Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Nation Divided: Fort Sumter

Examining the newspaper articles from New York, to Kansas, to South Carolina it was very apparent that no matter where you went in the country everyone was waiting for a confrontation to break out and the focal point was Fort Sumter. Today marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the battle to take Fort Sumter. The Fort meant so much more than a strategic military complex. For the North it was a symbol of maintaining the integrity of the Union. To lose it signaled a need to confront the Southern rebellion by force, that diplomatic solutions were at an end. it signaled a loss of control, a loss of public property owned by the United States. For the South it represented their independence. To take control of it would legitimized their secession from the United States and solidified their position as an independent power. So it was no surprise that all eyes of the nation were focused on Charleston harbor in South Carolina.

This "Pro-Slavery War", as a Northern paper proclaimed, will forever define our country's future. This act of hostility by the Confederacy at Fort Sumter forced the hand of the United States to confront the issue of Southern secession with military action. It put this country into a war that although many in the country at the time thought would end in a matter of months, lasted four years and took the lives of hundreds of thousands of American men, women, and children. Stories of heroism, tales of valor, and so much more from this war has contributed to defining America, our way of life and most importantly changed the course of our future for the better. 

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