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The American Civil War is quite possibly the defining moment in American history The experiment of democracy was put to the absolute test and the population responded accordingly It is debatable whether or not this was a revolution Scholars have wrestled with this issue for many years A revolution is a change in power from the old order to a new order A revolution must be both external and internal This means that the underlying social situation must change as well as the obvious political situation In my opinion I do not believe that the American Civil War fits these criteria The American Civil War was not a revolution in the external sense The economical and political structure of the North and South was not significantly changed The economy of the pre-war North was highly industrial Those that argue that the war was a revolution say that the North experienced an industrial explosion after the war which in turn altered their economy This did not happen While the North did experience a time of prosperity after the war their economy did not experience any major change in direction Many technological advances that were implemented during the post-war years had already been introduced years before the war started The North had always been strong industrially The war simply gave this industry an outlet for its goods Their economy simply experienced an acceleration and not a change in direction The Southern economy did not experience a change in direction either The economy of the South was completely destroyed during the war and not sufficiently rebuilt afterwards Some minor attempts at starting an industrial based economy were made but were not followed through This led to the South maintaining their previous agrarian based economy to sustain its needs The South did not industrialize until well into the 20th century when war factories were built there The governments of the North and South did not change fundamentally either The
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