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Killer Angels Paper
The Human Factor in the American Civil War
Michael Shaara’s fictional novel, The Killer Angels, is based on the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War.  The novel allows the reader to recognize the heart and courage of the more than two million men that fought in the war.  Shaara focuses the reader to better understand the reason why these men fight and the meaning of the war.  Ultimately, the reader observes that the war is fought on an individual level as much as a governmental level.  These men are there to fight for what they believe is truly right.  The Confederates fought for their rights to hold slaves, their freedom tyranny of the Federal Government, and their independence from the Union.  The Federal soldiers fought for the Preservation of the Union, the freedom of black men, and the Constitution’s integrity.  In this is book the reader is able to perceive the human element of battle that creates a very unpredictable outcome.  Factors of humanity, such as friendships, sense of character, conflicts and brotherhood, play an important part in making the war. The friendship between Confederate General Lewis Armistead and Union General Winfield Scott Hancock has an effect on their fighting.  Garnett’s sense of honor effects his psychological outlook on the battle and how he is to fight.  The Chamberlains are two brothers in the Twentieth Maine of the Union Army.  Both men are constantly looking out and worrying about the other.  The men of the Second Maine are men who have a conflict with the government that turns them off to the war.  All these factors show that American Civil War, in some cases, fought on an individual level as well as for the government.
The friendship between General Armistead and General Hancock affects their attitude towards the fighting.  Both become a little weary because they would be fighting each other.  General Armistead hopes that his enemy was not his dear old friend, he says “But I wish, I wish it was not Hancock atop that hill…I wish… the war was over.”  Knowing Hancock is on the other side discourages Armistead from fighting the battle.  There is another instance in the text that Armistead is sorry is starting too early with the attack because Hancock may not be set and ready.  He then prays to God that General Hancock would be all right.  The friendship has caused General Armistead to be disheartened towards the battle.  His individual interests are in the way of the war.
Stonewall Jackson at Kernstown accused confederate General Richard Brooke Garnett of cowardice.  The Battle of Gettysburg is Garnett’s chance to redeem the honor that he has lost.  He knows that no one has ever doubted his courage before then, and must get it back.  Garnett is too ill to walk so he must ride a horse to get around.  On the third day of battle, he is engaged in a conversation with General Armistead.  In the conversation that Garnett was ordered not to ride because it make him “a perfect target”.  But Garnett argues “well, I tell you, Lo.  I can’t walk.”  Armistead becomes speechless because he knows that honor was at stake and Garnett will not let the attack go without him because he still has to prove something.  This shows that Garnett is looking out for his own interest and is willing to die to regain his honor even though that it is not in the best interest of the Confederacy.  
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Lieutenant Thomas Chamberlain are brothers from the state of Maine.  They are both fighting the war because both have yearned to be soldiers.   Tom Chamberlain is a distraction to his older brother Lawrence.  The Colonel feels that he is responsible for his little brother and his mother is looking to him to bring Thomas back home.  At Little Round Top, Lawrence gave Tom the order to “get back at rear…” so that both of them are not at the same place so that both of them will not die at the same time if a situation occurs.  Another time Lawrence tells Tom, “You stay down, boy.”  Lawrence knows that ... more

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The Civil War

The Civil War lasted 5 years, took 600,000 lives and yet there exists doubt in what is the main reason behind it. I myself feel that the major issue that triggered the war was slavery, which for the South threatened economy. I am going to discuss how issues of slavery existed before the war, how it was in the minds of soldiers during the war, and then still existed after the war.
The North favored a loose interpretation of the United States Constitution, they wanted to grant the Federal Government increased powers. The South on the other hand wanted to reserve all undefined powers to the individual states. The North wanted improvements such as more railroads, canals, and roads to be sponsored by the Federal Government, while the South did not want any of these projects to even be taken into consideration. The North and the South had deep economic, social, and political differences. Even though all these reasons existed for them wanting to succeed from the North, I believe the main reason was slavery. The South not only wanted but they needed slavery, for it was the basis of their economy. The labor force in the South was made up of about four million slaves. These slaves cultivated tobacco, rice, and indigo, they were also in high demand because of the invention of the cotton gin which required growing more cotton than ever before. The North, being Pro Abolition had denounced the immoral institution of slavery.
The North’s opposing views led to attack on the system of the South and showed opposition to slavery’s spreading into new territories. Because it was difficult to decided what the status of states would be the North took action and passed the Missouri Comprimise. This comprimise stated that the status of a state of free or slave would depend if it was above or below 36 degree Latitude. States above the line would be free states and states south of that point would be Slave states. This Compromise created a balance of 11 free states and 11 slave states, it settled conflicts between the North and the South for almost a generation. This all changed when Mexico had been admitted into the Union and people began getting upset. Many compromises were created but they proved to be unsuccessful they resulted in gradual intensification of hostility between the free and slave states. In 1854, another law was passed it was the Kansas and Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise. This new Act stated that inhabitants of territories should decide for themselves the legability of slave holding which was known as “Popular Sovereignty”. This was yet another failure as people began to take matters into their own hands and violence was highly present.
The last main conflict came with the election of Lincoln in 1860. Lincoln was a moderate, he stood in the center not really having a problem with slavery. He did though hope that slavery would die out and he was some what opposed to the expansion of slavery. The South felt that expansion was threatened and because the expansion of slavery was vital to the survival of slavery they felt their way of life was being threatened. That was what finally drove the southerners off the ledge.
The South hoped that succession would pose a threat and would force the Union to accept southern demands, but unfortunately for them it did not. They had all they were going to have finally on December 20, 1860 South Carolina adopted an ordinance of succession, other states followed and by February 4th of the next year delegates from all those states met in Montgomery and drafted a Constitution for the Confederates states of America. This outraged the North and led to the Civil War.
It is obvious that all the issues that brought on the war were concerned with slavery, one way or another. In the book Killer Angels one learns what is going through the minds of the soldiers. The book includes a part where we see what America means to a Colonel of the North and why he feels he is fighting in the war. We also get knowledge of what the Southerners feel ... more

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