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The American Revolution and the Civil War

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The Great Awakening was a sense of renewed interest in religion in Britain and the Americas. As a result, New England colonies went out of their way to warn people of the impending wrath of God on those who refused to accept God. However, it is worth noting that most of the branches of the Christian church at the moment also supported the American Revolution. As the Methodist and Baptist Churches went preaching to people, they also created a greater sense of nationalism among the people. As a result, people got more interested in civil activist as well as the American nationalism. Essentially, the Great Awakening did not just help people to turn to God, but also influence the American Revolution that would later define American History. It should be noted that the Enlightenment sparked interest in scientific research and education as people wanted to know more about the world. It also created a sense of autonomy that set people against religious authorities. The fact that various denominations began to view themselves as independent from each other triggered competition between them. It is this spirit of rebellion that spilled over into governance structures, thereby precipitating the American Revolution. The political class also became interested in how they could use economic knowledge they had acquired to determine their political direction. Although people had not learned to associate economics with politics before, the Enlightenment brought a new meaning to politics. As a matter of fact, people began to feel that they needed to make some progress in every aspect of their lives, including economics. This would make them independent people who could not be intimidated by any authoritarian leadership. Eventually, they would use their resources and autonomy to put in place the kind of governance that they desire, not imposed on them (Lambert, 1999, 23).

Religious pluralism is said to have stoked fire into the American Revolution. Unlike in England where the Church of England was predominant, colonist refused to be herded into a single religion. They wanted their autonomy respected by the religious authorities, including the Pope. Although Quakers and Anglican churches still remained in some parts of America, they were not as vibrant as to shape the political landscape. This made it evident that colonists would at no point become complacent; neither would they be pushed into abandoning their unrivaled zeal with religion. According to history, it is this religious zeal that metamorphosed into demand for self-rule and self-determination. At some point, prominent people in the church hinted at a rebellion against the church. They suggested that if the church could not respect the principle of self-determination, then they could as well abandon the church. John Adams is said to have conceded that the Great Awakening motivated people to participate in the war and to take part in the revolution. At the same time, minority groups like African Americans found it prudent to participate in the revolution. For them, it was a fight for their own social liberty and freedom from slavery. Considering that they had suffered for far too long under the religious authoritarianism, African Americans were ready to do whatever they could to make the revolution successful. This included taking part in the military operations during the revolution. Although most African Americans had earlier supported anti-British forces silently, the revolution provided them an ample opportunity to avenge their anger on their oppressors. This combination of various forces is said to have created a wider public awareness about the revolution and motivated people to take part in it. Essentially, it was a course they had to pursue as they sought to have a greater say in the way they were governed (Morrison, 1999, 5).

Immediately after President Abraham Lincoln was elected into office, the Southern states began feeling that the government was usurping their sense of liberty. They did not want the government to tell them what to do and how to live their lives. These feelings were made worse by the frosty relationship between the Southern and the Northern states. At the moment, Northern states were slightly more developed that Southern states due to industrialization that was highly developed. As a result, Southern states felt that North would gain total control over them if they subscribed into the United States of America. This triggered a rebellion by Southern states, with most of them demanding immediate secession from the Union. The first state to secede was South Carolina that went ahead to form the Confederate States of America and later joined by other states to elect Jefferson Davis as their first President. On the other hand, President Abraham Lincoln, who was leading the Union, swore to keep the Southern states in the United States of America. He was not going to allow the great union to crumble under his watch. This caused tension between the two unions as possibility of war became evident. The Union under President Lincoln had soldiers stationed in various parts of the Southern states. This caused tension as the new Confederate insisted that Union soldiers had to leave their land. When it became clear that President Lincoln would not succumb, Confederate soldiers struck fired the first salvo at the Union soldiers on April 12, 1861. This marked the beginning of a war that would later shape the history of America as well as that of the world. In the end, President Lincoln managed to bring the two forces together under the Team of Rivals to make the United States of America what it is today (Morrison, 1999, 45).

Manifest Destiny was based on the belief that the United States of America was bound to expand all over the world. In the 1840, the Democrats used the idea to justify their invasion of Mexico during the Mexican war. It provided the motivation to wage war against its neighbors in a bid to include them in the United States of America. However, the idea did not become that popular because the reasons given by its proponents for expansion were not of national interest. For instance, the idea that Manifest Destiny was meant to end slavery and slave trade in the world significantly limited its prominence. In the Southern states, there was a feeling that the North was trying to get them into the Union so as to stop slavery in the South. It should be noted that Southern states were less industrialized and depended on slaves to provide labor in their farms. Thus, abolishing slavery would effectively make them economically vulnerable. However, it is clear that annexing of Mexico as well as the Southern states into the United States of America was a significant step in making Manifest Destiny a reality. It convinced the government that the United States could achieve whatever it committed itself to, and this remains a motivation among its citizens to date (Lambert, 1999, 23).

In conclusion, the Great Awakening and the Enlightenment motivated all cadres of people of the United States to particulate in the American Revolution. The two issues brought a sense of self-determination among the people, thereby causing them to rebel against the established systems. In addition, it is evident that religious disunion has always triggered a sense of rebellion among people. This was evident during the American Revolution and the Civil War.

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