You will prepare and submit a term paper on How General Sherman was Instrumental in Ending the War as well as the Reconstruction Effort. Your paper should be a minimum of 1000 words in length. The Reconstruction period, which began after the war and ran until 1877 was a time where both sides needed to make compromises, and the law needed to be examined and reevaluated. It is often considered that the Reconstruction period was much more difficult than the war itself, as the issues were not as evident, and resolution was difficult to reach.The Southern states believed that their secession from the Union was legal. the Northern states did not believe so2. During this time, one key individual that played a significant role both in ending the Civil War, as well as in the Reconstruction effort was General Sherman. Born in 1820, William Tecumseh Sherman was a military man who was retired at the start of the Civil War. Like many other Northerners, Sherman was angry at the defiance of the Southerners and supported destructive moves against them. In a speech at Pittsburgh, Sherman proclaimed that war resulted in ‘relapses to barbarism’ and that everything their enemies had, including their lives, should be taken from them3. Sherman was well known by the end of the war because of his strong war making techniques. He believed that discipline and military expertise were crucial for the North winning the war. Towards the end of the war Sherman’s severity significantly increased with actions such as leveling Randolph, a town in Tennessee, as well as evicting the families of soldiers and sending them beyond Federal lines. To win the war, Sherman waged war not only on solders, but also on their families and the civilians of the South4. Many people consider that this approach is cruel, as not all those in the south agreed with view of the Confederates, and many were women and children. Nevertheless, these actions had a significant effect on the progress of the war, minimizing the attacks on the army, as the rebels feared Sherman’s retaliation. During the final stages of the war, Sherman’s primary campaign was a northern march through the Carolinas. Everything that had military value that Sherman and his troops encountered during the march was destroyed, including crops and civilian buildings. He captured South Carolina on February 17, 1965. During that night, fires began to burn, which destroyed most of the town. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union, and the capturing of the city had a significant impact on the morale of the Confederates. Indeed, Sherman is still viewed as an example of Northern cruelty by Southerners today5. The demoralization that Sherman’s attacks caused played a significant role in ending the war. As well as being a military General and playing a significant role in the Civil War, Sherman was also an important figurehead during the Reconstruction effort. Sherman and other officials were of the opinion that the Southern states were not out of the Union, and that any prosecution for the secession and acts during the Civil War should be against individuals not against states. To this effect, Sherman drew up the Johnston-Sherman convention, which offered amnesty to citizens of the Southern states and the restoration of full state rights once an oath of alliance had been taken by the state officials6.However the road to reconstruction was not smooth and at many times it appeared that the Presidential Reconstruction would fail completely.
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