hard fought battle on their part because up until this point they had been men handled and out strategized. The Civil War was expected to be a quick battle easily won by the stronger northern army but had dragged on for years.
Get Access