2016 Essay Contest Second Place, Senior Division

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Sierra Goldman, 10th Grade

Post-1865: Effects of the War

Even after the raging fire of war flickered out, the destruction was everlasting. The number of lives lost was appalling. Everyone was touched in one way or another. The war left an imprint on America, a feeling that would never fade, rooted itself into the core of America.

After four years of battles and shed blood, soldiers finally went home. Many of whom were ragged and exhausted, returned to their families to pick up where they left off. So many lives were lost that almost everyone knew of someone that did not return home. People learned that war was not as romantic as they once viewed it.

The South’s devastation was most prominent, being the center of the conflict. Land was scorched and the once wealthy aristocrats, in a less than graceful manner, were dethroned. The South’s once thriving economy, founded in an empire of slaves, found itself in ashes. Many of the towns and cities who proudly paraded their affluence, were reduced to rubble and ruins. In the wreckage came criminals, those who wished to take advantage of the chaos.

Millions of slaves were trying to find their purpose in life, with the newly acquired gift of freedom. Not everyone was so keen on the freedom of the slaves, and tried to repress their chainless lives. Racial divisions were sharply cut in society, a problem that would not be resolved for another hundred years. While the slaves were still oppressed in many ways, they begun to learn what it was like to be an American. Inspired by slaves’ struggles, women started to stand up and speak against gender inequality.

It is the responsibility of anyone who calls themselves an American, to remember what happened during those bloody four years of war. Preservation of property and history itself, helps us understand all aspects of the events that transpired. We assimilate history so we can avoid taking the same road as our ancestors. It is our duty to grow from other’s experiences and mistakes, in order to better ourselves and the world that we call home.