| ||For more information on the war, see American Civil War on Wikipedia.|
The conflict's origins were in the issue of slavery and its expansion into newly acquired territories of the United States. Before the election of a Republican by the name of Abraham Lincoln, seven Southern states seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. Tensions continued to build up with the seizing of federal forts in the South. Following an unsuccessful attempt at coming to a compromise, war was declared when the Confederates attacked the Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
For the first time in American history, the Union government issued a conscription that drafted over two million soldiers into the Union military. During the war, Abraham Lincoln issued both his famous Emancipation Proclamation war measure and the more famous Gettysburg Address in 1863, which were both defining statutes in his presidential career.
After many years of fighting and heavy losses on both sides, Union forces were able to capture the Confederate capital: Richmond, Virginia. Shortly after, Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered in April of 1865. In May of the same year, President Andrew Johnson, who became president following Abraham Lincoln's assassination, declared an end to the war. By that summer, all remaining Confederate generals had surrendered. Even though the bloody conflict had come to an end, the difficulties of Reconstruction lay on the horizon.