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American History Resources on War and Conflict


The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when the South Carolina militia forces fired upon the Federally-owned Fort Sumter located in the Charleston harbor. This was the culmination of rising tensions between southern states and their desire to maintain legal slavery and the northern states desire for abolitionism. Southern states began seceding from the United States after Abraham Lincoln's election to the office of United States President forming their own country of the Confederate States of America. 

Once the war began, the Confederate States of America begun mustering local divisions, commanded by General Robert E. Lee of Virginia, to fight against the United States (Union) troops. These battles would occur across the country until Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, officially bringing an end to the American Civil War. By the end of 1865, the entire Confederate States of America government was dismantled and all confederate troops surrendered.

Following the Confederate States of America's surrender, Federal troops begun occupation of the American South for the period of Reconstruction. These troops, and U.S. President Andrew Johnson, sought to bring states and civilians back into the United States following new constitutions outlawing slavery and oaths of allegiance to the United States. Reconstruction era officially ended in 1877 as part of a resolution to the disputed 1876 presidential election and removed the Federal troops from the two remaining occupied states, Louisiana and South Carolina.

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