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Sherman's March to the Sea was an important event during the Civil War. It damaged the South's economy and led them to surrender. Sherman's March to the Sea stared on November 15 and lasted until December 21, 1864. The plan was for Major General Sherman to leave Atlanta and burn military targets. However, he did more than that. Sherman burned everything in his path. He destroyed industries, infrastructures, and civilian property and disrupted the Confederacy's economy and its transportation networks.
On November 14, a member of Hood's army wrights: "Officers and men met each other with proud and glad faces. All were impressed with a consciousness of the truth that the march of Union soldiers to the ocean or the Gulf meant that we were to take the life-blood of the rebellion." This meant that even before the march, Major General Sherman's army knew that it was going to play a big part in the South's surrender.
The Civil War took many lives, but also made America fall into debt. In 1860 the U.S. national debt was $65 million. However, after the war, the National Debt rose up to $2.7 billion. America had no income tax, no estate tax, and no excise taxes. In addition, after the war, America had a currency inflation. This meant that it was printing more money to take care of the debt, but caused the prices to rise for goods and services.
After the Civil War, the North had a boom in industry. New industrial complexes opened up. These helped the North become a better metal, clothing, and weapons supplier. They distributed these items by new railroads built during the war and ports by the sea and major rivers.
There were also many important social changes that included change in gender roles.
The South has many negative effects from the war. Many farms shut down because of the loss of slaves. In addition, many trade routes were still blocked by the North. However, the war effected the South well in their social standards. Most slaves were free, women took over farms, and many teachers and nurses were begging to show up.
In 1860, the South was still mainly agricultural based. They were highly dependent on slaves for farms. However, the South had little experience in manufacturing. The South did try using slave labor in manufacturing, but it was never highly used and the South stayed with agricultural.
The North was more into commercial and manufacturing economy. They produced more textiles, leather goods, and firearms than the South. However, only about 40 percent of the Northern population was still engaged in agriculture.
During the war, the South's economy suffered badly because many farms were ruined, and slaves set free. After the Emancipation Proclamation, the South's economy was almost fully in ruins. The North's economy was also hurting during the war. However, the North improved railroad lines and steamships that later helped them sell goods at the end of the war.