American Civil War Overview

American Civil War was a military conflict fought in North America from 1861 to 1865. It was fought between two groups of states - the North and the South.

Both groups were previously a part of the United States. But then the southern states decided to leave the Union over the issue of slavery. This led to a Civil War which raged on for four years. In the end, North was victorious.

8 American Civil War Battles – Important List

The American Civil War began in 1861 and ended in 1865. It was one of the largest military conflicts of the 19th century Read more about the 8 American Civil War Battles – Important List >>

The Issue of Slavery

The main issue at the heart of the American Civil War was slavery.

Northern states opposed slavery and were known as the Free states. Slavery didn’t exist in most of the northern states. Southern states were home to hundreds of thousands of slaves. Slaves had been previously brought to North America from Africa. They were used at sugar and cotton plantations.

The southern economy heavily depended on the slaves which is why the South fiercely supported slavery. Every time a new state was added to the United States, the North and South disagreed on its status. These disagreements came to a head in 1861 when Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th President of the United States.


Abraham Lincolns role in the American Civil War

Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th President of the United States in 1860. He assumed office in 1861. Lincoln opposed slavery, so his election as President angered the pro-slavery southern states. As a result, the southern states began to secede from the Union.

Abraham Lincoln led the united states in fighting against the Confederate States of the South during the Civil War. He proved an excellent leader and his strategic vision was very important in helping the North win the war. After the war was over, Lincoln was elected for a second term. But he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865.

The Confederate States of America

The Confederate States of America, also known as the Confederacy, where the southern states who supported slavery. These were the states that had broken away from the Union and left the United States to form their own confederation. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. It was later joined by another 10 states.

In all, the Confederacy was comprised of 11 states. These included South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Jefferson Davis served as the President of the Confederate States throughout the Civil War. At the end of the war, the Confederacy was dissolved and all states became a part of the United States once again.

The Union States of the North

The Northern states were known as the Union during the Civil War. The Union comprised of 20 free states as well as another 4 border and slave states. The border and slave states were split in their support for Confederacy and the Union. Abraham Lincoln led the Union and appointed generals like Ulysses S. Grant to command the Union armies.

In terms of a number of soldiers, supplies, industrial resources, and other resources, Union had a significant advantage over the Confederacy.

American Civil War Fast Facts

  • Northern American states were against slavery. Southern American states were for slavery.
  • Slaves were mainly used as laborers on Southern American Farms.
  • Most of the American black slaves came from Africa. Abraham Lincoln the 16th American president opposed slavery.
  • The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War war.
  • Northern armies won the American Civil War.


The Civil War: A Visual History Hardcover – March 21, 2011

Civil War Battlefields: Walking the Trails of History Hardcover – March 14, 2017

Learn More about the American Civil War at Wikipedia