Most historic Civil War event…

November 18, 2008 by  
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Continuing with our discussion on the “most historic” reports to be found in newspapers, we have been discussing the events of American history by era, the last being the post-Civil War 19th century. This post will discuss the Civil War era of 1861 – 1865.

Of the many events of the 19th century which changed the course of American history few would argue that the Civil War was the most significant. But what single event during the Civil War would rank as the most significant? If you could only have one newspaper from the Civil War in your collection, what one event would you most desire?

There are a number of events to consider:

1) The election of Abraham Lincoln. Although it happened in late 1860 and not technically from the war, this event would would set the tone of American politics which would lead to the war. What would have happened had he not been elected?

2) The beginning of the Civil War in April, 1861, for obvious reasons.

3) The Emancipation Proclamation of September, 1862, providing freedom to all slaves in all states, although more in theory than practicality.

4) The battle of Gettysburg, as the turning point of the Civil War.

5) The assassination of Lincoln: how would the country been different had he not been assassinated and served out his 2nd four year term?

Perhaps other events should be considered as the most historically significant. What are your thoughts?

My vote would be for the battle of Gettysburg. If it was a given that a war was inevitable to settle the political, cultural & economic divide between the North & South, it’s arguable that the war’s end was decided at Gettysburg. The tide had turned in favor of the North and  at that point it was just a matter of when it would end and not who would win.

What’s your thought?

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One Response to “Most historic Civil War event…”

  1. Morris on November 19th, 2008 10:45 am

    There are really two questions in this posting:

    1. What is the single most important event of the Civil War? (and)

    2. What paper from the Civil War would I most prefer to have in
    my collection?

    Answering the second question first. The paper I most prefer to have (and fortunately do have) is the New York Times of November 20, 1863 with a front page printing of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

    Without a doubt this three minutes speech is the most famous speech ever made by a President. From its first sentence: “Fourscore and seven years ago” to its phrase, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here” to its conclusion,
    “and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.,” this speech has stood the test of time and resonates with compassion and inspiration unequaled by any other presidential speech in history. What is said of an historic event sometimes captures the essence of that event more than a description the event itself.

    As to the most important event of the Civil War, although this event occurred after the fall of Richmond, I would need to say the Assassination of President Lincoln.

    I select this event for two reasons.

    * It serves as a historic punctuation mark to the entire Civil War. At
    the moment of victory and glory President Lincoln is shot down.
    If the Civil War was a Hollywood movie the audience would gasp
    and tears would fall as Lincoln slumps forward in his chair. In a
    dramatic sense it is a fitting conclusion to a heroic life.

    * President Lincoln, though not the first President to die in office,
    never the less, was the first President to be assassinated.
    Thus assassination, for the first time, entered the psyche of
    America and has lingered with us 143 years. What seemed
    improbable on April 13, 1865 became reality on April 14th and
    that reality lingers in the recesses of our mind today.


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