The American Civil War was anything but civil! It was the bloodiest war in American history. By its end, three-quarters of a million soldiers and countless civilians had been killed. The Civil War divided families as much as it did the Union.
The primary issue that triggered the war was slavery, but there were other contributing causes. Planters in the agrarian South believed that:
the U.S. Constitution allowed each state to make its own policy on slavery
their African slaves weren't fully human and thus had no constitutional rights
the federal government had no right to deprive them of property by declaring all slaves free
The industrialized North held that:
states' rights did not extend that far
slaves were human beings with inalienable rights
states had no right to secede from the union, which must be preserved at all cost
The 1860 presidential election turned on the issue of slavery. After Abraham Lincoln won by promising to abolish slavery, seven southern states seceded.
If you're planning a historical project or a costume party, check out our civil war costumes. We have Union and Confederate army uniforms and Abraham Lincoln costumes in both child and adult sizes. For the soldiers' womenfolk, we have southern belle costumes for girls and women.
Re-enact pivotal battles, or re-create your favorite scenes from Gone With The Wind. Memorize a few lines from the movie, or study old battles to get into your role. Practice a southern accent, if you're on the Confederate side. Read Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, if you're on the Union side. Many generals on both sides of the war kept journals and wrote letters back to their families describing events. If you want to play one of them, read some of their actual writings. We can give you that Civil War-era look, but you'll need to learn about the characters and manners on your own.