Think about the way Hobsbawm characterizes revolution (and think back to Arendt and Kumar too, if you found their approaches compelling).

Think about the way Hobsbawm characterizes revolution (and think back to Arendt and Kumar too, if you found their approaches compelling). In view of these approaches to understanding what revolution is, do you agree with Marx and Du Bois that the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process? If so, what aspects of the Civil War best exemplify “revolution” as a category? If not, what distinguishes the Civil War from other conflicts that were revolutions?

This is intended as a very open-ended discussion prompt. You do not have to draw on all of these authors to support your own analysis, but you should engage with at least a couple of them in articulating your own ideas.

I do agree that the with both Marx and Du Bois that the American Civil War did in fact follow a revolutionary process by the definitions provided to us by Hobsbawm, Arendt, and Kumar. 

Hobsbawm highlights four main points in the French Revolution; first, the French Revolution was a political AND social revolution, social meaning it affected things such as property laws and social classes (Hobsbawm, 56). Second, the middle class, or the bourgeoisie class, became the leaders of the revolution and their social interests became the driving force of the main cause. These interests were also supported by the masses or the lower classes. (Hobsbawm, 58). These interests, as expressed in Hobsbawm’s third point, were influential demands such as individual rights and freedoms. (Hobsbawm, 57). Finally, Hobsbawm, as well as Arendt and Kumar, argues that the French Revolution sets the pattern for all other revolutions to follow in its footsteps. (Hobsbawm, 55). By applying the circumstances of the American Civil War into these four points we can see how that war should be considered a revolution. 

Marx argues that the Civil War began as social and then gained political legitimacy as time went on and the war changed. He explains this by writing that the North did not start the war with the intention to abolish slavery, but originally as an economic issue about how the South should continue their work on plantations (either by expanding territory or abolishing slavery). As the war went on, the interests changed to revolve more around the complete abolishment of slavery. (Marx, 38). Next, Du Bois writes that the strike of slaves leaving the plantations and joining the Union Army had a string affect on changing the attitude about the abolishment of slavery which proves that the social interests of the masses leads the main causes of war or revolution. (Du Bois, 67). The third point is clear – these interests that slaves were fighting for had to do with individual rights and freedoms. Finally, the last point which has been argued repeatedly by every piece we have read, states that every revolution follows the pattern of the French Revolution in a way that actions by leaders lead to the mobilization of the masses that leaders cannot control. In the case of the Civil War, the beginning of the war is the ‘action of the leaders’, the strike of the slaves from the plantations and into the Union Army is the ‘mobilizing of the masses’, and the result that the leaders cannot control is the changing of the meaning of war to be about the abolishment of slavery coupled with the fact that the North eventually wins. 

Hobsbawm, in his book “The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789-1848,” characterizes revolution as a moment of discontinuity and restructuring. He writes, “A revolution is a great event in the life of a society…it is the result of a long period of development, and involves a fundamental change in the structure of society” (Hobsbawm 3). According to Hobsbawm, a revolutionary process involves the overthrow of an existing order and the creation of a new one, which may entail political, social, and economic transformations.

Similarly, Arendt argues in her book “On Revolution” that revolution is a process of mass action, in which ordinary people rise up against oppressive regimes and assert their freedom and autonomy. She writes, “The outstanding characteristic of the revolutionary event is action…action is the one activity that goes on directly between men without the intermediary of things or matter” (Arendt 35). For Arendt, revolution is not simply a political upheaval but a fundamental transformation of social relations.

Kumar’s perspective on revolution, as presented in his book “Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times,” is multifaceted. He argues that revolution involves social, economic, and cultural change, and that it can be either utopian or anti-utopian in nature. Kumar writes, “The idea of revolution is inherently utopian…But the concrete social and economic circumstances in which revolutions occur are anti-utopian” (Kumar 2). For Kumar, revolution is a complex and contradictory process that involves both the pursuit of a better world and the struggle against entrenched interests.

Marx and Du Bois both argue that the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process. Marx, in his essay “The Civil War in the United States,” contends that the conflict represented a struggle between two economic systems: “The war…was a struggle between two historical stages of the world’s industry – the slave system of the South and the wage-labor system of the North” (Marx 1). Du Bois, in his book “Black Reconstruction in America,” analyzes the role of African Americans in the reconstruction of the South after the Civil War, arguing that their participation was crucial in achieving emancipation.

I agree with Marx and Du Bois that the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process. The Civil War represented a fundamental restructuring of American society, as it abolished slavery and transformed the political, social, and economic landscape of the country. The struggle between the North and the South represented a clash between two different economic systems, and the abolition of slavery represented a major victory for those who sought to end the institution.

Furthermore, the Civil War was a moment of mass action, as ordinary people rose up against the existing order and fought for their freedom and autonomy. African Americans played a crucial role in the war effort, both as soldiers and as activists, and their participation was essential in achieving emancipation.

In conclusion, the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process, as it involved a fundamental restructuring of American society and the overthrow of an existing order. The war represented a struggle between two different economic systems, and it was a moment of mass action in which ordinary people fought for their freedom and autonomy. By analyzing the Civil War through the lens of revolution, we can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities and contradictions of this pivotal moment in American history.

Revolution is sudden change in the way a country is governed and one can be a forcibly overthrown of a government or social order, in favor of a new system. I agree with Marx and Du Bois that the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process because the Civil War era was revolutionary. It faced a scale of crises that was unbelievable in a conflict up until 1914 and they had no control signal in the western world. They are a little different because a battle is a war and a revolution is A political revolution that can result in the change of the current constitution or the total downfall of the political system which can severely affect laws and constitutions. Civil war is fought amongst citizens of the same country, while a revolution is a conflict fought in the hopes of establishing a new society by removing a government. Both the American Revolution and the Civil War were uprisings by the public and were wars forced for change because a revolution involves a violent attempt to change the way a country is governed which is what people in du bois story were trying to do. In chapter 4 of black reconstruction by W. E. Burghardt Du Bois it mentioned Edwin Ruffin and states “he jumped at conclusions instead of testing them by careful research. He knew, for instance, that the North would not fight. He knew that Negroes would never revolt.

And so war came. War is murder, force, anarchy and debt. Its end is evil, despite all incidental good. Neither North nor South had before” this shows that they did not believe slaves would revolt and it was imaginable to them. They were fighting to end it but all those in government cares about was saving the union. What led to the Civil War are similar to the same cause that led to the American Revolution. America was split between the north,south, and west which caused caused a desire for independence by one side. I’m du bois book it mentioned how they felt as though slaves should not be involved so they don’t have get any idea of rebelling while the south depended on slaves as laborers to raise food, money,crops for civilians, for then to be used for military purposes etc. what distinguishes the Civil War from other conflicts that were revolutions is that It was the longest war in American history and organized groups from the same state were fighting each other for independence or to alter governmental regulations. outside forces intervened in the majority of contemporary civil wars. Civil war can be many types of revolutions while Revolutions result in widespread protests and regime change.

Eric Hobsbawm was a British historian, who gave his view on revolution during the period 1789-1848. He found the French Revolution and Industrial Revolution to be the transformative events of Human history. The French Revolution transformed the world and had a profound effect on other nations throughout the world. “The French Revolution was not made or led by a formed party or movement in the modern sense, nor by men attempting to carry out a systematic programme. It hardly even threw up ‘leaders’ of the kind to which twentieth century revolutions have accustomed us, until the post-revolutionary figure of Napoleon. Nevertheless, a striking consensus of general ideas among a fairly coherent social group gave the revolutionary movement effective unity”. (Hobsbawm, pg. 58) Hobsbawm saw Revolution as, one that not only of political transformation, but a societal one as well.

Based on Hobsbawm’s characterization of revolutions, I can agree with Marx and Du Bios on seeing the American Civil War as a revolutionary act. The American Civil War was a war about slavery. The war did not start out as the abolition of slavery but because of the turns of events, it accomplished the abolishment of slavery. This war accomplished a radical change in society and its structure, which could be seen as revolutionary.

Marx saw the civil war as revolutionary because of how it turned out. Marx’s thought was that the war did not start as a revolution, but it became one. “The war between North and South—so runs the first excuse— is a mere tariff war, a war between a protectionist system and a free trade system…. Shall the slave-owner enjoy the fruits of slave labour in their entirety, or shall he be cheated of a portion of these by the protectionists of the North?”. (Marx, pg. 32) “One section of slaveholders will throw off the mask of loyalty; the other will content itself with the prospect of a financial compensation such as Great Britain gave the West Indian planters.69 Events themselves drive to the promulgation of the decisive slogan — emancipation of the slaves”. (Marx, pg. 51) This would be considered a social revolution, a radical change in the social structure of a society. This social change would be best exemplified as a revolution.

W.E.B. Du Bios saw the American Civil war as revolutionary because the role Black Americans played and how they changed the tide of the war from just a war between the north and the south over the expansion of slavery to the abolition of slavery. Black Americans used the war as an opportunity for freedom. They fled the oppressive hands of the plantation and its master to aid the Union in a defeat over the South. Basically, they strike causing mass economic loss for the south. The Union saw them as great assets and utilized them when they came seeking refuge. At first there was opposition, but the Blacks were relentless. “Yet, the Negroes had accomplished their first aim in those parts of the South dominated by the Federal army. They had largely escaped from the plantation discipline, were receiving wages as free laborers, and had protection from violence and justice in some sort of court. (Du Bios, pg. 7)

“The free Negroes in the North, together with the Abolitionists were clamoring. To them a war against the South simply had to be a war against slavery. (Du Bios, pg.79)

-In view of these approaches of Hobsbawn characterizes revolution, I do agree with Marx and Du Bois that the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process, most likely because of how the term of revolution is characterized as a comprehensive sense that leads to ideals of other which proportionates their well being based on Krishan Kumar: Revolution: The Theory and Practice of a European Idea. Such defined reasoning exemplifies that revolutions are meant to give people the chance to revolutionize themselves on becoming a dignified individual in society, and fight for equality, and opportunity. Marx has mentioned on how the slave system was in fact a possible infection towards the entirety of the region, in perplexing  from ‘’The slave system would infect the whole union’’ (Marx & Engels 1861) The possibility of infection characterized with Marx belief.Such thought of how a system can really abolish the whole of all, Marx detailed that the retailing of such basis of slavery is what is ideal, ‘’What would in fact take place would not a dissolution of the union, but a reorganization of it, a reorganization on the basis of slavery.’’ (Marx & Engels 1861) The vision from Marx is of the restructure of slavery is in fact a recognition of society. The agreement in my view with Dubois, comes to how Dubois has mentioned the desire on the relation of masters and servants, in how everyone should be treated with respect in any terms. ‘’I desire to assure you that the relation of master and servant as recognized in your state shall be respected.’’ (Du Bois 1935) That such matters of connection in any state shall be considerably recognized with dual respect, due to the matters of human rights. ‘’There are two theories, both rather over-eleaborated: the one that the Negro did nothing but faithfully serve his master until emancipation was trust upon him; the other that the Negro immediately, just as quickly as the presence of Northern soldiers made it possbile, left serfdom and took his sand with the army of freedom.’’ (Du Bois 1935)Aspects of the Civil War that best exemplify ‘’revolution as a category is perhaps the discernment of black individuals becoming people, as in they are fighting with others to ideally become a person that matters during that time period. Revolution to a certain extent demonstrates will of others being forceful for the best, such as how the French Revolution had occurred from the people of France which had taken a big effect amongst the world .


Dubois, W.E Burghardt. (1935) ‘’Black Reconstruction: An Essay Toward A History Of The Part Which Black Folk Played In The Attempt To Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880’’ pp 57-60

Marx, K. Engles, F (1861) ‘’Journalism On The Civil War’’ pp 50

Eric Hobsbawm treats us with the necessary context before fully diving in. Setting the stage for the “age of revolution”, the period between 1879 and 1848. A period known for revolutionary change. It marked a fundamental transformation in the way people thought about politics, society, and the world. The author supplies information such as the ethnic makeup of the world in 1800 and knowledge about the agrarian society at the time, which includes the interaction between classes. These interactions take greater importance as the reading goes on, it’s a hyperfocus. The author clearly wants us, the reader, to see it this way. The proletariat following non-proletariat leaders, the bourgeois interest for internal stability, national banks being a symbol of bourgeois stability, and so on. How the national bank is a symbol of bourgeois stability was never cleared up. The famous leader Napoleon is labeled as a revolutionary, however, for the bourgeois revolution. The author seems to have disdain for the man, identifying him as the one responsible for the destruction of the Jacobin Revolution. Overall, Hobsbawm differs from our previous readings due to defining revolution as a period of rapid change regardless of the method of how it is achieved. Hence why the industrial revolution enters the list, revolution is no longer strictly achieved by a revolt of the masses.
Marx certainly makes his opinion known about the coverage from weekly and daily newspapers of the American Civil War. He says they post two kinds of articles on repeat, one being critical of the north and the other a defense of themselves for suspicion of sympathizing with the slave states. Certain papers, during this time, are propagating the notion that the American internal conflict is being driven by a disagreement over tariffs rather than the question of slavery. Marx takes the other side, that slavery is the driver and insists the timeline does not add up for the tariff explanation. Further down the line of the readings he establishes the narrative: A slaveholding oligarchy ruled by 300k plantation owners driving the South towards a war. The war, in contrast with the newspapers, is about the system of slavery vs the system of free labor. Though initially a war about the expansion of slavery, the environment turns it into a war about the abolition of slavery.
Du Bois asserts African Americans were not passive during the war, but actively acting against the South and in favor of the North. Mainly by sabotaging Confederate infrastructure, providing intelligence to Union forces, and escaping from plantations to join the Union Army. Their labor was crucial and they eventually became an important group in the coalition, therefore some concessions were given to them. Their actions and role paved the way into making the war about the abolition of slavery rather than the expansion.
I agree with Marx and Du Bois that the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process. It was a social revolution that has determined the world as it is today, a world with a heavy and clear disgust for the institution of slavery. The Civil War marks a rapid social change and therefore its title as a “revolutionary process” is not easy to deny.

The concept of revolution has been a subject of much debate and analysis in political philosophy and history. Eric Hobsbawm, in his book “The Age of Revolution,” characterizes revolution as a sudden and rapid transformation of society that involves the overthrow of the existing political and social order. Hannah Arendt and Akhil Gupta Kumar also offer insightful perspectives on the nature of revolution. In light of these approaches, the question arises whether the American Civil War can be classified as a revolutionary process.

Marx and Du Bois argue that the American Civil War can be understood as a revolutionary process. Marx, in his writings on the Civil War, argued that it was a struggle between two opposing classes, the capitalist North and the slave-owning South. Marx believed that the Civil War was a necessary step towards the abolition of slavery and the establishment of a socialist society. Du Bois, an African American scholar and civil rights activist, saw the Civil War as a struggle for the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and the fight for their rights as citizens. He believed that the Civil War was a turning point in American history that paved the way for social and political change.

In light of these arguments, it is clear that the American Civil War can be understood as a revolutionary process. The Civil War was a period of rapid and transformative change that involved the overthrow of the existing social and political order. The abolition of slavery and the establishment of equal rights for African Americans were major changes that resulted from the Civil War. Moreover, the conflict had a profound impact on the development of American democracy and capitalism. The war paved the way for the expansion of industrial capitalism in the North and the establishment of a stronger federal government.

However, it is important to note that the American Civil War was distinct from other revolutions in some key ways. Unlike many other revolutions, the Civil War did not involve a complete overthrow of the existing government or the establishment of a new political system. The Civil War was a struggle for the preservation of the Union, not the establishment of a new government. Moreover, the Civil War was primarily a domestic conflict, rather than an international struggle against foreign powers.

In conclusion, the American Civil War can be understood as a revolutionary process. The conflict involved the overthrow of the existing social and political order and resulted in major social and political changes. However, the Civil War was distinct from other revolutions in some key ways. While it was a period of rapid and transformative change, it did not involve a complete overthrow of the existing government or the establishment of a new political system.

In many respects, the American Civil War can be seen as a revolutionary process. I see the American Civil War being categorized as both a social revolution and a political one. It was originally about the geographic expansion of new states and how they would affect the current system. Although, the initial process was not necessarily trying to change the political structure of the country, only at first interested in the expanding states and how they would be represented in congress, either as free states or slave states. There are many political aspects that started the American Civil war, but I feel it is to be looked back on as more of a social revolution. A revolution in which these fundamental social changes would eventually turn to allow more blacks into the political and economic realm of American society, leading way for more social progress following the war. This social change also brought about economic change within the South as slaves fled to join the Union Army leaving plantation owners no choice but to find other means of economic stability. The American Civil War as Marx puts it started as a “tariff war,” but was in the end centered around much more than a political redistribution, more of the true fight for freedom, which America needed to truly represent nationwide. The stark divide between the free northern states, the expanding west, and the slave-owning southern states began to stir up many revelations. Marx describes this social aspect of the revolutionary civil war as such: “The whole movement was and is based, as one sees, on the slave question. Not in the sense of whether the slaves within the existing slave states should be emancipated outright or not, but whether the 20 million free men of the North should submit any longer to an oligarchy of 300,000 slaveholders; whether the vast Territories of the republic should be nurseries for free states or for slavery.” (Marx, 13) This was the true nature of the American Civil War, but it did not become apparent in the beginning that this was the true fight that the Northern states would be sacrificing for. According to Du Bois, Frederick Douglas said at the beginning of the war in 1865, “in the interests of slavery on both sides. The South was fighting to take slavery out of the Union, and the North fighting to keep it in the Union; the South fighting to get it beyond the limits of the United States Constitution, and the North fighting for the old guarantees;—both despising the Negro, both insulting the Negro.” (Du Bois, 12)  Du Bois, goes on further explaining that “the slave, despite every effort, was becoming the center of the war.” (Du Bois, 33) This is what in turn made the Civil War so revolutionary, the strike against plantation owners, slaves fleeing the South to defend themselves, joining the Union, or being paid wages as free labor workers in the North. The choice was clear and as Du Bois quoted President Lincoln, without the negro, the North would not have won the war. “The Negro became in the first year contraband of war; that is, property belonging to the enemy and valuable to the invader. And in addition to that, he became, as the South quickly saw, the key to Southern resistance. Either these four million laborers remained quietly at work to raise food for the fighters, or the fighter starved. Simultaneously, when the dream of the North for man-power produced riots, the only additional troops that the North could depend on were 200,000 Negroes.” This revolt against the system of the South is in turn what revolutionized the United States and created an upheaval in society demanding political and social change.

Hobsbawm had a train of thought that was unique when compared to his thoughts on revolution and its outcomes when compared to previous thinkers. Hobsbawm was able to find a way to differentiate political revolutions and social revolutions by looking at the different patterns that cause them and of course their outcomes. This is a look at revolution that is very compelling as he believes that the French Revolution was more of a social revolution than a political revolution. He thinks this because the middle class in France was what drove the war and they were able to get the lower classes on board with them to expand radical social life from the previous French lifestyle where nobility and clergy are the only classes with any money or power. It is important to note that he thinks that the French Revolution is not a political revolution because there is not a radical change in the way the nation was governed it went from a monarchy to a new monarchy essentially. Hobsbawm with this differentiation can more easily put into perspective what Marx and Dubois call social revolutions.


Karl Marx is a strong believer that the civil war was a revolution and not just a war between two disagreeing sides. He stated, “Lincoln’s appeal to them, in which he threatens them with inundation by the Abolition party, shows that things are taking a revolutionary turn” (Marx). He believes that the war began without any revolutionary action or change rather just desperate south trying to maintain what they see as their entire base of political power (slavery) being weakened, and them willing to do anything to maintain and expand that power. However, the war ultimately became a radical social revolution where the main question became if slavery should be permitted at all. This is a social revolution because the war would result in massive social change for a large population in the United States that had historically been subjected to horrible conditions and working without a wage. The argument made by W.E.B DuBois is that the slaves were the ones who forced this war to be a social revolution through the actions that they took known as the general strike. The general strike was described as “the movement… against the slave system on the part of all who could find opportunity.” (Dubois 64). Through the actions and general strike of the slaves the North was forced to consider their freedom as a goal of their war effort, in turn making the civil war a radical social revolution.


In my opinion, the reasons given by both Marx and Dubois for why the American civil war is a social revolution are very compelling and I agree that it turned out to be a social revolution. The parts of their argument that most exemplify the social revolution patterns are that a population that was subjected to major hardship began to resist through the “general strike.” The war then became a question of if they should be freed. Another parallel that civil war has with the French Revolution is that one side was fighting to maintain the status quo and the other was fighting for change, especially for a social class. Overall, I concur that the civil war has more than enough historical evidence to be considered the revolutionary process Marx and Dubois believed in.

Eric Hobsbawm was a Marxist historian and the most widely recognized British historian in the world by the time of his death in 2012. He was a fierce critic of nationalism – which he made extenuatingly clear through his works and argued that nationalism was driven by industrial capitalism which undermined the universalist goals proposed by revolutionary movements.

Hobsbawm objectively described a revolution as a series of popular movements that instigated the fall of political regimes. His objective definition personally makes me think back to Arendt’s initial definition of revolution(s) – as she argued that revolutions are political notions that confront us with a severed line of expectation and reality in our world and are an urgent call to action with such ideals of freedom and change (Arendt, 21).

Considering this, I do agree with Marx and Du Bois in their respective perspectives on considering the American Civil War to be understood as a revolutionary process. The most evident aspect of the Civil War to exemplify this movement as a revolution is that the Civil War changed the balance of political power between the feuding opposites in America – the North and the South – which significantly sped up the appearance of industrial capitalism in the post-war period. This, however, stumps me with Hobsbawm because he would consider the American Civil War to have been a nationalist movement driven by industrial capitalism – which according to him – would defy the very purpose of revolutionary movements.

Hobsbawm in a way praises the French Revolution and proceeds to explain why, he says “The army … conquered; it paid for itself; more than this, its loot and conquests paid for the government” (Hobsbawm, 73). Although I understand his perspective and, in a way, I agree it’s shocking how they managed to conquer, pay for the revolution, and pay for the government, I don’t think it is something that should be praised because it came at the expense of many. The looting specifically is not something that should be praised much less encouraged. Hobsbawm viewed the French Revolution, and all subsequent revolutions in Europe, as “dual revolutions” – where the demand for political change came on top of rapid industrial and economic changes.

In Hobsbawm’s “The Age of Capital (1975)” he briefly described nationalism as a nightmare of nations while writing about revolutions where he also revealed that political movements can only be considered to be revolutions if it is between two different countries or nations – which would be the criteria the American Civil War does not meet for Hobsbawm.

Arendt and Kumar characterized revolution as a change in the traditional social, economic, and political aspects, looking for freedom and oriented to the future. At the same time, Hobsbawm (a Marxist) considered the predominant tendency of the revolutions (mainly the French Revolution and the British Industrial Revolution) towards the capitalism and liberalism of today. 

Thus, despite Marx considered the war between North and South to be a mere tariff war, a war between a protectionist system (North) and a free trade system (South) and that it was nothing but a fight for the forcible maintenance of the Union, I agree with Marx and Du Bois about American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process because it involved the battle between the old and the new tendencies, plus the contributions of the black people in revolting and joining to the Federal (Northern) Army, outnumbering more the South Army. This process became critical and finally changed the whole structure of the United States after the conclusion with the fulfillment of the North´s objectives:

  • Abolition of slavery and integrity of the nation
  • Improving the future of the people by keeping the rights and political pluralism of all the citizens.

The wish for freedom in front of the metropolis caused the independent process of the 13 colonies in front of England in 1776. The desire for independence also caused the independent movements of South America and Mexico in front of Spain. What distinguishes the American Civil War (04/12/1861-04/09/1865) from other revolutions like the previously mentioned is the confrontation of their nationals due to different ideologies between South and North: political (secessionism of democrats versus integrity of republicans), social (slavery versus abolitionism and race equality) and economic (agriculture versus industry). Besides, it did not take the typical cycle of revolutions that arise and fall, returning to the initial point. 

I found the readings to be very dense and hard to summarize nonetheless, Hobsbawn opposed nationalism and seemed to side more so with Karl Marx’s theory of revolution. Karl Marx theory of revolution generally revolved around capitalism and lost identity in my opinion. Hobsbawn on the other hand conveyed that a dual revolution consisted of both the industrial revolution in Europe alongside the political revolution in France.  He noted that the French Revolution divided impacted and influenced ideologies of the nation specifically, “the codes of law, the model of scientific and technical organization, not to mention the metric system of measurement for most countries” (Hobsbawn 1962). Moreover, Karl Marx’s perspective of revolution was geared towards the economic development of a nation which was primarily rooted in capitalism. As a pro -communist, he noted that the true cause of the American Civil War was the main concern of tariff and free trade.  Moreover, Marx outlined that revolution is merely a sudden change and shift between both political power and organization and in this case of the American Civil War it was specific to the self-interest of the nation to protect its resource protection (free trade) while advancing a newly developed relationship for America’s economic system. Nonetheless, this mass social revolution recalibrated global capitalism blinding other nations and their true identities while supporting global elite systems of working oppression and in this case the bondage of the African Americans.

On Du Bous perspective and the aspects of the civil war that best exemplify revolution is the African American revolution is achieving personal freedom. The civil war both shifted the political structure from the processes of establishing or reestablishing businesses, labor classes, and overall treatment for the African American in both the north and the south.  Nonetheless, this came with a price, although many of the slaves wanted to work for themselves and actually live it would come with defensiveness and sometimes even death.  The revolution of the civil war was a ideological restructure of value and truths for all men regardless of color.  An overall time in history to proclaim and all shift into a mindset of equality for all.  Du Bois elaborates on the greatest systematic organization that started to take took in Louisiana and spread through the south. This was the beginning of not only a ideological restructure but also a reconstruction to the slavery system that failed due to weather conditions, bank failure and the war.  Revolution in other words for the civil war was a place of reconstruction.

Absolutely, Marx and Du Bois should be understood as a revolutionary process because when there is true revolution there is war, a reconstructed political and economical system. This prime movement challenges current social classes sometimes dividing them like the north and the south of the American civil war. These challenges brought in both civil and capital ideologies. Lastly, it is evident that Karl Marx, a revolutionary like Du Bois agreed that wars birth revolution which targets social classes (hierarchies) structures and the state of constitutive capitalism.

Asking the question if the civil war was a revolution is truly as very difficult question to assess because my view would argue that it has the traits of a revolution but isn’t a full revolution. The first major point in this is that to the Confederacy it was in a way a revolution from the union. The Confederacy revolted from the union because they wanted to live under their own laws and have lower taxes than that of the Union states. It’s not well known, but in the beginning of the Civil War, the Union didn’t care to abolish slavery. The main goal that Abe Lincoln sought after was to preserve the union and save the country keeping it as one. The minute the emancipation proclamation was signed, the war became half a revolution for both sides. The Union wanted to abolish slavery as well as save the confederate states to make them follow union laws. For the Confederacy side of things, this made this even more of a revolution because they had more to revolt against. In that time in American history Slavery for the south influenced their economy a ton more than that of the union. The South now had a lot more to fight for than that of the Union. In a revolution one side usually has their backs against the wall. In this instance it was more so the South because they felt they had to fight to preserve the current threshold of laws that they carried.

To the Unions point of view the war became a revolution because they added the incentive that many of its own soldier were fighting to be fully free in the country with if the Union won the war, Black would now be able to be free because slavery would be outlawed in all of the land. I argue that this isn’t a full revolution because the confederacies play wasn’t that of overthrowing the union and taking over union states. The whole point of the war for the confederacy was to secede from the union. Not that of taking out all union territories. Comparing this to the American Revolution which is a full on “Revolution” by definition, this war didn’t have a whole new system in place for both parties partaking according to that of the confederates plan. In the American Revolution, the plan was to fully overthrow English order in the colonies and create a whole new system of government. I’d argue the civil war would’ve been a full on revolution had the confederates overtook the union and enacted their own views and laws to that of union states.

Eric Hobsbawm defines revolution as a fast, fundamental, and violent change in the political, social, and economic areas of a society. According to Hobsbawm, revolutions represent getting rid of old systems and the establishment of a new order. This closely resembles Hannah Arendt’s view of revolution since she believes that a revolution is a crucial event that introduces a new political system, followed up by the creation of a new society and institutions. In addition, I agree with Marx and Du Bois that the American Civil War was indeed a revolutionary process.

Karl Marx, in his journalism on the American Civil War, argued that the conflict was a revolutionary struggle between the North and the South over the future of the American economy. In Karl Marx’s ‘Journalism on Civil War ‘, Marx wrote “the present struggle between the South and North is, therefore, nothing but a struggle between two social systems, the system of slavery and the system of free labour. The struggle has broken out because the two systems can no longer live peacefully side by side on the North American continent. It can only be ended by the victory of one system or the other (Marx, pg.50).” Marx viewed the war as a clash between the industrialized North and the slave dependent South, which he believed was a critical turning point in the history of the United States. Marx stated that the victory of the North represented the triumph of industrialism over slave labor, paving the way for the future development of the United States as an industrial power.

Similarly, W.E.B. Du Bois, in his book ‘Black Reconstruction in America’, argued that the Civil War represented a revolutionary moment in American history. Du Bois saw the war between the North and the South as a conflict between two different economic systems, more specifically the rise of industrial capitalism and its impact on the Souths reliance on enslaved people. He also mentioned the struggles that Black Americans went through with slavery and racism. Du Bois conveyed that the abolition of slavery and the destruction of the southern plantation system characterized a revolutionary moment in American history that opened the way for the development of a more democratic society.

There are several aspects of the Civil War that exemplify revolution as a category. The abolition of slavery and the dismantling of the centuries old plantation system represented doing away with past systems and the establishment of a new order. Furthermore, the Civil War was a transformative moment in American history that had far-reaching consequences for the future development of American society.

In conclusion, the American Civil War brought about a fundamental change in all aspects of the United States. The victory of the North was the start of a new society that will now integrate Black people and push for equality to the newly freed enslaved men and women.

Hobsbawm talks about the period of the dual revolution that expands from 1798 to 1848. The dual revolution refers to the political and societal changes of the French Revolution and the industrial (British) revolution. He also talks about words that become new concepts or gain new meaning in sixty years. Words such as ‘middle class’, ‘capitalism’, ‘socialism’, etc. Without these words, the modern world is not the same which showcases the impact the revolution had on human history. “The French Revolution thus remains the revolution of its time, and not merely one, though the most prominent, of its kind” (Hobsbawm, 55). This quote reminds me of Kumar’s statements where he also believed the French revolution was the pioneer revolution that would, later on, affect future revolutions.

Also, the French Revolution was led by the middle class, but the people want more change and the leadership splits. Therefore, there will be two sides a left-wing group and a conservative group. “masses pushing beyond the moderates’ aims to their own social revolutions, and the moderates, in turn, splitting into a conservative group henceforth making common cause with the reactionaries, and a left-wing group determined to pursue the rest of the as yet unachieved moderate aims with the help of the masses, even at the risk of losing control over them” (Hobsbawm, 62). Moreover, the French revolution is a good example of the process of revolution where it can be seen different possibilities that will reappear later on in history with revolutionary movements.

On the other hand, I do agree with Du Bios and Marx that the American Civil War was a revolutionary process. The American Civil war was arguably a failed revolution to some people it would transform the political, social, and economic landscape of the United States of America. Both Du Bios and Marx agree that the American Civil War changed the social structure of the United States of America and that’s why it should be considered a revolution. The reason the Civil War is a revolution is that it stopped economic exploitation by the means of slavery, and it transformed the structure of the American economy. “It was a strike on a wide basis against the conditions of work. It was a general strike that involved directly in the end perhaps a half million people. They wanted to stop the economy of the plantation system and to do that they left the plantations” (Du Bios, 67). Lastly, Marx’s view that what made the Civil war into a revolutionary war was the Emancipation Proclamation and arming black soldiers. These are the reasons why the American Civil War would be considered a revolution.

Getting to go through the three readings for the week has definitely helped to deepen my understanding of what the definition of revolution is. Given the explanation from Arendt in last weeks module and my own definition that I was able to extract and outline in last weeks definition I was able to apply the concept to this weeks readings. What stood out to me the most was the accounts given by Marx and Dubois of the American Civil War. It was useful to have the outside perspective of Marx, with his political stance being in direct contrast to the fairly new capitalist that was being implemented by the United States. Alongside Dubois it provided insight into the war from someone who was alive for the events that lead it to happen versus someone who was able to look back after it was all said and done. Marx points out that the election of Lincoln was a signal for secession of the south and that Lincoln’s election was only a result of the vote being split on the Democrats side. This fits well with the understanding I got from reading Arendt and how she explains that in the midst of revolution that the events leading up to the point where the old cycle is no longer maintained, that the actors aren’t necessarily aware of what’s happening. Marx doesn’t explicitly point this out but instead gives detail to the chain of events that lead to the “new thing” as I described in my personal definition. With my limited understanding provided by last weeks readings and now Hobsbawm and Marx, I drew my own conclusion that if Lincoln had not won the election we may still have slavery in the south. However, that theory was thrown out the window after I began reading Black Reconstruction (I had mentioned my theory to my friend and he said Debois de-busted my theory). Debois explained further how at the beginning of the war the north and south were relatively agreeable on their stance towards slaves, that they were inferior and “meant to be” slaves. Where they differed, with the south wanting to expand slavery and the north wanting to contain it, is where the revolution in this case would stem from. This changed my understanding as compared to last week because, unlike the French and American revolution leading to war, in my perspective the attempted secession and resulting war lead to the revolution of abolition. Perhaps if the south had been content with the confinement of slavery or the north had been with the loss of territory and access to the gulf and coastal waters we might still have slavery. But with the realization the north had with being unable to maintain the old chattel slavery system alongside free labor in the north, it was realized that an entirely new system (a revolution) was needed for the Union to continue as a nation.

Briefly revisiting the last assessment of what constitutes an event to be considered a true revolution, or albeit a revolution, can be the overall quality to herald in a complete societal change. An event that reorders, restructures, and reincarnates the predeceasing norms to the extent that creates a clear distinction between past and present beyond the mere changing of political power. Bearing this in mind, and deducing through application, there can be noticeable connections between this definition and the events that contributed to and consequenced the American Civil War. In common retrospect, the ripple effects caused by the war dramatically altered the status quo of Southern Life. In the Span of four years coupled with reconstruction, the Southern states went from a society built on the foundational values of master-property relations; that structured a world that placed the Blacks in a prime position of everlasting submissiveness, to the “equal” and open coexistence; that enabled freedmen to, by and large, be afforded the gradual right of movement. In essence, the south went from a collective mentality of identifying blacks in the same fashion as cattle to members of society who could now partake in regular life without being tied to an individual(i.e. segregation). However, this idea of movement does not merely apply to the individual but to the population as a whole which could now expand its reach to areas that could present different opportunities further breaking down the inter-dependency that dominated the years prior to the war. Nevertheless, the war itself with its causes can be further tied to this idea of “revolution”.  As seen in the work of W.E.B Du Bois, the process of the war presented to the slaves a reflection of their value to not only the white southern populations but more importantly to their being. By realizing that a fierce southern dependence on their labor was evermore present and only exacerbated by the white-male departure could the slaves understand their true position in the system(Du Bois, pg.59). Reazling they wielded power, slaves simply walked off their plantations in droves and commenced the decay of the institution that bounded them with ferocity. An institution we might say defined life in the so-called “cotton belt” was broken down with little opposition nor any aggression. As Due Bois points out, there was no need for any outright violence or revenge as the slaves had options to access freedom, and their decision to pounce on an opportunity enabled them to stop their grueling work was a way of expelling a system that abused their presence to the maximum(Du Bois, Pg.66-67). The act of mass exodus from an institution(s) in which the absence of collapses a society is revolutionary in its purest form.

Eric Hobsbawm details revolution as a rapid and profound social, economic, and political transformation that occurs when a significant portion of society seeks to replace the existing social order with a new one; “Revolution is a sequence of political changes which occur with dramatic suddenness within a relatively short period, and which result in a change of the social structure and the use of power.” (Chapter 1)

He sees revolution as a collective and violent process that often arises from a combination of long-standing structural problems, such as class inequalities or economic crises, and sudden triggers, such as war, famine, or political repression. Hobsbawm emphasizes that revolutions involve not only the overthrow of existing power structures but also the creation of new institutions and ways of life. Additionally, he argues that revolutions are not merely events, but long-term processes that continue to shape society even after the initial upheaval has subsided.

Marx and Du Bois argued that the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process. Marx viewed the war as a class struggle between the slaveholding South and the industrializing North, which resulted in the abolition of slavery and the consolidation of capitalist power in the North. Du Bois, on the other hand, argued that the Civil War was a struggle for the liberation of the enslaved black population and that the war fundamentally transformed the social and political landscape of the United States.

Based on Hobsbawm’s characterization of revolution as well as Marx and Dubois’s claims, it is possible to see the American Civil War as a revolutionary process. The war resulted in a profound transformation of American society bringing about long-term political consequences i.e, the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, which expanded civil rights and protections for citizens and led to the reconstruction of the Southern states and the expansion of federal power; alongside the likeness of the events to the summarization given by Hobsbawms. Contrastingly, there is validity in the arguments made against characterizing the American Civil War as a revolution, as some historians argue that the war did not fundamentally alter the power relations between the ruling classes and the working classes and that the economic and social structures of the United States remained largely intact after the war. Knowing this, despite the multitude of diverse claims and perspectives, the civil war, and its preceding/succeeding events all amalgamate to showcase revolutionary change.

About Marx, I argue that since his article was published in October of the same year that the war started there is no way he could have known the role of the slave population at that very moment. This doesn’t mean his argument is incomplete, in fact his argument is the beginning and inspiration for W.E.B. Du Bois book later published in 1868 right after the war had ended.

In my opinion, by reading Marx it can be noticed (contrary to what he says) that the question of slavery was on the table from the very begging of the war. Page 34 says “what essentially distinguished the constitution newly hatched. . . was that now for the first time slavery was recognized as an institution good in itself and as the foundation of the whole state edifice, whereas the revolutionary fathers. . . had treated slavery as an evil imported from England and to be eliminated in the course of time” (Marx), On the other hand, Du Bois explains that the civil war “was a white man’s war to preserve the Union” (55)  and that it was not indented to free slaves even though that would later be the case.

Du Bois continues and says something easy but very compelling, that the North population could not care less about the slaves and that they would have never fought for such purpose, so the slogan of the emancipation would not have worked (56), what the North and the West wanted was to the keep the country together, industrialization, and free trade, and that idea would have been more compelling to the over-sighted white population of the south, who did not have lands or slaves.

Eric Hobsbawm, who regards the French Revolution as one of the most important ones, believed that American society did not look much different after the Civil War, while on the contrary, the French Revolution involved the abolition of the monarchy and the end of feudalism, which is clearly a more significant change for him. However, the American civil war perhaps did not end a monarchy, but it did represent a substantial change of the political, social, and economic system in United States.

A political revolution is a transformation on how society is governed, the economic system, patterns of government, power and how they are exercised.  The American Civil War was indeed a revolutionary one because it changed the American social structure forever. Whether it started by coincidence or by calculated purpose is insignificant compared to the result of it, the abolition of the slavery system in United States. Marx often emphasizes the role of social classes during revolutionary times. For him, the idea of revolution involves a complex combination of elements such as the social structure, class struggle, and the daily conditions of society. The slaves themselves played the most important role during the civil war as the oppressed class. Both the North and South forgot that there were almost 4 million black slaves in the South and that their actions and “withdrawal and bestowal of labor” (Du Bois 57) would decide the war in what Du Bois considers the general strike. The social conditions, as Marx would explain, were given, and the oppressed class took advantage in the best way they could. Just the sole fact that the slaves left the plantations with the intention of estopping the economy (not because they were lazy), and joined their forces with those of the Union, makes the Civil War and Revolution and not just a war.

Hobswbawm’s monograph is wonderfully organized. As a historian (or historian to be), I truly appreciate when scholars divide their writing in a way in which they provide background information, and start building up their arguments as they go, tying everything they argue to the background story (the facts) they are giving. I identified the purpose of the book as not to exactly explain the existence of the elements of a revolution, but rather “to explain their triumph” (pp. 3). Thus, if I may paraphrase what Hobswbawm argues beautifully, is that revolution(s) are triumphant, because without them throughout the period of 1789 and 1848, then we will not have everything we do today (terms, isms, military tactics, politics, economy, and much more). To this, then he moves to explain the background of Europe in the 18th century, then the French Revolution as a main event. Every time he made a statement of where exactly a term or a concept comes from, it was incredible how almost everything we know comes from this exact period of time. This is his ultimate goal with this book.
Now moving to Marx and Dubois: I am not intending to study American history at all, less so the 19th century and the Civil War. Thus, I had almost no previous knowledge of the American Civil War, more than the fact that it was a war of North against South. Like with Hobswbawm, I truly appreciated the background information beforehand, because without it. I would not have been able to understand their writings and arguments.
Both Marx and Du Bois not only argue that the North fought the South and how the slaves were involved in all the events, but more importantly, they both agree that it was indeed the emancipation of slavery, and/or the fight against any of the current ways of living, it was indeed a revolutionary movement for the history of the United States. If, as I stated in the previous discussion, a revolution is a movement that insists o change, then I do agree with them that the American Civil War is considered a revolutionary movement. It is a challenge against the then-current laws, sanctions, labor, economy, and, most importantly, slave labor in the United States. I do love reading Karl Marx because he was a person that insisted that it is people who make history and that change (of course, his major change is from capitalism to communism in his famous Manifesto) is only doable with revolution. Du Bois takes this approach by analyzing the black people in the Civil War.
This is certainly a new way for me to understand the Civil War. I always saw revolutions as a movement from a group of people revealing their own leaders: the common workers revolting against ancient regimes, monarchies, and aristocracies. In this case, the war was Americans versus Americans, with different points of view, but still Americans. This is why, in my opinion, sometimes this 19th-century event can be viewed as non-revolutionary, as it does not go with our modern understanding of revolution.

The American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, is often called a “war of revolution.” This is because it marked a significant transformation in American society and government and resulted in the abolition of slavery and the establishment of the principle of federal supremacy over state sovereignty. Here are several reasons why the Civil War can be considered a revolution:

First and foremost, slavery was abolished in the United States as a result of the Civil War. Although the subject of slavery had long been divisive in American politics, the Confederate States of America, which were formed when southern states seceded from the Union, was ultimately responsible for starting the war. The Union was dedicated to the eventual abolition of slavery, but the Confederacy was built on the idea of preserving and advancing it. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the emancipation of all slaves in Confederate-held territory in his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. Although it did not immediately free all slaves in the United States, it was a significant step in abolishing slavery.

Second, the Civil War resulted in a notable increase in federal power over state sovereignty. Many Americans thought that the federal government’s authority should be restricted and that states should have the freedom to make their own decisions on significant matters like slavery before the conflict. But this power dynamic was dramatically altered by the war. The Union’s victory established the idea that the federal government had the right to uphold its interests and implement its laws, even if doing so meant violating the rights of individual states. This idea has had long-lasting effects on American politics and government, and it still influences discussions of the federal government today.

Thirdly, American society underwent numerous changes as a result of the Civil War. Thousands of Americans lost their lives in the conflict, which also left a great deal of pain and instability across the country. However, it also sparked several significant changes. Women were given the chance to step into new roles in society as a result of the war, both at home and in the military. It also paved the way for important advances in medicine and technology, as doctors and inventors worked to find new ways to treat wounded soldiers and improve military equipment. The war also prompted significant political reforms, such as the adoption of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which gave African Americans the right to citizenship and the right to vote.

Apart from all of these advancements and changes, the most notable advancement was the abolition of slavery. As Du Bois believed, abolishing slavery was just the first step in making the United States a more democratic nation. By instilling a foundation of equality, every American has the potential to benefit. These new benefits are not only limited to African Americans but women and anyone else who immigrates to the United States. Though Du Bois acknowledged that the American Civil War began because of the South’s dependence on slaves, he believed that the injustice of slavery outweighed the economical hardship the South would endure without slavery.

As demonstrated, Marx and Du Bois correctly understood the American Civil War as a revolution. It transformed American society and government, led to the abolition of slavery, expanded federal power over state sovereignty, and spurred important advances in medicine, technology, and women’s rights. While the war was undoubtedly a painful and traumatic event, its lasting impact on American history cannot be denied.

Revolution can be defined as a turn of events or in general just a turn/rotation. Using that term within politics or governing systems, it’s about the forcible change of a government or social order. This force brings the favoring new system in. The civil war was a total uprising of his was a definite revolution as it was the beginning of the end of slavery and many injustices that came from that. It was also a revolution due to the catastrophic hold it had encompassed in comparison to wars before it, in total it cost the nation over 600,000 lives… more than all previous wars fought combined. If not just the revolution of economic, socialistic change, it opened the eyes of what war can become. The civil war also preserved the United States as one nation it issued:  equality for all Americans, the establishment of the federal government, and the effort to represent differing cultural values under a single national flag. Revolutionizing the impact citizens have on their government and what it meant to be one nation. The moment that being an informed voter/ and active citizen had true meaning, is just another add to how this became such a turn of a century war.


Marxs and Du Bois declared that the American civil war was a revolution due to the destruction of slavery.  Not as a social revolution but as one economical one. Marx states,” Lincoln is not the product of a popular revolution…an aver- age person of goodwill, was placed at the top by the interplay of the forces of universal suffrage unaware of the great issues at stake. The new world has never achieved a greater triumph than by this demonstration that, given its political and social organisa- tion, ordinary people of good will can accomplish feats which only heroes could accomplish in the old world!”  I chose this excerpt to help gather my thought process of why I agree.

It is a revolution of the classes and involvement of informed citizens.  I agree that such events change class relations in the United states. When such ideas of fighting and restoring the country against session without slavery were intact, many people came to see slavery differently.  That’s why I like the idea of how he explains that the fight stems from a social war into a war with political legitimacy. Thus creating a real change in the nation

Hobsbawm’s definition of revolution, combined with Arendt and Kumar’s, provides us with a valuable lens through which to examine the American Civil War. Marx and Du Bois argue that certain aspects of this conflict best fit into the category of revolution; however, other aspects might not quite fit this mold. Hobsbawm (Hobsbawm excerpts) emphasizes revolution as a transformative event that alters social, economic, and political structures. Arendt (Arendt’s “On Revolution”) views it as an instance of public freedom where individuals come together to form a new social order. Ultimately, Kumar (Kumar’s “The Age of Revolutions”) emphasizes how revolution marks an era when political, economic, and social systems must be fundamentally rethought. In certain ways, the American Civil War can be seen as a revolutionary process. Du Bois, for example, emphasizes the role of enslaved people in bringing about this conflict and their subsequent freedom (Du Bois, “Black Reconstruction” excerpt, p. 2-3). With slavery’s end and passage of 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution that followed it, revolution officially ended for this country – aligning with Hobsbawm’s understanding of revolution as an event leading to significant structural transformation.

Conversely, Marx emphasizes the revolutionary nature of the Civil War by stressing its economic dimensions. According to Marx’ writings on this conflict, it arose out of an ideological clash between industrial North and agrarian South (Marx, “Journalism on the Civil War,” p. 4). For Marx, industrial capitalism’s triumph over slave-based economies in the South marked a paradigm shift in America’s economic structure.

However, the Civil War stands out from other conflicts traditionally considered revolutions due to its lack of ideological struggle that marked other revolutions like France or Russia. Although it was about slavery, this conflict was more of a military standoff between two established political entities than an uprising against an oppressive regime. Furthermore, Reconstruction after World War I continued with racial inequality and violence – evidence that the revolution had not fully achieved its transformative goals (Du Bois, “Black Reconstruction,” pp 18-19).

In conclusion, while the American Civil War featured certain revolutionary elements like slavery’s abolition and restructuring of political, social, and economic systems in America, it also deviated from traditional understandings of revolution as mass uprisings led to a radical new social order. Drawing from works such as Hobsbawm’s, Arendt’s, Kumar’s, Marx’s and Du Bois’ works helps us recognize that this conflict could be seen as an original revolutionary process and distinct type of conflict.

When looking back on how I defined revolution I reinforced the idea that a true revolution is an attempt to radically change the foundation of the public realm and transform the existing political order while also depending on the pursuit of freedom as the core of the movement. Analyzing the American Civil War through Karl Marx and W. E. B. Du Bois’s perspective, it’s clear that this historical event had revolutionary elements. However, in my own perspective, the war itself cannot be classified as a revolution. In W.E. B. Du Bois’s exemplary work, the Black Reconstruction, he argued that the North “…repeatedly declared the object of the war as the preservation of the Union and that it did not propose to fight for slaves or touch slavery…” (62), a similar argument made by Marx. The primary push for the American Civil War was the tension brewing between the expansion of the plantation system in the South and the expansion of the free labor system in the North. The defining moment of the American Civil War was when the North armed Black soldiers and the production of global cotton were brought to a halt. This wasn’t merely the superficial desire to not work in the South, but a “…strike on the wide basis against the conditions of work [, and also their legal and social status, which was oppressive and inhumane contrary to the South’s released statements justifying chattel slavery] …” (Du Bois, 67).  Arming former slaves completely altered the reasoning for initiating the American Civil War, rather than it being simply a war focused solely on the Union it ultimately became a war focused on ending slavery in the South.

While the dynamics of the American Civil War changed, bringing about a radical change in the public realm and becoming a war focused on the pursuit of freedom, for the former slaves and to a certain degree the poor white, there wasn’t a change in the existing political order. For example, looking into the Russian Revolution of 1917, which in my opinion can be seen as a true revolution, there was a complete eradication of the Russian Imperial rule and a reformation of the ruling government. In contrast, the American Civil War did not abolish the existing government. Despite the civil war not meeting the conditions of a revolution, it still instituted a radical change within the country by transforming the premise of the American Civil War.

Hobsbawm describes a revolution in his book “The Age of Revolution” as a fundamental alteration of civilization spurred on by mass public uprising. With the help of this description, revolution is a fundamental societal shift. When considered in this light, the case for viewing the American Civil War as a transformative movement is convincing. This claim was made by Marx and Du Bois.

The American Civil War was a pivotal moment in the past, and it had lasting effects on the nation’s governmental and economic systems. One party was determined to maintain enslavement, while the other was dedicated to its eradication. This battle put two radically opposed social ideals against each other. “On the whole, however, the typical cultivator was unfree, and indeed almost drenched by the flood of serfdom which had risen almost without a break since the later fifteenth or early sixteenth centuries.”[1] Two essentially divergent social views were at odds with one another in this war. Due to the organization of public movements on both sides of the fight and the enormous transformations in governmental authority and economic connections that followed the war, it is feasible to view the American Civil War as a transformative movement. The way that the American Civil War attacked and finally abolished a profoundly rooted institution of enslavement is the greatest dramatic character that characterizes rebellion. With the abolition of enslavement in the United States, the country made a clear break from its imperial history and took a significant step toward fundamentally changing its social structure.

The Civil War had several characteristics that distinguished it from past conflicts that were more often referred to be uprisings. These Civil War-specific features are distinctive. For instance, as contrasted to a national force and a domestic people, the American Civil War was conducted between opposing sides that were each citizen of the same country. “…whereas the revolutionary fathers, men steeped in the prejudices of the eighteenth century, had treated slavery as an evil imported from England…”[2] However, the governing elite in the South retained a sizable degree of authority and control after the conflict, indicating that the competition did not lead to the destruction of the which was before social and financial order.

In conclusion, even while the American Civil War may be seen as a radical movement in many ways, there are also features of the war that set it apart from earlier upheavals. Among these differences Notwithstanding this, the conflict had a fundamentally transforming impact on American culture and governance, indicating that scholars who are concerned with the essence of revolt and its impact on the path of historical progress should regard it.

The American Civil War was an extremely revolutionary process. As Du Bois discusses, the war had very little to do with the negro himself and more so with the idea of protecting the precious Union. The North’s belief that the Union had to be protected at all costs clashed with the South’s plan to maintain and protect slavery in the United States, which is what inevitably led to war. Slavery is the reason for the clash but not the cause of the war. The Union reacted passively to the South’s antics until the South began passing legislation to secede from the Union and use war tactics to do so. If the South had not threatened secession and used war as a means to protect slavery, they likely would have been able to maintain slavery in the southern states for years to come. Though northerners painted the South as violent and unhinged, the North did not particularly care to free the slaves in the South. This would not have been a point of contention of the South did not want to expand slavery into the new states and ban the Missouri compromise, and threaten secession in order to obtain this. However, once the Union was at risk from threats of secession, President Lincoln had no choice but to respond to war with war as Marx mentioned. This is what made the war that of a revolution as the inability to continue living peacefully under the current political system forced radical change. It was no longer possible to live under the system they had in place and to prevent the complete dissolution of the United States of America from anarchy, a revolution had to occur to bring America into its next phase.

Without this war, the United States as we know it would have crumbled from the clash. If the South had been able to secede and take the states that wanted to participate in slavery with it, the Union would have had to sacrifice many states to the South, and the states that were split on the decision of slavery would have went to war individually. The Union would not have been able to survive this and would have fallen. In addition, as Marx highlighted, the South needed the industrialization and free trade of the North in order to sustain its economy as they could not rely on slavery entirely for economic survival. Therefore, secession would have led to a deteriorated economy and the new state created by the South would have inevitably fallen as well. This is what made this war a revolution because it forced systemic change to keep a united nation and maintain the state’s survival.

Hobsbawm characterizes revolution as an event that does not happen instantly; instead, there are phases that occur for a revolution to form. According to Arendt, the word ‘revolution’ was originally an astronomical term that gained increasing importance in the natural sciences. She also believes a revolution is not necessarily an insurrection against a government; instead, it is when people come together hoping to change their society. While Kumar argues a revolution is driven by ideologies and cannot solely have a singular definition.

Marx and DuBois make points that the Civil War was a revolution. However, many theorists believe that it wasn’t. I think the Civil War should be treated as a revolution because it did impact our government and create a change. Due to the Civil War, slavery was able to come to an end giving African Americans in the country a better life. The Civil War also paved the way for social movements like the Civil Right Movement. My opinion on revolution is when opposing sides have two different beliefs and goes to war to make a change, whether it’s economically, socially, or politically. The Civil War happened due to the North and South not having the same views on slavery within the American society and states versus federal rights leading to both sides going to war.

Secondly, I understand why some theorists believe the Civil War was not a revolution. Due to the war happening and not overthrowing a government is considered a failed attempt at a revolution. Typically after revolutions, citizens expect a shift in the economy and power. The Civil War benefited African Americans and their quality of life. For instance, Kumar states revolutions happen due to ideology. However, when the war occurred, there wasn’t a vision of its outcome, and its goals were not made known to its citizens. The Civil War also did not happen in phases; instead, it was more instant due to disagreements and European influence.

The debate on whether or not the Civil War should be considered a revolution is here to stay. Kumar stated it would be impossible to give a revolution just one definition, which is why the topic has many theories. The Civil War brought changes that still affect us today and took on social issues that needed revising. Though many felt the war did not personally affect them, however, it was able to help many others. It all comes down to how an individual chooses how to define the word revolution.

According to the concepts of revolution of Arendt, it is when history is rewritten. It can be the synonym for a new beginning that embraces ideas of Freedom and is in favor of the majority of the people. This is the core of the constitution and political apparatus in a nation or state.
Revolutions throughout history have brought the new experience of being free, although according to Arendt most arise from a Christian liberation to a more secular government. This revolution was not unknown until the fall of the Roman Empire, which provided the experience to begin something new in human faculties.
For Arendt, the revolution arose from the modern spiritual longing for novelty at any cost.
Before the Revolution had another meaning that made reference to the regular movement and was not characterized by novelty or violence. Politically speaking, according to the 17th century, the revolution meant a return to a predetermined order and a restoration of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Thus the French and American revolutions were started by men who sought to restore an old order and give a new start to a state that had been disturbed and violated by the despotism of absolute monarchy or the abuses of colonial rule. Therefore, if we are talking about revolution, the Civil War in the United States does not qualify under the principles of seeking a new beginning. The main theme of that conflict was never to abolish slavery, rather the War between the North and the South was mainly based on a Tariff War and a fight for the North’s ambition for sovereignty. He did not seek to rewrite history in favor of freedom, although it would seem for the black slaves, at the same time according to Karl Marx, it would mean subjugating 8 million Anglo-Saxons who refused the forced maintenance of the union. The northern and southern states seemed like totally different nations, having a number of differences that made relations very complicated. The southerners based their economy on agriculture thanks to slavery, while the northerners had a much more versatile economy based on the union between agriculture and industry. The economy influenced the society and politics of the regions, being the southerners’ defenders of inequality and slavery and the northerners’ abolitionists and defenders of equality of all classes. And that for purposes of expansion of territory and agricultural and economic production, they required it to become an activity formally, and therefore would be free to work as slaves to survive.
From my point of view,  the civil war has no resemblance to the French revolution or the other revolutions, since the French revolution seeks Freedom, reconstruction, and rewriting history.

Hobsbawm, a British Historian known for large scale interpretation characterizes American politics describing the societal transformation experienced after the French Revolution during the 19th century. Although the French Revolution succeeded in abolishing the monarchy, it would still in return be taken over by Napoleon the III’s empire. In excerpts of “The Age of Revolution”, Hobsbawm’s beliefs are that the French Revolution’s social transformation was a radical change in the fundamental understandings of revolutions. Hobsbawm states” Both the French and all other revolutionary movements were to accept this view, or to adapt it, henceforth until at at least 1848.” (Pg. 65). Comparably, Arendt and Kumar relate to this argument in the conception of human history and its similarity to nature since Arrendt believed that we had to have some kind of basic right to be in a community that recognized different kinds of human rights.

Marx believed there was a possibility for there to be expansion in slave plantations since the United States was expanding westward. However, there was a constitutional reconstruction happening at that time, along with necessity for change in the system. As Marx explains, slavery needed to expand if it was going to survive as a business. Comparably, Du Bois found that the fundamental element in the Civil War is that it had to be about slavery, since there is significance when slaves left their plantation and joined union armies, since the withdrawal of slavery labor helped in the process of War and thus a revolution holds a different meaning for Du Bois since Marx’s ideas on the American Civil War are that it was because the South was unable to secure support for its social class and Du Bois took the perspective that it should be understood as a revolutionary process. For example the Civil War was inducing a social reconstruction. Ultimately, I found that a revolution can be any movement that alters society and changes history, and the Civil War has altered our social standards on a daily basis from it’s incentives to its results.

Revolution, most notably, can be characterized by what is left of the world -particularly between 1789 and 1848- in its absence. How the remnants of life and political thought can be characterized in such a world is without struggle, to where systems of oppression do not exist. Rather, the significance of such a period can be gauged through the analysis of the implications of the absence of institutions and systems of power and domination that made revolution worthwhile. These “words” as Hobsbawm says, wholly define the era in which revolution was the strongest, and allow for such characterization of revolution to apply to other events throughout history. There are many similarities of the “dual revolutions” between Britain and Frace and the American Civil War. While not outwardly presenting itself as such an excruciating struggle as the one faced by peasants of their capitalist exploitation nor the one faced by the French common men and their struggle against their ruling class and the systems which continue its existence, the American Civil War inwardly is a struggle which combines the worst of them; those who seek emancipation are not merely subjected to oppression via capitalist exploitation, they are the vessels of such exploitation which are created by their owners, in a dark literal sense. The French Revolution, to Hobsbawm, was “precipitated” by the decrease of common men officers, and the “link” of property ownership and the ruling class being continually strengthened (Hobsbawm, 16). Thus, the French Revolution -the most “defining” revolution to Kumar- can be characterized as one of class struggle; the commoner topples those who rule him and in turn the ways which his sovereignty and liberation from such rule is barred from him. He overpowers and rejects -in the British sense- the industrialization of his craft which the “class of agricultural entrepreneurs” turn him into the “large agrarian proletariat” (Hobsbawm, 17). Hobsbawm’s characterizations of revolution can contribute to Marx’s ideas on the principle of the war, as they both revolve around revolution as a means for the ruling class to “yield only to force” (Marx, 228). Additionally, Lincon -to Marx- has the mere origins of a “stone-breaker” without “intellectual brilliance” which represents the collective proletariat, who are “ordinary people of goodwill” (Marx, 250). Lincoln understands that the primary object of the war is slavery, and fights -at equal fierceness of the will of the slaves- for their emancipation. This revolutionary process has perhaps been the only successful American example of emancipation from imposed domination. The American Civil War holds in it the capitalistic exploitation from the Industrial Revolution and the loss of liberty from the ruling class and is wholly a revolution as seen by Marx and the characterization of revolution by Hobsbawm.

Prior to these readings, I was convinced that the Civil War could not be perceived as a revolution since it did not have any of the classic characteristics that can be seen in the American and French Revolutions like tyrannical governments or large scale battles for freedom. However, after reading Hobsbawm interpretation of what a revolution is and comparing that to Marx’s and Du Bois’ writings, I am convinced that the Civil War was a revolution. The importance of social change in a revolution was seen in Kumar’s and Arendt’s writing, but Hobsbawm’s definition allows a revolution to be solely defined by a major social change. The excerpt from Du Bois’ book was highly influential in changing my belief about the revolutionary nature of the Civil War. I had never thought about the actions taken by slaves and freed African-Americans during the war, simply the fact that it was a war between the North and South over the idea of slavery. The description Du Bois gives about the purpose of the war switching from stopping the expansion of slavery to the complete abolition of it aligns perfectly with Marx’s writing. I fully agree with Marx that while the war did not start as a revolutionary one, since the minute goal of stopping expansion could not possible be considered revolutionary, it became one once the Northern states began to fully embrace and fight for the abolition of slavery. This change directly happens because of the actions that Du Bois writes about. As the war went on, an increasing number of slaves began to run away from plantations in order to join the Union Army or support the Union in other ways. It was only because of these revolts by the slaves themselves that the possibility of abolition even arose in the mind of the Union. If the slaves had not directly participated in this war and merely sat as bystanders to it, the Civil War would have no argument to be considered a revolution since only the small goal previously mentioned would have been achieved if the Union was still victorious and otherwise the practice of slavery would go on. It is because of their direct involvement in their own freedom that this war should be considered a revolution. Their revolts, their participation in the fighting, and their calls for abolition were essential to how the Civil War turned out and why slavery was abolished in the United States. Just as the Founding Fathers beat the British government, slaves throughout the country were able to beat the Confederate government and secure for themselves a freedom they had never experienced.

Hobsbawm was heavily influenced by Marxism. His belief is that if one can promise a benevolent outcome it would be worth the suffering and at the cost of humans. I completely disagree with Hobsbawm on this because one of the great lessons of the 20th century is that it’s not true. The Holocaust can be used as an example since he had to flee and lost his parents. To the Germans, getting rid of all Jewish persons promised them a great outcome (in their eyes) and this was at the cost of millions of lives. At the end, everyone can agree it was not worth it. At the end, I do see the point Hobsbawm is trying to make because in the American Civil War, millions of Americans died and it was not for nothing. All those Americans sacrificed their life to end the dreaded long period of human slavery in the United States forever. Because it worked here, does not mean its right. Hobsbawm appears blind to the sheer scale of the price paid and its disappointing. Hobsbawm argued that, “In a period in which, as you might imagine, mass murder and mass suffering are absolutely universal, the chance of a new world being born in great suffering would still have been worth backing.” I do agree with Marx and Du Bois that the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process because it’s a stepping stone to what changes citizens wanted. There were many things happening before this war, such as slavery, the formation of the Confederate states, the economy policies and practice, etc.. The American Civil War is a revolution that was fundamentally essential and unavoidable for the progress of civil society. The poor and working class would eventually realize they have “nothing to lose but their chains” and would rebel against the capitalists and industrialists who controlled every aspect of their lives. The American Civil War was fought mainly over moral issues between the States. The ending of years long slavery, freedom, unification, and a whole readjustment of the government is what makes the American Civil War a revolution to me. The results established a more powerful and centralized federal government, and laid the foundation for America’s emergence as a world power.

According to how I understand revolution and what should be consider one, The American Civil War was clearly a revolutionary process. The American Civil War starts due to the disagreements between the northern and southern states. The differences that they had were the role of slavery in American culture, as well as economic policies and practices, cultural norms, the strength and extent of the federal government’s authority. Marx and Du Bois both are correct in thinking that the American Civil War was a revolutionary event. According to Karl Marx in his book, he states that “If the North lets the South go, it then frees itself from any association with slavery, from its historical original sin, and creates the basis of a new and higher development” (Page 43). Marx basically states in the quote that if the American Civil War was avoided and the states reached to an agreement, the United States was simply going to separate into two different countries with different laws and conditions. Fortunately, that did not happen because on that case the southern states might continued with slavery and the history of the country was going to be different of what is the United States nowadays. W. E. B. Du Bois talks about the “real reason” of the war on his book, Black Reconstruction, where he emphasizes that nor the North or the South were interested on African-American rights but it was more a demonstration of power that both sides wanted to emphasize in. According to Du Bois, the emancipation was a consequence of the war but it was not the real reason of the beginning of the war. Both sides of the country were not prepared for a war and they thought that it was going to be a small fight for power and that was not going to last much. He states on his book that “The North shrank at the very thought of encouraging servile insurrection against the whites. Above all it did not propose to interfere with property. Negroes on the whole were considered cowards and inferior beings whose very presence in America was unfortunate.” (Page 56). It is clear to nice how Du Bois believe that the “Negroes” were not going to revolt against the White-Americans and if is not thanks to the Northern states, they might be still suffering from slavery. With all that points mentioned above, it is clear to identify why I believe that the American Civil War is a revolutionary event. Many people died defending their superiors and the country was divided because the two sides wanted to show who was stronger. The war left good consequences but because it was a war and a revolutionary event, it obviously left very bad consequences that were very difficult for Americans to recover.

Hobsbawm, like Kumar, acknowledges the French Revolution as the archetype for revolution but with a deeper historical approach. Hobsbawm argues that the outbreak of revolutionary political change for the world in the 19th century looked toward the model of the French RevolutionHobsbawm focuses on the Age of Revolution and the process of revolution following the French Revolution. Hobsbawm examines the revolutionary process by not only accounts of struggles but a single revolutionary process for the world as a whole.  Hobsbawm viewed the American Revolution to mimic the French Revolution without encompassing the social changes of classes, politics, and laws Throughout the text Hobsbawm makes a clear distinction of the French Revolution and the American Civil War’s achievements. The French Revolution achieved political and social changes and the American Civil war resulted in only political change yet the successors of the French Revolution were mainly the rising middle class and not the masses.

          On the other hand Du Bois argues for one to attempt to understand the civil war you have to look at the masses and not the captains and sergeants. Du Bois argued that black Americans having an active involvement and leaving the plantations to participate in the Civil War made it impossible for the North not to change the political dynamics and the social dynamics of the war itself. “This was not nearly the desire to stop work, it was a strike on a wide basis on the conditions of work, it was a general strike that involved directly in the end perchas a half million people (p67). It was the withdrawal of this labor that made it more difficult for the south to fuel the war and it made the north push forward to radical social transformation.

          Despite all, Hobsbawm crafts a lense into what life was like during the Age of Revolutions, he discusses the separate communities and countrymen which lead to infrequent communication. Hobsbawm provides a lense to see both the French Revolution and the American Civil war as a revolutionary process that continued into economic and social revolution. The aspects of the revolutionary process are still conversing and Hobsbawm is eager to pinpoint reactions in the revolutionary process in his historical approach. With Hobsbawm’s approach one could hold a candle to Du Bois’s argument and categorize the Civil War as a revolutionary process. “They wanted to stop the economy of the plantation system, and to do that they left the plantation”

Considering the makeup of political sovereignty within the US it’s not as easy to label the Civil War an eventual Civil War. With most political revolutions there is a central government that is being overthrown, and within the US you have to deal with both the federal and state government and evaluate to what capacity each of them were transformed. The federal government underwent a revolution within the individual states of the South but not as a whole entity governing the nation.

That being said, yes, I think that Du Bois and Marx were correct to label the Civil War of the United States as a revolutionary process. It was a transformation of the economic institutions that ran the country and the way in which the Confederacy was governed. Not only was there a major shift in the power a certain portion of the population held (both in terms of the now freed slaves and the now loser ‘slave-holding oligarchy’); but, there was also an overhaul of the political institutions of the South as I mentioned earlier.

The states of the Confederacy removed themselves from the federal government of the United States and operated within their own central government for around four years. This shift of political power and sovereignty within the states themselves constitutes its own revolution, one that was successful temporarily. As Marx stated on the reasons why the South left the Union: “The Union was still of value to the South only so far as it handed over Federal power to it as a means of carrying out the slave policy. If not, then it is better to take the break now,”. Though the South argued that it would result in nothing more than a ‘reorganization on the basis of slavery’ what resulted was the complete termination of legal slave labor.

Now, whereas the ‘oligarchy’ of the South held a revolution within their own states to attempt to spread slavery further, the other population of the United States that led their own revolution was the previously enslaved people. During and after the Civil War there was a revolution within the social and legal position of the black population in the United State. Through the removal of labor from the South and the continuous help of the opposing army they aided in revolutionizing the Southern states. A quote attributed to the Alabama Advertiser, “The institution is a tower of strength to the South.” By weakening the institution they were able to help in it’s eventual fall and subsequent replacement.

Historians and political philosophers have long studied revolution. Revolution is a time of rapid social, economic, and political change that overthrows a ruler. Several scholars define revolution differently. This paper examines several theories of revolution and whether the American Civil War was revolutionary.

Eric Hobsbawm was a leading revolution scholar. In “The Age of Revolution,” Hobsbawm argues that revolution overthrows a ruling class and creates new institutions and ideas that radically change society. According to Hobsbawm, revolutions involve social upheaval, new social movements, political organizations, and cultural forms. In revolutionary movements, intellectuals and artists shape new ideas and values, according to Hobsbawm.

Hannah Arendt is another revolutionary thinker. Arendt’s “On Revolution” emphasizes that revolution requires new political structures and ideas to challenge the status quo. She stresses the necessity of a revolutionary moment when ordinary people unite to change society. Revolution, according to Arendt, is political regeneration in which individuals form a new political community based on shared values and a common goal(Wellmer).

Historian Dipesh Chakrabarty stresses revolution in “Radical Transformation.” He claims that revolutions change our core worldview categories. Revolutions occur when people begin to question the social, economic, and political system, according to Chakrabarty.

In “Imagined Communities,” Benedict Anderson defines revolution as a period when a disunited population forms a new political community. Anderson says revolution entails nationalization, when individuals consider themselves as part of a shared society with a common destiny. Literature, music, and art typically arise during nationalization.

In “In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures,” historian Aijaz Ahmad underlines the role of national liberation efforts in colonialism and imperialism. Ahmad defines revolution as overthrowing colonial and imperialist regimes and creating new national identities and cultures.

Considering these varied definitions of revolution, we can now ask if the American Civil War was revolutionary. Marx and Du Bois believe the Civil War was revolutionary. Marx saw the Civil War as a class war that might change society. In “Black Reconstruction,” Du Bois stressed the Civil War’s significance to Black liberation.

Some Civil War events best represent revolution. First, the Civil War abolished slavery, transforming US society and economy. This change reorganized labour relations, property rights, and political power across the nation. Second, African Americans earned voting and political rights during the Civil War. This rights expansion and new political institutions challenged the US social and political order.

Several social movements and political groups emerged throughout the Civil War. New literature, music, and art reflected the shifting social and political landscape of the US after the war.

The Civil War may not be a revolution, though. The Civil War did not overthrow the dictatorship. It was a power struggle within a political structure. The Civil War did not completely change the economic and social system, as many power structures survived.

Finally, the question of whether the American Civil War was revolutionary is complicated. Revolutionary moments are marked by substantial and rapid social, economic, and political transformation. The Civil War abolished slavery, expanded political rights, and created new social forces and cultural forms, according to Marx and Du Bois. The Civil War challenged the US social and political structure without overthrowing it. The Civil War’s revolution status depends on how one defines revolution.

The American Civil War was a revolutionary process that took four long years to forward the Union’s ideals of an evolved country for years to come. Marx and Du Bois were correct – the aftermath of the Civil War should be understood as a radical change to U.S. history from the 19th century.

As we know, the premise of Marxist theory is rooted in the polarization of social classes between the proletariat and bourgeoisie. When the Union (assumed proletariat) sought out necessary change to American society, the Confederacy (assumed bourgeoisie) viewed it as an infringement upon their lives because they’d only reaped benefits from such a skewed world. As Marx has expressed, the working class will inevitably attempt to seize power from the upper class when they perceive control. The South’s notion of being oppressed is an ironic one for sure – the only oppression occurring in that period was the exploitation and marginalization of black people in the hands of racism. It’s clear that the Confederacy internalized the ban of slavery as an attack on themselves, the working class, with their demands to “protect” the nation from an “injustice” of liberty for all. In reality, the undeniable struggle was living as a black person in the U.S., but the South (specifically farmers, laborers, etc.) took abolition as an unforeseen threat to their well-being.

Throughout history, it’s evident that human society has remained defined by one consistent thing: revolution. The liberation of black citizens constitutionally affirmed by the 13th Amendment would’ve been a revolutionary movement whether or not the Civil War erupted, though. To be clear, I believe that the American Civil War caused by the Confederacy only made for unnecessary bloodshed on the path to predestined progress. Whether or not volatile violence broke out, our country was bound for reformation both socially and politically.

When students were asked to define revolution in Discussion #1 of this course, my response is a precise reflection of what was to come for a post-1865 America. I see revolution as a number of empowered individuals banding together to forward the emancipation of their community from any level of restriction, whether it be social, economic, or political. We can see a direct connection between the American Civil War’s tenents and my definition: the Union was exactly that empowered group led by Abraham Lincoln and fellow proponents of anti-slavery, the community being the sense of justice urged for all Americans as nobody is free until everyone is as said by Fannie Lou Hamer, and the government’s restriction of black Americans’ social, economic, and political positions – as well as respect – in this country. The Confederate army comprised of white citizens experienced no form of oppression despite the lack of morality that they were cursed with at conception. Progress has been a long and winding road for black people living in America since the abolition of slavery with the problem of segregation following immediately after, but the Civil War’s results stand true: the mobilization of black citizens through the Union’s victory in the war led way to a massive revolution of full integration in American society that was desperately needed.

This weeks discussion, discussion three focused in asking if I agreed with Marx and Du Bois that the American Civil War should be understood as a revolutionary process? Sadly, I agree with Du Bois that the American Civil War was a revolutionary process needed in shaping who the United States is today. It was a war between the Confederate and the union states. I believe there were eleven confederate states and the union won.

“Northern armies entered the South they became armies of emancipation.” “The North did not propose to attack property and not to free slaves.” This was to be a white man’s war to preserve the Union.” (page 55). Border states were after cotton belt in the union, cotton was sold. The South used Negro slaves to raise food and money crops for the people and their roll in the civil war was, “Negro did nothing but faithfully serve his master until emancipation was thrust upon him.” ( page 57). It was the mentioned that Negro slaves did not just play an important role at home but they were also used in the military as laborer. “I desire to assure you that the relation of master and servant as recognized in your state shall be respected.” (page 60).

“France provided the vocabulary and the issues of liberal and radical democratic politics for most of the world”. (page 53).

The French Revolution provided codes of laws, the model of scientific and technical organization, the metric system of measurement for most countries. It was not led by a formed party, A bourgeoisie group with a mindset of classical liberalism. “More specifically, the demands of the bourgeois of 1789 are laid down in the famous Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens of that year.” (page 59). “Men are born and live free and equal under the laws, said its first article.” (Page 59). Private property was a natural right, sacred, inalienable and inviolable. “All citizens have a right to co-operate in the formation of the law.” (page 59).

In conclusion, the North was into industrial lifestyle and South was more into agriculture and farming. The North stood behind federal government and the South believed no one should dictate how they carried their lives. North banned slavery and the South depended on slavery. In the end the union won.

In “The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789-1848,” Hobsbawm defines revolution as a moment of major disruption and restructuring. He asserts that “A revolution is a great event in the life of a society…it is the result of a long period of development, and involves a fundamental change in the structure of society” (Hobsbawm 3). According to Hobsbawm, revolution requires the overthrow of an established order and the establishment of a new one, which may necessitate political, social, and economic transformations.

Arendt’s book “On Revolution” presents the argument that revolution is a mass process of action, in which ordinary individuals stand up against oppressive regimes and claim their autonomy and liberty. She states, “The outstanding characteristic of the revolutionary event is action…action is the one activity that goes on directly between men without the intermediary of things or matter” (Arendt 35). According to Arendt, revolution is more than just a political upheaval but a complete overhaul of societal relationships.

Kumar’s book, “Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times,” presents a nuanced view on revolution. He posits that revolution entails changes on multiple fronts, including social, economic, and cultural realms, and can manifest as either utopian or anti-utopian. According to Kumar, “revolution is inherently utopian in nature…but the reality of the social and economic conditions during a revolution are anti-utopian” (Kumar 2). For Kumar, revolution is a multifaceted and contradictory process that involves both striving for a better world and resisting entrenched power structures.

Marx’s and Du Bois’s views on the American Civil War both suggest that it was a revolutionary event. Marx, in “The Civil War in the United States,” suggests that the conflict represented a struggle between the economic systems of the North and South. Du Bois, in “Black Reconstruction in America,” emphasizes the role of African Americans in the South’s reconstruction and argues that their participation was crucial for achieving emancipation.

I agree with the notion that the American Civil War should be considered a revolutionary process that has been shared by both Marx and Du Bois. This war brought about significant change in American society, as it resulted in the abolition of slavery and a major transformation of the country’s political, social, and economic structures. The North-South conflict can be seen as a confrontation between two different economic systems, and the abolition of slavery was a significant victory for those who wanted to end it.

Additionally, the Civil War was marked by mass action, as ordinary individuals rose up against the existing order and fought for their freedom and autonomy. African Americans played a pivotal role in the war, serving as both soldiers and activists, and their participation was essential in the achievement of emancipation.

To conclude, the American Civil War was a revolutionary process that resulted in a significant transformation of American society, overthrowing the established order. The war was marked by a clash between two distinct economic systems, and it was characterized by a mass movement in which common people fought for their independence and self-rule. Viewing the Civil War as a revolution helps us to comprehend the multifaceted nature of this critical juncture in American history, including its complexities and paradoxes.

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