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托福阅读背景知识补充——南北战争
2020-07-30 15:02   作者:新航道   阅读量:

   托福阅读背景知识:南北战争


  The Civil War


  Causes of the war


  The American Civil War was fought between the northern and southern states  from 1861 to 1865. There were two main causes of the war. The first was the  issue of *slavery: should Africans who had been brought by force to the US be  used as slaves. The second was the issue of states&apos rights: should the US  federal government be more powerful than the governments of individual  states.


  The North and South were very different in character. The economy of the  South was based on agriculture, especially cotton. Picking cotton was hard work,  and the South depended on slaves for this. The North was more industrial, with a  larger population and greater wealth. Slavery, and opposition to it, had existed  since before independence (1776) but, in the 19th century, the abolitionists,  people who wanted to make slavery illegal, gradually increased in number. The  South&aposs attitude was that each state had the right to make any law it wanted,  and if southern states wanted slavery, the US government could not prevent it.  Many southerners became secessionists, believing that southern states should  secede from the Union (= become independent from the US).


  In 1860, Abraham *Lincoln was elected President. He and his party, the  *Republicans, were against slavery, but said that they would not end it. The  southern states did not believe this, and began to leave the Union. In 1860  there were 34 states in the US. Eleven of them (South Carolina, Mississippi,  Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and  North Carolina) left the Union and formed the *Confederate States of America,  often called the Confederacy. Jefferson *Davis became its President, and for  most of the war *Richmond, Virginia, was the capital.


  Four years of fighting


  The US government did not want a war but, on 12 April 1861, the Confederate  Army attacked *Fort Sumter, which was in the Confederate state of South Carolina  but still occupied by the Union army. President Lincoln could not ignore the  attack and so the Civil War began.


  Over the next four years the Union army tried to take control of the South.  The battles that followed, *Shiloh, Antietam, *Bull Run and Chicamauga, have  become part of America&aposs national memory. After the battle of *Gettysburg in  1863, in a speech known as the *Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln said that  the North was fighting the war to keep the Union t**ether so that &apos...government  of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth&apos.  In the same year he issued the *Emancipation Proclamation which made slavery  illegal, but only in the Confederacy.


  Slaves and former slaves played an important part in the war. Some gave  information to Union soldiers, because they knew that their best chance of  freedom was for the North to win the war. Many former slaves wanted to become  Union soldiers, but this was not very popular among white northerners. In spite  of this opposition about 185000 former slaves served in the Union army.

  Women on both sides worked as spies, taking information, and sometimes even  people, across borders by hiding them under their large skirts.

  In the South especially, people suffered greatly and had little to eat. On  9 April 1865, when the South could fight no more, General Robert E *Lee  surrendered to General Ulysses S *Grant at *Appomattox Court House in Virginia.  A total of 620000 people had been killed and many more wounded.


  The war was over but feelings of hostility against the North remained  strong. John Wilkes *Booth, an actor who supported the South, decided to kill  President Lincoln. On 14 April 1865 he approached the President in Ford&aposs  Theatre in Washington and shot him. Lincoln died the next morning.

  The killing of President Lincoln showed how bitter many people felt. The  South had been beaten, but its people had not changed their opinions about  slavery or about states&apos rights. During the war, the differences between North  and South had become even greater. The North had become richer. In the South,  cities had been destroyed and the economy ruined.


  Reconstruction

  After the war the South became part of the United States again. This long,  difficult period was called Reconstruction. The issues that had caused the war,  slavery and states&apos rights, still had to be dealt with. The issue of slavery was  difficult, because many people even in the North had prejudices against Blacks.  The new state governments in the South wanted to make laws limiting the rights  of Blacks, and the US government tried to stop them. Between 1865 and 1870 the  13th, 14th and 15th *Amendments to the *Constitution were passed, giving Blacks  freedom, making them citizens of the US and the state where they lived, and  giving them, in theory, the same rights as white Americans.

  Many northern politicians went to the South where they thought they could  get power easily. These northerners were called *carpet-baggers. Both  carpet-baggers and southern politicians were dishonest and stole money from the  new governments, which hurt the South even more.

  In 1870 the last three southern states were admitted to the Union again,  and in 1877 the northern army finally left the South. The war lasted four years,  but efforts to reunite the country took three times as long.


  Effects of the Civil War

  Differences between North and South are still strong. In the South the  Confederate flag is still often used, and the state flags of *Georgia and  *Mississippi were made to look similar to it. The state motto is Audemus jura  nostra defendere, which is Latin for &aposWe dare to defend our rights&apos. The Civil  War helped to end slavery, but long afterwards Blacks were still being treated  badly, and race relations continue to be a problem. The South was so angry with  the *Republicans, the party of Lincoln and Reconstruction, that southerners  voted *Democratic for a century. The war showed strong differences between parts  of the US, but many people believe that the most important thing it did was to  prove that the US is one country.

 

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