The American Civil War lasted from 1861 to 1865. While the Revolutionary War created the United States, the Civil War determined what kind of nation it would be. The Civil War resolved two fundamental questions: whether the U.S. was to be a confederation of sovereign states or an indivisible nation with a sovereign national government and whether the U.S. would continue to exist as the largest slaveholding country in the world, despite being born from a declaration that all men were equal. The war started because of differences between the free states and the slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that were not yet admitted to the Union as states.
Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election was seen as an act of war by some southern politicians. By February 1861, seven states in the deep South seceded, forming the Confederate States of America. These seven states were South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. The former secretary of war and then-Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis was elected Confederate. Alexander H. Stephens, Ex-Georgia governor and former anti-secessionist, became the vice president.
The Confederacy began forming a military, raising 62,000 troops by mid-April 1861. On April 12, 1961, Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, claiming the fort as their own. Union troops surrendered, speaking the Civil War. Four more slave states quickly seceded from the Union to join the Confederacy: Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Richmond, Virginia was named the capital of the Confederacy.
The Territory of Arizona voted to join the Confederacy and officially proclaimed itself part of the Confederate States of America in 1862. However, in 1863, Confederate forces were defeated in Arizona. The Territory was claimed as part of the Union and split into two, the second being the Territory of New Mexico. The Confederacy had a total of 11 states:
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
The Union was also known as the North during the Civil War period. These were the states that did not secede from the Union. The Union states were referred to as the United States of America under the federal government of President Abraham Lincoln.
The Union was comprised of the 20 free states:
- New York
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
The Union also included five border states, which allowed slavery at the time but still supported the Union. These states were: