New Jersey And The American Civil War
Being a hotbed of the slave trade in the 19th century, the Civil War of 1861-1865 had a major effect on New Jersey socially, politically, and economically. The major reason for this is caused by the decision to create a crown colony in 1702 (Bilby, 2014). It is during that year when Governor Edward Cornbury, dispatched from London, instructed that the settlers would keep and be provided with a sufficient and constant supply of merchantable Negroes. Moreover, when in the 1860s, after the election of Abraham Lincoln as the President and New Jersey’s willingness to leave the trade, the state became a major contributor to the war that focused on the slave trade elimination. New Jersey survived the war because of the strong support of the citizens that influenced the soldiers and due to the industrial growth that boosted the warlords. The aim of this paper is to discuss extensively the role that New Jersey played in the Civil War.
While analyzing this issue, it is important to understand whether the state was a confederacy or the union and find what influenced the decision. Then, the effect of the state participating in the war socially, economically, and politically should be evaluated. Thirdly, an analysis of the military intervention and aid by the state to the war and its effect will be conducted. Finally, the last part will focus on the events of the Reconstruction period in the region and how the state of 1861 influenced the future generations.
Decision to the Join Union or Confederacy
The Civil War leading parties were the Union and the Confederacy. The former consisted of the national government of the United States of America and twenty-three and five border states while the latter was comprised of the southern slave trade states. It was, therefore, a war between the North and South America, particularly on the subject of the abolition of slave trade in the whole of America (Bilby, 2014). New Jersey decided to join the Union because during the late seventeenth century, the state began to make laws to abolish the trade. Further, the citizens supported the decision to leave slavery and, in fact, in the 1850s, an active abolitionist community emerged in the state. Additionally, the election of President Lincoln as head of the state, who believed in democracy and the notion that minority, which in his opinion consisted of the southern states, should not follow the decisions made by the majority (Lurie & Veit, 2012). Notably, the ground slogan of the Union of abolishment and elimination of slave trade in the nation made the state’s work easier to fight the vice and encourage others to support the move.
The Effect of Participation in the War
The effects of the decision to participate in the war can be both negative and positive. However, this can only be evaluated in a threefold manner: social, economic and political dimensions. According to social changes, the participation in the war encouraged the citizens to interact with the other residents of the different states in the Union on how to fight the social vice that affects America (Lubrecht, 2011). Moreover, the participation made the New Jerseyans to appreciate the diverse nature of people and even contributed to the human rights revolution of the black population. Furthermore, the war promoted unity, especially when the Confederate army attacked at Fort Sumter. That event ignited a patriotic firestorm and a need to fight the slavery. However, the people from New Jersey started to separate themselves from the southerners whom they regarded as brutal and crude.
From the economic aspect, the main cause of the War was the attack by southerners to combat the slave trade. Indeed, the slave trade was the major economic income generating activity and the GDP growth. In New Jersey, a positive side to note is that the state was not affected economically by the abolition of slavery, as the industrialization brought the core income. For example, in Trenton, the capital city of the state, were the industrial manufactures of leather and cotton as well as the other raw materials from the various parts of the country. Those actions boomed the state’s economy donating money in the war (Lurie & Veit, 2012). Though, the abolition of the trade slightly decreased the annual income of the country that relied on the returns of the trade.
From the political side, the participation in the war brought a positive effect as it ensured the change of the leaders during the four-year period. For instance, even though there was a division among the electorates after the 1860 election between Abraham Lincoln and his opponent Stephen A. Douglas, the two groups rejected their differences to support the war against slavery after the attack on Fort Sumter (Lubrecht, 2011). Moreover, due to the political nature of the subject matter, it is clear that the political beliefs held by the North Americans on the need for peace, security, equality and harmonious living are the values that no one should preach. It brought a positive influence on New Jersey.
Military Action and Aid and its Effect
New Jersey is the state in the United States that provided troops and equipment in the war. The state was pivotal in the war as it held a key geographical position where the roads crossed through and brought the army to the place. The troops from Washington passed New Jersey in 1776 were followed by the British army in 1777. The military movements in the state made New Jersey the region of a military engagement compared to the other areas (Lubrecht, 2011).
The war had an impact on the families as they were dissatisfied with those who supported the King. For instance, a father could have two of his sons fighting in the opposing camp. Thus, it was a fratricidal war where neighbors and brothers fought against each other. The influence of the intervention appeared mainly during the recruitment and the aftermath of the war. Unfortunately, the state lost the intellect of army soldiers during the war, approximately 6,200 men died. The citizens suffered from the military operations that tore families as the majority lost fathers, husbands, uncles, and grandfathers. Despite the devastating loss, the army developed as the soldiers gathered tons of information and improved strategies on how to conduct wars successfully (Lubrecht, 2011). Further, the recognition of 26 soldiers from New Jersey with the Medal of Honor contributed the reputation of the state when it comes to the military actions, advice, and, respect.
The Reconstruction Period and Personal Opinion on the Decisions of the Civil War Period
The Reconstruction period from 1865 to 1877, which came after the Union victory, led to the notable changes of social, economic and political life in New Jersey. From a social dimension, the state recognized the women’s rights through the formation of various female groups due to the exceptional contribution of women during the war (Lurie & Veit, 2012). Moreover, before the war, New Jersey was both socially and economically tied to markets in the South America, but the activities, such as the construction of Finn’s Point National Cemetery and the Killchohook National Wildlife Refuge, change the situation. The cemetery became a place where both the Confederate and the Union soldiers were buried. It improved the social aspect (Lurie & Veit, 2012). From the economic aspect, the Wildlife Refuge, which surrounds the cemetery and the Fort Mott State Park, attracts tourists who come to visit the graveyard, thus, adding up to the economy of the state (Bilby, 2014). From the political dimension, the period marked the revolution of the African American people who had their rights to equality and democracy protected by the constitution of the Reconstruction period.
The decisions made in 1861 on whom to fight in the war still negatively impact the social life of the generations. It is obvious due to the fact that many New Jersey soldiers fought against the South Americans killing a significant number of people. Finally, in spite of the efforts made during the Reconstruction Era to heal the sour between North and South America, the fact that New Jersey played a significant role resulted in the poor socioeconomic and political relations with the South.