Question of the Week: 1/16-1/22/23

Legacy – the long-lasting impact of particular events, actions, etc. that took place in the past (Oxford Languages)

In your opinion, what’s the most enduring legacy from the American Civil War?

20 Responses to Question of the Week: 1/16-1/22/23

  1. Baseball. Prior to the Civil War there was base ball, and there was cricket (the British National bat and ball game.) But cricket required more specialized equipment, and more open space on which to play; base ball could be played almost anywhere, with only a bat and a ball needed. By the end of the war, NO One was playing cricket. A quote attributed to President Lincoln during the Civil War rebranded the preferred soldier’s pastime as “baseball.” And baseball endures as the National Pastime, played not only by Americans everywhere, but in Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Japan, Australia, South Korea…

  2. Over half a million died to end slavery, but it was ended completely in America. And it spelled the death of slavery around the world, as it would soon be stopped on other continents as well as North America. That changed the lives of millions, changed the economics, and set the stage for further profound changes to come. I cannot think of any other legacy that even comes close.

  3. I am going to expand the periodization and include a chunk of Reconstruction. My picks are the passage of 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. In the course of five years after the war, the nation abolished slavery, enfranchised millions of African Americans, established a bi-racial democracy, specified how new liberties and rights would be implemented and protected, and empowered the Federal government, in lieu of the states, to define the rights of citizens.

  4. The social aspects of the Civil War, before and after, has been discussed a lot but one of the legacies is the military innovations that came about because of the war that affected future wars and military strategy.

  5. The incompleteness of Reconstruction, and the failure of the northern Unionists to stay the course after the war. Perhaps understandable given the emotional trauma of the war itself. Still, the destruction of chattel slavery was a good in and of itself.

  6. Before the war, the United States was referred to in the plural. After the war, in the singular. The role and nature of the national government changed irrevocably.

  7. I often think about the way in which the Civil War changed our lexicon — and the different meaning Union took on after the conflict.

  8. The strategic importance of the railroads was proven in the Civil War. The expansion of them after the war and the role they played in helping to settle the entire country cannot be overstated.

    Also, basic medical practices literally exploded (pun intended) across the country because of the War. Because of the need for surgeons, doctors, nurses, orderlies, ambulances, and specialized facilities to tend to the thousands of casualties incurred on both sides when big battles raged, those people trained in such professions and specialties expanded the availability of such care when the War ended. Before that most people tended to be treated at their homes if specialized medical care was even available to them. There are also the advances in medicine and surgical practices, including reconstructive surgeries.

  9. Although some areas of medical and surgical care improved, the War was more the end of the Dark Ages rather than the Renaissance.. Infectious disease, which claimed the lives of the majority of troops, was still not understood until the germ theory and anti-sepsis was accepted years later. And effective surgery could not be easily performed since there was no way to support the airway of the victim by intubation. However, the triaging of trauma victims was a major advance, as was regionalization of care from field station to a large city hospital. And with over 40,000 amputations, the areas of prosthetics and rehabilitation were created. And yes, over 10,000. physicians were added, most of who continued practice after the War.

  10. I read all of the above, thinking they would help me choose from the flood of ideas in my head after reading the prompt. No such luck. It just reaffirms my general idea that this was was the defining event of our national life–in all ways. Good one.

  11. A sea change in the way we viewed everything in the way American life was changed from that moment on. The way we viewed the slaves was changed…they were now citizens. The way we viewed the Southerners was changed…they were our countrymen again. And etc., etc. So much changed in such a short time, that it is a wonder that we even came together post-Civil War as one nation. So many of us were going in so many opposite directions! Yet we held…we HELD, and the country stayed together despite our many divergent views….Just like we need to come together NOW despite the rips that are tearing us apart currently. Will we hold? Will we HOLD?

  12. Civil rights legislation, that phrase defined to include the three Civil War era amendments to the Constitution.

  13. If there is any truth to coffee being popularized during the war, for me personally, it would have to be the coffee drinking.

  14. Not a dan thing if we don’t protect our Liberty, our history, our country today and always. Thank you veterans.

  15. Bravo, Henry! Bravo! I agree completely. I wonder what all the soldiers that gave up their years and their lives for this country would thinkofthis terrible current mess we’re in. I know what my father ( D-Day, Utah Beach, combat engineer) and father -in-law (Iwo Jima, Seabee) would be saying! Are tough guys still allowed in this country?

  16. Concerning coffee, it became almost an addiction for Northern troops who allegedly could drink up to a gallon a day. There really were no other stimulants available. Coffee was largely only available to Northern troops because the naval blockade prevented it from reaching Southerners. Men were allotted so many beans per day, which they ground up and added to boiling water. Interestingly, by having to boil the water, they inadvertently sterilized the water from infective agents, thereby preventing diseases like infectious diarrhea, which was common.

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