2015 Essay Contest First Place, Junior Division

Maya, 7th grade

Teacher: Ms. Summers
School: Central Middle School | Columbus, IN

1864-65: Bringing the War to a Close

The Civil War altered the course of history in the United States as a shift in the wind alters the flight of a leaf through the air; entirely and unforgivingly. “The Southern Rebellion” snatched the lives of over 620,000 people, and shook the country in grief beyond compare. It identified heros and has become mandatory in the education of new generations, for more reasons than one.

The preservation of history is vital to both our present and future. The past holds choices that had the power to change society’s lifestyle and outlook entirely. Through these choices, many mistakes were made. Mistakes are imminent, though learning from them can be a saving grace. That is what our generation gains when we understand history. We have the power to grow wiser from those in the past when we comprehend what affects choices can have, and how specific events in history can be related to those happening today. When we fail to preserve history, reliving horrifying incidents from the past is a risk.

The Civil War was a huge step in the development of the Unites States, as well as a learning experience for future generations. It began the enforcement of the phrase “...all men are created equal…” as stated in the Declaration of Independence. The process of treating those with different skin tones as equals had finally begun. However, this was a huge cause of chaos for those all over the United States; those from the South had to adjust to an entirely new lifestyle. Blacks were fighting to start life anew, which included the trouble of supporting themselves and their families. It took years for acceptance to progress enough for blacks to even begin trying to live similarly to whites. However, the benefits of that choice today are mammoth, as our country is united in a way we weren’t before.

Looking back at history today, some choices made in the past can seem foolish. Many people don’t stop to consider we might be taking similar courses of action if we didn’t have the wisdom other’s experience has provided us. The Civil War is a fantastic example of how risks have had effects that forever changed the USA. We would do well to remember that historical example of something seemingly catastrophic becoming beautiful.

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