The Impact of the Civil War on the Concept of Free Labor

analytical Essay
808 words
808 words

During the 1800’s, the main argument between the Northern and the Southern States of the U.S. was the issue of slavery. Northerners opposed it, while the Southerners supported it. The North, or the Union, led by President Abraham Lincoln, strived to make the states free of slaves. Tensions rose between both sides as time flew by. And in 1861, Southern States started to withdraw from the Union, and therefore forming the Confederacy. The federal government tried to stop the rebels by force, but the Southerners fought back. Thus the bloody Civil War that didn’t end until 1865 ignited. In the Civil War, the Union endeavored to gain back its jurisdiction, and it fought multitudinous blood-soaking battles against the Confederate States of America (Faust). Not only did the Civil War cause many losses and casualties, but it also provoked the notion of free labor, the root of the American capitalism. Free labor was associated with honorable jobs, such as working in factories. Yet it is usually referred to as “wage [paid] labor” (Roediger 87). Since the notion ‘free labor’ was associated with honorable jobs only, it was nearly impossible for slaves, especially those in the pro-slavery states, southern states precisely, to practice it due to the lack of factories and the huge number of slaves that were ineligible for working in such jobs. However, with the rapid expansion pace of industrialization in the north, several southerners, including slaves, fled to the north looking for a better livelihood and freedom. This south-north movement, occurred around the Civil War era, spread the concept of free labor across the urban cities; hence, across the nation. Fredrick Douglass was an influential African American Abolitionist who managed to brea... ... middle of paper ... ...ich is the ability for a laborer to get paid, work his or her way up the employment hierarchy, and quit the job. Had it not been for the southern secession that sparked the Civil War, the concept of free labor would have been exclusive to those working in factories, and would not have reached the enslaved dark-skinned farmers in the pro-slavery states. The Civil War did not only cease the tension between the two halves of the United States, but it also led to the liberation of slaves, therefore spreading the new grasp of labor; that is free labor. Works Cited Faust, Drew Gilpin. This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. Random House LLC, 2009. Print. Reinhardt, Mark. Who Speaks for Margaret Garner? U of Minnesota Press, n.d. Print. Roediger, David R. The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class. Verso, 1999. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that slavery was the main argument between the northern and the southern states of the u.s.
  • Explains that the civil war provoked the notion of free labor, the root of american capitalism. free labor was associated with honorable jobs, such as working in factories.
  • Describes how fredrick douglass was an influential african american abolitionist who broke the chains of slavery and fled to the north in pursuit of freedom and better livelihood than slavery.
  • Analyzes how douglass' achieving freedom influenced the southerners to walk his path, which expanded the original connotation of free labor to include african-americans.
  • Explains the principle that led to the development of free labor was the recruitment of black slaves for the union's army.
  • Explains that white southerners were still practicing what's called "enslaved labor", which was mainly dependent on agriculture. they needed to maintain law and order through physical punishment, threats, and other techniques.
  • Explains that the civil war led to the coexistence of free labor and enslaved labor in the mid-nineteenth century.
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