Essay Contest 2011 Second Place, Senior Entry

Jessica Riemesch, 11th Grade

Teacher: Mr. Joe Foster
School: Waynesfield-Goshen Local Schools, Waynesfield, OH  

Preserving 150 Years of History: Secession and the War’s Beginnings

History is one of those words that has endless meanings. Its complex layers are intertwined so intricately that, when unfolded, they create a delicate masterpiece of triumphs and failures. The history of the United States is no different, and the Civil War is an irreplaceable part of that history. In just four years, our country was torn in two and then reunited to make it what it is today, which is why it is our duty to protect it.

In 1860 and 1861, our country was ripped apart. Southern states seceded from the Union, leaving our country in pieces. The fight over states versus federal power, political parties and slavery had boiled over to something bigger than a fight: It had become a war. Men from all over the country came together to fight for what they believed in. If we don’t preserve the sacred grounds where they selflessly spilled their blood, it will be lost forever.

The history that is wrapped up in the Civil War battlefields is a vital building block to our current country and government. Remembering and preserving, not only battlefields, but also sites such as Fort Sumter and Bleeding Kansas that started the war, remind us of the mistakes and efforts our predecessors made. It was these mistakes and efforts that transformed our country and opened people’s eyes to see the desperate need for change. As modern corporations try to take over the hallowed battlegrounds, we need to open our eyes and fight back to save the foundation of our nation.

The Civil War Sites Advisory Commission says, “The Civil War transformed a loose federation of states into a unified and confident nation…” This statement alone sums up the utter importance of preserving what is left of the Civil War. The valiant efforts put forth to save and rebuild the country are certainly worth remembering.  It is now up to us to protect this huge part of our nation’s history.

Works Cited

Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report. Ed. T. Gossett. 9 July 1996. National Park Service. 6 February 2011. <>

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