Conclusion

Lee's surrender at Appomattox brought a great sense of joy and relief to Northern cities and the people in them celebrated the Union victory. However, the postsurrender celebration was short-lived. No sooner had the news of the ultimate victory been received than people heard the news that President Lincoln had been assassinated. Grief and anger commingled. In New York, known Copperheads were well advised to display appropriate signs of mourning in their windows and on their persons. In Philadelphia, a Democratic newspaper editor was forced to leave the city. Lincoln's body traveled from Washington through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Chicago on the way to its final resting place in Springfield, Illinois. At each stop along the way local committees arranged appropriate services in honor of the nation's slain leader. The celebration and mourning culminated with a Grand Review of the Armies in Washington, D.C., on May 23 and May 24, 1865. The two-day affair saw more that 125,000 men parade from Capitol Hill down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House. President Andrew Johnson and General-in-Chief Ulysses Grant and a number of congressional dignitaries reviewed the troops. It was the last great

The May 1865 grand review of the victorious armies of generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman in Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress)

demonstration of the war. In a matter of weeks, the process of disbanding the Union Army was well under way.

In part because historians have paid so little attention to the nation's cities at war they have reached no consensus about the war and its effect on the cities. What consensus there has been is largely tied to the larger question of the economic impact of the war. In fighting the war and then paying for it, the federal government expanded the capital available for a variety of investments. The nation's capitalists seized the opportunities the war provided and a significant number grew rich as a result. The vast bond sale program devised to pay for war expenditures provided new investment instruments and a model for financing new capital-intensive ventures. For Southern cities, certainly, the end of the war produced no such boom. The total war waged by Generals Grant and Sherman in 1864 and 1865 devastated Southern industry, leaving Southern cities even further behind their Northern counterparts than they had been in 1860. Consequently, the war for the Union had also been a war of separation for the nation's cities. Wealth accumulated in the hands of the capitalists while urban workers struggled to hold ground against inflation. Northern cities gained investment capital, new residents, and a rapidly expanding industrial base. Southern cities bet and lost all. By 1870 a full 26 percent of the 38 million Americans now lived in urban places, a trend that would continue over the succeeding decades. Ultimately, the war produced little that was brand new for Northern cities, rather it accelerated existing trends.

For the South, losing the war meant its cities could not compete. It would be well into the 20th century before things changed significantly.

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