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The American Civil War, widely known in the United States as simply the Civil War as well as

other sectional names, was a civil war fought from 1861 to 1865 to determine the survival of the
Union or independence for the Confederacy. Among the 34 states as of January 1861, seven
Southern slave states individually declared their secession from the United States and formed the
Confederate States of America, known as the "Confederacy" or the "South". They grew to
include eleven states, and although they claimed thirteen states and additional western territories,
the Confederacy was never diplomatically recognized by a foreign country. The states that
remained loyal and did not declare secession were known as the "Union" or the "North". The war
had its origin in the fractious issue of slavery, especially the extension of slavery into the western
territories.[N 1] After four years of combat that left over 600,000 Union and Confederate soldiers
dead and destroyed much of the South's infrastructure, the Confederacy collapsed and slavery
was abolished. Then began the Reconstruction and the processes of restoring national unity and
guaranteeing civil rights to the freed slaves.
In the 1860 presidential election, Republicans, led by Abraham Lincoln, opposed the expansion
of slavery into U.S. territories. The Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a majority
of the electoral votes, and Lincoln was elected the first Republican president, but before his
inauguration on March 4, 1861, seven slave states with cotton-based economies formed the
Confederacy. The first six to secede had the highest proportions of slaves in their populations, a
total of 48.8% for the six.[6] Outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan and the incoming
Republicans rejected secession as illegal. Lincoln's inaugural address declared his administration
would not initiate civil war. Eight remaining slave states continued to reject calls for secession.
Confederate forces seized numerous federal forts within territory claimed by the Confederacy. A
peace conference failed to find a compromise, and both sides prepared for war. The Confederates
assumed that European countries were so dependent on "King Cotton" that they would intervene;
none did and none recognized the new Confederate States of America.
Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter, a key fort
held by Union troops in South Carolina. Lincoln called for every state to provide troops to retake
the fort; consequently, four more slave states joined the Confederacy, bringing their total to
eleven. Lincoln soon controlled the border states, after arresting state legislators and suspending
habeas corpus,[7] ignoring the ruling of the Supreme Court's Chief Justice that such suspension
was unconstitutional, and established a naval blockade that crippled the southern economy. The
Eastern Theater was inconclusive in 1861–62. The autumn 1862 Confederate campaign into
Maryland (a Union state) ended with Confederate retreat at the Battle of Antietam, dissuading
British intervention.[8] To the west, by summer 1862 the Union destroyed the Confederate river
navy, then much of their western armies, and the Union siege of Vicksburg split the Confederacy
in two at the Mississippi River. In 1863, Robert E. Lee's Confederate incursion north ended at
the Battle of Gettysburg. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which made ending
slavery a war goal.[9] Western successes led to Ulysses S. Grant's command of all Union armies
in 1864. In the Western Theater, William T. Sherman drove east to capture Atlanta and marched

steamships. This led to Lee's surrender to Grant on April 9. destroying Confederate infrastructure along the way. seeking to regroup at Appomattox Court House. shipyards. resulting in the deaths of an estimated 750. and mass-produced weapons were employed extensively. The American Civil War was one of the earliest true industrial wars. though there they found themselves surrounded by union forces. It remains the deadliest war in American history. banks. 1865. leading to the protracted Siege of Petersburg.[N 2] One estimate of the death toll is that ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old.[11] From 1861 to 1865 about 620. The Union marshaled the resources and manpower to attack the Confederacy from all the sea. the telegraph. transportation and food supplies all foreshadowed World War I. mines. The besieged Confederate army eventually abandoned Richmond.000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. All Confederate generals surrendered by that summer.[ . The mobilization of civilian factories. and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40 died. Railroads.000 soldiers lost their lives.